Taking cycling seriously at the University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield won Cycle September in 2017 and they’re aiming to replicate their staff’s success with students this year through the DfT-funded Love to Ride/NUS Sustainability project, UniCycle. On Monday the University opened its fantastic new cycling facility.

“People want to cycle,” said Darren Hardwick, the University of Sheffield’s Sustainable Travel Manager. “And we hope that our new Cycle Hub will attract a wider cross section of people to cycle to the University this year.”

The new facility will provide secure indoor parking for 168 bicycles, along with shower facilities and 80 lockers for kit. “It shows students and staff that we take cycling seriously,” said Darren.

The University has been awarded the ‘most cycle-friendly workplace in the UK’ accolade in recent years, and last year won the national Cycle September title for large employers for the number of cycling trips made, and encouragement of new cyclists.

Around 10% of University staff cycle to work regularly, a figure comparable to many progressive companies in London where increased government funding has seen cycling rates increase rapidly over recent years, and the University have liaised with cycling staff about new routes and facilities around University sites.

Security is an ongoing issue for commuter cyclists, with reports that owners of more expensive bikes are being repeatedly targeted, sometimes by thieves monitoring phone apps like Strava.

The new facility is one response to the issue, said Darren, along with working with South Yorkshire Police and even equipping the University’s own security staff with bicycles to travel around the campus.

“Helping cyclists is one of the things we look at as a good employer,” he added. “I’d say to local companies of any size, talk to your employees to see what they need to help them cycle more. And if you’re interested in improving your cycle security, get in touch if you want to come here and take a look.”

Darren showing colleagues around the new Cycle Hub
Darren showing colleagues around the new Cycle Hub

How to be a Champion for Cycling

This post gives some advice about how to be an effective Cycling Champion at your workplace and shares some insights from one of our successful Champions in 2017, Ross from the Open University in Milton Keynes.

The Love to Ride programme of events is designed to help you help your colleagues ride more often and for transport. First up is Ride to Work Week (save the dates! 12-18 March), which is a great opportunity for regular bike commuters to help their colleagues try riding to work. It’s a good idea to organise a low-key Bike Breakfast (tips here) in February; this will be a good rehearsal for a bigger event during Ride to Work Week and an opportunity to tell existing bike commuters about it and enlist their help. People already commuting to work might be able to buddy new or occasional riders to help them ride in, or help you to organise social rides or other events to help foster a cycling community and build colleagues’ confidence.

Check out our post here to find out how riding to work can make you happier, healthier and wealthier – and how it can benefit your employer – so that you can articulate the benefits clearly to management and colleagues. If you can clearly communicate these benefits throughout the year via email, intranet and other channels, you will recruit more riders and spread the love more effectively! We also recommend finding out about adult cycle training in your area – this is often free or heavily subsidised and is a fantastic way to give new and returning riders the confidence they need to ride for transportation.

Ride to Work Week (March) and Bike Week in June are also great opportunities to build your team for our main event, Cycle September, when you can win organisation prizes.

Ross, a winning Love to Ride Champion in 2017, has some great insights to help you succeed as a Champ in 2018:

I targeted the cycling club as I thought that the sense of competition would appeal to them. The number of miles they were putting in pushed us up the leaderboard and when I could name specific organisations who we were jostling with, that made for some compelling posts on our intranet, Yammer and the noticeboard that attracted others. I think that competitive angle was what made the biggest difference.

We recently received our framed certificates, and they were very happily received, particularly for the department which came 3rd in MK for their size category. I feel sure they will be trying even harder next time around.

My advice to other champions would be to really focus on people who already cycle a bit, but perhaps not to work, or not very often. There’s nothing wrong with getting regular cyclists either – I was one and it still encouraged me on wet windy mornings. 

Why would Ross urge other organisations to sign up to Love to Ride?

Reduce your parking problems, ease congestion, boost your green credentials, improve staff health, fitness and alertness, have fun, win prizes. Why wouldn’t you want to sign up? 

We couldn’t put the reasons to ride better ourselves! Please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions about how to be an awesome Champion for Cycling.

Find out more and register at lovetoride.net


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West Yorkshire businesses pedal to victory in national cycling awards

Here’s a great post from our friends over at CityConnect about a hugely successful Cycle September in West Yorkshire. 

West Yorkshire businesses attended an awards ceremony, held at West Yorkshire Combined Authority, to celebrate the achievements of local organisations that are going the extra mile to encourage employees to walk and cycle more.Successful local organisations included Suma, Npower, University of Huddersfield, BJSS and West Yorkshire Fire Service who picked up an impressive trio of awards, with staff clocking up over 10,000 miles on their bikes in September. Last year’s winner, University of Leeds, put up a valiant defence of their title, but in the end a decisive victory went to West Yorkshire Police with staff amassing an amazing 25,062 miles and achieving national recognition.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said:

“By getting involved people in our region have clocked up close to 2 million miles as part of Love to Ride challenges, playing their part in improving the air quality, health, economy and environment of our region.

Congratulations to all businesses in our region that have picked up well-deserved awards, especially West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire Service for displaying such enthusiasm, and whose efforts encourage their employees to travel to work healthily and sustainably. They are a fantastic example to other businesses”

A total of 15 businesses were recognised for achieving accreditation as Bike Friendly Businesses, Walk Friendly Workplaces or for topping leader boards in Cycle September. Representatives from Sustrans, Barnardo’s and Sky Betting and Gaming shared their experiences of how they are encouraging staff to overcome barriers to cycling and walking and how CityConnect initiatives have helped them do this.

Also praised at the event were some inspirational individuals, such as Tim from Sky Betting and Gaming who cycled over 800 miles and lost over half a stone in weight, adding to the two stone he’s already lost through cycling this year.

Angela Williams, Assistant Chief Constable at West Yorkshire Police said:

“I’m delighted that West Yorkshire Police officers and staff really got behind this event and congratulate everyone who helped us become Cycle September winners locally in West Yorkshire and place third nationally.

The wellbeing of our staff is hugely important and I’m encouraged to see cycling, running and other really beneficial activity increasing month by month.”

 The next Love to Ride challenge starts on Friday 1st December. Every time a participant logs a cycle journey with Love to Ride CityConnect they are entered into a Winter Wheelers prize draw to win that day’s prize. There is cycle clothing, high-quality lights, CityConnect ‘goody bags’, and even a new bike worth £500 up for grabs if they log a ride on Christmas Day itself

Image below shows representatives of West Yorkshire Police receiving their Love to Ride, 1st place award. From left to right Superintendent Sarah Baker, Head of Learning & Development at West Yorkshire Police, Councillor Keith Wakefield, Chair of WYCA Transport Committee, Richard Bamforth, Protective Services Operations manager at West Yorkshire Police and Gemma Colley, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator at West Yorkshire Police.

This piece was published on CityConnect’s site on Friday 8 December, see the original here:https://cyclecityconnect.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-businesses-pedal-to-victory-in-national-cycling-awards/

Nightriders > Get ready for Winter Wheelers

It’s that time of year again: the nights have been drawing in gradually, then the clocks go back and all of a sudden it’s pitch dark at home time. Being prepared to ride in the dark and/or poor weather doesn’t have to be costly or complicated and with some basic kit you can continue to enjoy the benefits of riding right through the bleak midwinter.

The most important thing is to ensure that you are clearly visible to other road users, for which you need two things:

Ideas1. Lights. These are a legal necessity after sundown. Research shows that a flashing rear light increases visibility significantly during daylight too, so particularly for longer and rural rides it’s a good idea to have one on at all times.* Some tips for choosing the right lights & not being caught out:

> If parts of your route are unlit you will need stronger lights (400 lumens+) – most lights are to make you visible to other traffic rather than to make every inch of the road surface visible to you

> Have a spare set of lights at your workplace for anyone who forgets theirs

> Carry a set of cheap lightweight lights with you as a back-up

> Torch T2 helmets have front and rear lights built in (you can win one by logging rides in December, plus we’ll have a hefty member discount)

Torch Bike Helmet Lights copy


LTR Advent 2016-292. Hi-viz. This ensures other road users can see you clearly. Lights alone can have the effect of making it difficult to judge how far away a bike is but if you’re in hi-viz it’s much easier. Proviz make the best hi-viz gear in the business and it looks like stylish, regular gear in daylight.

Snap bands. Research shows that having lights or reflective strips on your legs helps motorists to recognise you as a person on a bike from as far away as possible. Proviz do them and some local authorities and businesses give them out for free: they’re cheap, help to keep trouser legs away from oily chains and are more useful for making you highly visible than they are usually given credit for.

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Follow these easy tips and you’ll be safe and seen on your bike. Invest in some basic waterproof gear too and you’re all set to ride through the winter.

In the UK there’s a prize draw every day in December and we’re giving away awesome winter riding gear, so get saddled up and make sure you’re ready to be a Winter Wheeler! Register for Winter Wheelers at lovetoride.net.


* https://www.roadbikerider.com/riding-skills/safety-skills/2975-incisive-new-studies-on-cyclist-visibility

Super successful #CycleSeptember

THANK YOU to everyone who got on a bike to make this year’s Cycle September such a huge success! It’s the third national workplace cycling competition we’ve run and it was the biggest and best so far.

insta, launch ride,20,362 awesome individuals from 3,084 wonderful workplaces together cycled a staggering 2.75 million miles, clocking up 262,800 trips (including over 113,000 commutes).

Together we encouraged 1,574 new riders to experience the joys and benefits of riding a bike, starting their behaviour change journey to becoming happier, healthier and wealthier.


In South Yorkshire we celebrated the end of Cycle September with a leisurely pedal into the Peak District accompanied by an electrically-assisted trike, ‘The Beast’, carrying coffee and cake!

In West Yorkshire our cycling ambassador Dom visited workplaces with his Raleigh e-bike and trailer carrying Brompton folding bikes so people could have a go on different machines.


We’re auditing all the results to make sure they’re fair and accurate before we unveil them on Friday 6 October.

We’re also drawing the final prizewinners – there have been over 500 so far! – who will be receiving amazing gear from our awesome sponsors, to whom we’d like to say a huge THANK YOU and give a special Love to Ride Hi-5!


High-5This year we were delighted to be supported by Raleigh, Carradice of Nelson, Torch, Litelok and our friends at Cyclehoop who supplied such amazing organisation prizes!

Thanks also to the local bike shops who have supported us with generous donations of bikes, gear, their expert time and, of course, that all-important elbow grease.

Look out for the Cycle September results on Friday 6 October and then the launch of our Winter Wheelers campaign when the clocks go back at the end of the month.

Until then, happy cycling!

Jack and the Love to Ride Team