In recent months I have had the absolute privilege of being part of an exciting new group of groups – the Rural Cycling Collective. This Collective is made up of members of cycling campaigns/clubs/festivals from all over the country and is part of Cyclist.ie, the well established national cycling advocacy group. The Collective was set up to give a voice to people who live and cycle outside of the cities.
And it turns out there are lots of people cycling for everyday journeys all over rural Ireland. And not only are there lots of people cycling but they are also really passionate about making change happen to enable more people to cycle to work, to school, to the shops, to visit friends, to do all of those everyday journeys by bike (and on foot) wherever possible.
Why is it worth shouting about this group?
Not only because it gives a much needed voice to those who traditionally haven’t been heard but because of the nature of the group itself. Why?
- The Collective focuses on strengths. As a collective we bring many different skills, knowledge and expertise to the table. The group has started from a place of strength by asking everyone to share what they can bring so we can immediately make use of all of those skills and all of that knowledge in all that we do.
- The Collective is open to new ideas. The group was created to fill a gap – a voice for cycling in rural areas – but did not have a fixed idea of what exactly that might look like. This ability to create a space and allow the strategy to emerge has already enabled lots of wonderful ideas to come to the fore, ideas that may never have been shared if the group started with a fixed agenda.
- The Collective is positive. So often campaigners can get so caught up in campaigning against things that sometimes they can lose sight of what they are campaigning for. This Collective has started by creating a positive vision of what we want and what we think needs to happen to get us there. This vision will give a coherency to our group and a focus for future actions. Find our more here – A vision for cycling in rural Ireland.
- The Collective works collaboratively. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the nature of our group our first action, the creation of our Vision, has been a wonderful collaborative effort that has brought together those that have an intimate knowledge of every policy document related to cycling in Ireland alongside those who have experience of cycling in rural Ireland and those who have big dreams of what we could do to make change happen.
- The Collective is based on the power of collective intelligence. Similar to the previous point the group knows that its power will come from the gathering of knowledge from everyone, not just those within the group but also those who have yet to get involved. For this reason we are publishing our Vision document as a draft as we want other people to also have an opportunity help shape the vision and get involved in making it a reality.
- The Collective is hugely action focused. Thanks to the leadership the group is high energy and highly action focused. This is definitely not a talking shop, this is a group that’s moving fast!
As a former transport planner and now a life coach I am incredibly excited by the potential of this Collective. It feels like a wonderful combination of planning alongside a strengths-focused, action-focused, future-focused group. That focus on strengths, action and the future is at the core of coaching and is something I know will help us have an impact.
If you would like to get involved give us a shout – we would love to hear from you!