Come Cycling is a web based Cycle Tourism initiative, launched in April 2011, which has been piloted in Ledbury, Herefordshire, by the Ledbury Area Cycle Forum. It promotes:
- Local cycle route maps
- Bike hire and cycle shops
- Accommodation providers
- Tourist attractions
- Village and farm shops
- Rural pubs and cafés
- Public transport links
Cycling communities throughout Britain are invited to join the scheme by setting up their own websites, linked from the Come Cycling home page.
What do you need?
- A team of people - Come Cycling Ledbury (CCL) has 4 members
- A range of cycle route maps
- A cycle repair shop
- Some cycle-friendly accommodation providers
In addition, it would be good to have:
- Good public transport links, preferably with cycle carriage
- Cycle hire
- Interesting places to visit in the area
Ledbury’s experience: www.ComeCyclingLedbury.com
In no particular order:
- Maps – A number of cycle route maps, sold through local shops, had already been published by members of the Ledbury Area Cycle Forum.
- Bike hire and cycle shops – The strength of the Come Cycling scheme attracted a grant to fund a fleet of hire bikes for a new, privately run cycle hire business next to the railway station. The cycle hire supplements an established farm holiday cottage business, so has the benefit of easily extended insurance cover, and long operating hours. The CCL website lists a number of cycle repair businesses including a mobile mechanic.
- Accommodation providers – These were identified within a 5 mile radius of Ledbury from a range of sources (local magazines, websites, etc). They were contacted by email (or phone) and sent a mock-up of a website accommodation page to encourage them to pay for the £30 Enhanced Entry option. Some opted initially for free entry, but converted after the website was launched. Read more about this on our About Us page. This research was carried out by one team member over the winter.
- Tourist attractions, village and farm shops, rural pubs and cafés – These were researched by another team member and cover the area served by the cycle route maps.
- Public transport links – The same team member researched this web page.
- Website design – It is not possible to please all of the people, all of the time, but CCL's webmaster feels that:
- A modern design should promote cycling as an everyday activity, not a sport or a lifestyle choice.
- All Come Cycling websites should have a consistent look and feel.; users will be confused if sites behave differently or have different layouts.
- Fast page load times are important, so Flash, Shockwave and similar ‘bloat’ should be avoided; not everyone has large screens and fast connections.
- The website layout templates and source code are free for other groups to share. A key feature is that all the data tables and Google Maps are generated on-the-fly from Excel spreadsheets exported to tab-delimited plain text files. There is no need to edit the website itself from one month to the next.
- We would be happy to work with you to improve or extend the templates as necessary to support new requirements.
- We are happy to discuss sharing our web hosting facilities.
- All Come Cycling sites will be linked from www.ComeCycling.com.
- Subdomains (e.g. www.YourTown.ComeCycling.com) can be arranged free of charge.
- Marketing – A grant funded the cost of printing hard-copy flyers (210mm x 99mm, with a colour photo montage on front face and brief outline of website content on reverse, designed by our team) promoting the website. These are distributed when we travel around the country, or are taken for distribution by visiting long-distance contacts. They are also placed locally at cycle shops, accommodation providers and other tourist outlets. From time to time press releases are sent to local and national publications. In the longer term, a national Come Cycling scheme might reduce the need to promote local sites individually.
- On line map sales – One member receives and processes the orders. It is very straight forward. She transfers the link to another member if she is away for any time. We receive about 8 orders a month, though this is seasonal and weather dependent! We monitor costs to ensure that we cover the postage and PayPal fee.
- Accounts – The set-up costs of the Ledbury scheme (fleet of hire bikes, printing of publicity material, initial mailshot, etc.) were covered by a grant. The on-going costs of the scheme (domain names, hosting, etc.) are covered by the one-off Enhanced Entry donation from accommodation providers. Map production has been grant-funded over a number of years, and income from sales is used for reprints. On-line sales prices are set high enough to cover distribution costs.