Happier, Healthier, Wealthier: Cycle September aims to unlock the Benefits of the Bicycle for All
By Andrew Brown, posted 29 August 2018
Cycle September launches on Saturday to get more people on bikes. The United Nations declared World Bike Day in June, recognising of the bicycle’s potential to combat climate change, congestion and health problems associated with a lack of physical activity. Cycle September aims to promote these benefits and help people become happier, healthier and wealthier by switching to the bicycle for their shorter journeys.
A Worldwide Ride
Cycle September is a fun, free competition based on a tried and tested model that has engaged over 375,000 people at 21,500 workplaces worldwide. Everyone is invited: it doesn’t matter if you ride every day or if you haven’t been on a bike in years, all you need to do is ride a bike for ten minutes and record it on the site to go into the prize draw. Prizes include Mango bikes, Proviz gear, Blubel navigation devices, unique, upcycled cycling bags from UPSO – and local bike shop vouchers.
It’s the fourth time that Love to Ride have run a national behaviour change programme to get more people on bikes. It first ran as the National Cycle Challenge in 2015 and has run as Cycle September for the past two years, with over 20,000 people taking part each time. This year, for the first time, workplaces outside areas funded by Local or Combined Authorities have to pay a small fee to join the programme, appear on the leaderboards and have a chance of winning cycling equipment from Cyclehoop. Individuals everywhere can join for free and are eligible for prizes.
Getting back in the saddle
John Wilkinson, Cycling Champion at Volkswagen Financial Services in Milton Keynes, explains how he became an advocate for Cycle September last year, “I was a lapsed recreational cyclist who decided to take advantage of the facilities offered by our new office and cycle commute the 6 miles to work. In doing so I re-discovered the joy of cycling and wanted to share that joy with my colleagues.” Asked what the benefits were to the organisation, John replied, “it’s another item in our portfolio of green initiatives, supports our efforts to promote wellbeing, encourages teamwork, reduces pressure in car parking and reduces congestion into/out of the site at peak times.”
Participants can log their rides manually or using their favourite cycling app. The data gathered will be used to improve cycling services and infrastructure. Joining in will help make cycling safer. “It’s very simple: the more people cycle, the more people cycle,” said Rosie Frazer of Love to Ride. “If there are more cyclists out there, it makes drivers more aware of them, it makes the roads safer and less congested for everyone, and people thinking about riding a bike say: ‘Well if they can do it, so can I!’”
Cyclists are better workers
Rosie continued, “more organisations are encouraging staff to cycle to work. A recent study by HR Magazine that showed 89% of bosses believe cyclists have more energy at work and increasingly employers are seeing cycling as a way to reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. Organisations also save National Insurance Contributions through the Cycle to Work Scheme and are starting to realise the potential of cycling to help foster a sense of community within and beyond the workplace.”
A recent report by the Bicycle Association estimated that “cycling contributes around £5.4 billion a year to the economy, with the larger share of this, £4.1billion, coming from wider impacts, particularly reductions in loss of life, and reduced pollution and congestion.” Cycle September is a celebration of cycling’s increasing importance to the UK economy, as well as to the country’s culture and sporting success in recent years.
Just Ride the Bike will be taking part – and we encourage all our readers to do so too. To find out more and join in, visit lovetoride.net
All credits: Love to Ride, 2018