Spring into the saddle for 2018

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Spring has finally sprung with the arrival of consistently milder weather – with sunshine very much the theme this bank holiday weekend. The ‘cycling season’ – when people who aren’t all-weather riders are up for getting on their bikes – is usually about March-October, but global weirding has definitely delayed things over the last two months…

But it hasn’t stopped us having a successful start to the year at Love to Ride:

  • Despite the Beasts from the East, thousands of people jumped on their bikes in March for Ride to Work Week, when we also launched our new Boxed Bike Breakfasts in partnership with VitaLife Health. We got fantastic feedback for these – they’re available here and we’ll be re-launching them with a summery twist soon!
  • UniCycle – a pilot with NUS Sustainability funded by the Department for Transport – has been a huge success, with eight universities trialing new ways to get more students and staff on bikes
  • We’ve launched our new Workplaces offer, allowing organisations to access our platform and programmes to unlock the benefits of cycling for their staff (find out more here)

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There’s lots more in the pipeline to celebrate, reward and encourage cycling in 2018:

  • We’re excited to announce that our flagship Cycle September programme is going global! For the first time we’ll have organisations from around the world participating in our unique workplace cycle challenge format. The movement to get more people on bikes is growing globally and we’re proud to be the first platform to give it the potential to reach into every workplace worldwide
  • World Bike Day was recently announced by the UN to acknowledge and celebrate the capacity of the humble bicycle to solve so many 21st-century problems. We’ll be marking the occasion with a global giveaway and campaign, so make sure you connect with us on social media to get involved (we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)
  • It’s Bike Week in the UK from 9-17 June – we’re teaming up with Cycling UK to make sure all our members know about local events and give away great prizes for riding and encouraging others

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The benefits of biking to businesses are huge: happier, healthier, wealthier staff, reduced sickness absence and need for parking, greater productivity and connection to the local community, reduced National Insurance Contributions through the Cycle to Work Scheme and significantly reduced carbon emissions. Workplaces can unlock all of these benefits – and many more – by joining their local Love to Ride programme or funding their own low-cost site to access our events.

We’re inviting every workplace to saddle up and join us for the ride – get in touch if you’d like to know more: hello@lovetoride.org

Sheffield Urban CX > A Unique Series For All Abilities

Love to Ride South Yorkshire is delighted to be supporting the fantastic Sheffield Urban CX series this year. Find out more – and how you can win a series entry – below.

The series ran for the first time in 2017, with exciting races at eye-catching locations like Park Hill flats, an iconic example of Brutalist architecture and Europe’s largest listed building. This year’s series kicks off with Round 1 at Kelham Island Museum, with cobbled lanes and industrial hardware (like the huge Bessemer Converter, below) incorporated into the course, on Saturday 5 May.

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The idea behind the series is to use Sheffield’s unique urban environment as a setting for cyclo-cross racing, which typically involves short courses where riders dismount and carry their bikes over, through or round obstacles like deep mud, wet grass and steep hills. At Sheffield Urban CX races expect these to be replaced by steps, cobbles and wooden berms.

PHCX 2 credit_ FuttFuttFuttPhotgraphy.com

The series is designed to be inclusive and fun for all. Riders of all abilities are welcome to enter and spectators can enjoy excellent local food and drink, the superb locations – and of course some exciting racing!

PHCX 7 credit _ David Bocking

Adam Simmonite tells us how Sheffield Urban CX came about: ‘We wanted to do something a bit different to combine Sheffield’s status as The Outdoor City with its unique industrial heritage. There are iconic locations like Park Hill and Kelham Island that are brilliant venues for this kind of exciting, high-octane racing. We’re really excited about our pop-up events this year too – at Our Cow Molly during Bike Week and a hillclimb at Park Hill in July – and are delighted to have teamed up with Love to Ride South Yorkshire. Sheffield Urban CX is all about fostering a friendly cycling community and Love to Ride are helping to do just that across South Yorkshire.’

Love to Ride South Yorkshire will be at every race of the series, so come along and say hello to find out how you can join us to get more people on bikes. It’s also worth noting that the Our Cow Molly pop-up ride on 17 June and Round #3 at the Olympic Legacy Park fall during Love to Ride South Yorkshire events (Bike Week and Cycle September), so contestants will be in with extra chances to win prizes – as will any spectators who register at lovetoride.net and log a ride!

 

To launch our partnership, we will be giving away two Sheffield Urban CX series entries (worth £59 each, plus a tote bag and t-shirt for a lucky runner-up) for the best photos we get on the theme of urban cycling. Either tweet your photo tagging @LovetoRide_ and @SheffUrbanCX, share it on the Love to Ride Facebook page or email it to support@lovetoride.org – here’s a corker from our recent Beast from the East photo competition for some inspiration:

thats the spirit

Ride to Work Week Winner Rides Away a Whistler from JE James

South Yorkshire’s Love to Ride programme saw its first prizewinner of 2018 when Ross Hall from Plusnet landed a £750 mountain bike.

“I’m over the moon!” said Ross, who’s already cycled 1,131 miles on Love to Ride. “I can’t stop smiling!”

Over 2,100 local cyclists from over 190 local organisations are taking part in Love to Ride South Yorkshire, part of the region’s Inmotion! Sustainable Travel initiative, funded through a £7.5m Access Fund for Sustainable Travel grant from the government.

Participants are aiming to help promote cycling as transport to their workmates and other local companies, while also being in the pot for local and national prizes such as free bikes and holidays. Participants gain points for miles cycled on or off road, for leisure or work journeys, and for encouraging friends or colleague to start cycling more often too.

Ross bagged his Focus Whistler mountain bike at JE James Cycles, keen supporters of the free Love to Ride scheme, with their own team taking part.

Love to Ride cyclist Ross Hall from Plusnet (right) receives his prize Focus Whistler mountain bike from Stephen Allen at JE James Cycles
Love to Ride cyclist Ross Hall from Plusnet (right) receives his prize Focus Whistler mountain bike from Stephen Allen at JE James Cycles

“As a family business, we want to support our cycling community, and Love to Ride is a fantastic way of rewarding those cyclists who brave whatever weather greets them every morning, and ride to work. We are so proud to be a part of something that encourages people to cycle more often,” said John Elliss from JE James.

Local Access Fund officer Paul Sullivan said: “Nearly 200 companies have already demonstrated their support for cycling and also their understanding of the benefits it brings to them and their staff, and we’re really pleased that a South Yorkshire rider has already won one of the national prizes!  Later on in the year we will be offering free try outs of electric bikes in Sheffield, just register your workplace on Love to Ride and we will be in touch.”

John Elliss said staff at JE James have seen an increase in people getting out on their bikes.

“Whether it be for fitness, to save money, the love of the outdoors or just a way of clearing the mind, there has been no better time to commute on a bicycle, with company cycle schemes helping reduce the cost of a bike, the emergence of electric bikes helping remove people’s barriers to cycling to work and just the more positive attitude by local councils to cycling. It all means that people are leaving their car keys at home and taking to the road on their bikes. The Love to Ride scheme gives people a goal to strive for and adds another dimension to their daily commute!”

> More info: www.lovetoride.net/southyorkshire

Beat the Elements > How to Bike Through the Beast from the East

There’s some pretty heavy snow and very cold weather across the UK right now. With a little preparation there’s no need to let the weather stop you biking to work – or anywhere else for that matter!

Here are seven tips to help you beat the Beast from the East:

  • Check the weather: if you’re in the middle of a red warning or one is coming into effect soon, don’t go out on your bike (in fact, try not to go out at all). A healthy dose of common sense is always advisable in poor conditions.
  • Wrap up warm: gloves, a multitube/scarf/snood to keep your neck warm, a windproof jacket and something over your ears (earbags, anyone?)
  • Plan your route: main roads should be gritted so they’re a better bet, especially if there’s a risk of ice.
  • Slow down and plan your maneouvres: your stopping distance – and everyone else’s – will be longer in snow, ice and wet, so give yourself extra time and space by slowing down and taking the time to plan, signal and execute maneouvres safely
  • Adapt your setup: if you’ve got a mountain bike, now’s the time to use it; consider lowering your saddle to give you extra traction and control.
  • Enjoy! Riding in snow can be hugley rewarding and lots of fun, so stay safe and enjoy the ride!
  • If in doubt, don’t go out. If you don’t feel confident or safe riding in the snow, give your bike a break and walk it instead.

If you do go out, please share your photo with us on Twitter or by email (support@lovetoride.org) – the best picture/video will win a Proviz jacket and gloves!

Here are some of the corkers we’ve received already (see the full thread here):

thats the spirit
wensleydle

Dr Dave On Why Riding to Work Makes You Lucky

Dave Lehane, a Love to Ride Champion at Page Hall Medical Centre in Sheffield, tells us why riding to work has made him lucky

“You’re lucky” I hear this often at work in relation to my weight. For the record I’m a 47 year old GP, who stands at 6’1” and weighs 73 kg (I’ll stop there before it sounds like my dating app bio). The reason I’m supposed to be lucky, you see, is that at work we have a cabinet behind reception that often has a box of treats, sitting there, just waiting to be eaten. I struggle to walk past without indulging. So you see I am lucky, but not for the reason people think at work, I’m lucky because I cycle to work and have done for the last 19 years.

Sweet temptation...
Sweet temptation…

My bike has always been a source of fun. I can remember messing about on my bike as a kid. Pulling skids, trying wheelies and doing jumps over bunkers at the pitch and putt course (clearly not to be encouraged). As I’ve got older the fun has changed and occasionally it’s more of the type 2 fun, but it’s still fun.* I can honestly say I have never enjoyed running and swimming doesn’t hit the right notes either. But a bike is fun!

The health benefits of cycling (other forms of exercise are also available) are well documented: reduction in cardiovascular disease (Stroke, Heart Attack) and reduction in Type II Diabetes and improved mental health. What’s more, because the bicycle does not impact upon the health of others due to its minimal environmental impact (my wife states the phrase “zero emissions” cannot include me), the health benefits apply to more than just the person on the bike. There is also very new and exciting recent research showing that cycling benefits some patients suffering with Parkinson’s Disease by improving symptoms by up to 30%.

So I’m lucky because cycling allows me to get to work faster than on the rare occasions when I have to drive.

I’m lucky because it allows me to clear my mind. Cycling is what’s known as an “active meditation” because it’s hard to worry about other things when your mind is occupied with riding your bike.

I’m lucky because it’s exercise that has become part of my daily routine and improves my physical health.

And finally I’m lucky because riding my bike to work means that I can eat the odd chocolate biscuit (or five) without too much worry…

Dr Daveon his bike - Sheffield is famous for its hills...
Dr Dave on his bike – Sheffield is famous for its hills…

*Type 2 fun = the type of fun you experience after the event has past. This can sometimes take  a few days to develop into fun.