Cycle September: The Global Bike Challenge

Phew! That was an epic Cycle September. This year we stepped things up, turning our flagship Workplace Cycle Challenge into the Global Bike Challenge for the first time.

And the results were spectacular: 57,162 people from 1,965 workplaces logged a ride, including 3,780 people who hadn’t ridden a bike at all – or only a few times – in the last twelve months. Altogether, Cycle September participants clocked up over 9.5 MILLION miles, saving more than 325,000kg of CO2 (that’s the equivalent of twenty-five return flights from Edinburgh to Auckland).

We had 757 prizewinners who were rewarded for riding or encouraging others to ride and thousands of people helped to build a real buzz for biking by sharing their stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our new – and very, very popular – Stories feature:

People are using our Stories feature to find and share inspiring cycling stories

We’ll be sending out surveys to everyone who took part during the week commencing Monday 21 October. Please look out for this in your inbox – our members’ responses will help us to run even bigger and better events in 2020 and after! (Plus you can win some amazing prizes for responding…).

Finally, a huge thank you to our wonderful partners and sponsors for supporting our events and helping to get more people on bikes. We salute you! Ribble, Haka Tours, Proviz, Loffi, Street Team, LiteLok, Cyclehoop and the wonderful Beryl.*

If you missed out on the Global Bike Challenge this year, make sure you hear about our exciting plans for 2020 by signing up with Love to Ride today at lovetoride.net.

*To mark the clocks going back in the UK, we’ll be giving away a Beryl Laserlight to one lucky winner each day Monday to Thursday (21-24th October) next week. One survey respondent will also win a Laserlight (we’ll also be giving away 5x Loffi Gloves and a £600 Ribble voucher)

Cycle September in Slough

For the first time, Love to Ride is bringing the annual Cycle September challenge to Slough, in partnership with Slough Borough Council.

Throughout September, businesses and residents of Slough will celebrate the freedom of cycling by dusting off their bikes and hopping on two wheels.

Riders only have to cycle for 10 minutes anywhere anytime during September for a chance to win some amazing prizes, including a £3,000 bespoke Ribble bike package. Local prizes include vouchers to Stows bike shop, free bike servicing at Bike Shed, restaurant vouchers and more.

Photo credit: Slough Borough Council

It’s completely free to take part and local organisations are already taking advantage of this opportunity to support their staff who cycle, encourage those who don’t and fulfil their sustainability goals. Suzanne Hooker, the Environment and Travel Officer at Wexham Hospital, encourages her colleagues and others around Slough to get involved:

“Participating in Cycle September is a great way to encourage cycling to work and cycling in general. It’s a great form of active travel, saves on finding a parking space, and is cheaper than other forms of transport. And of course, it’s better for the environment too!”

Did we mention that it’s a (friendly) competition? Participating organisations around Slough will gain points for riding and encouraging others to ride in order to battle it out to be the top team in town.

Ready to ride? It’s not too late to join. Register online at lovetoride.net/slough

York Cycle September Story

“I love to help people,” says Karen Lofthouse. “I like to make a difference.” In September, she’ll be doing just that on two very different bike rides.

As a recent cycling gold medallist in the Invictus Games UK trials, she’ll be setting off on the 7th September for a 980-mile nine-day ride from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for The Princes Trust.

Cycle commuters Karen Lofthouse of TSP Projects (in red) and Alice Thatcher of I Travel York

And before that, there’s her everyday five-mile cycle commute to work at engineering consultancy TSP Projects, where as her company’s Love to Ride cycling champion she’s encouraging her colleagues to make more trips by bike for this year’s Cycle September challenge.

“The journey for me is to inspire others,” she said, “just as I’ve been inspired by other competitors at the Invictus Games.”

Five years ago, Karen broke her leg while skiing for the RAF, where she then worked as an air traffic controller. The injury was so severe she wondered if her life in high-level sport was over. She tried cycling, and after a crank adjustment for her injured leg from York CycleWorks, she was able to start competing again.

“I’d been struggling after my injury, but getting out on my bike made me recognise all those positive day-to-day benefits of mood and happiness and getting out into the fresh air that cycling brings.”

She’s been working with her company on workplace cycle challenges, and on a good day reckons nearly 20% of staff ride to work. She says companies can make cycling more accessible by installing decent bike parking so riders know their bikes are secure, and by making sure cyclists have both time and proper facilities to shower and change clothes after their commute.

City of York I Travel Planning Officer Alice Thatcher also points companies to the free bike loans available though the TryBike scheme, along with adult cycle training for those less confident on the roads or wanting to hone their urban cycling skills.

“Companies can also get involved in cycle path clean ups and litter picks with us,” said Alice. “The local McDonalds stores are helping us already, and say their staff really enjoy getting out and helping their local community.”

As Cycle September approaches, Karen and Alice are asking companies to nominate their own Love to Ride cycle champions to help and advise staff about how to make their first rides to work.

“I try to inspire colleagues to get out on their bike like I did, and feel that sense of achievement, even if it’s only by cycling a mile or two,” said Karen. “I say, give it a go and see what it’s all about, see if cycling can make a difference to you, like it did for me.”

For more information:
www.lovetoride.net/york
www.itravelyork.info/cycling
www.getcyclingevents.org.uk/TryBike

Sign up for Cycle September at lovetoride.net


Mind is the Ride

Submit your story on our new Stories feature for a chance to win one of two copies of Jet McDonald’s excellent book ‘Mind is the Ride’. Submit before Friday 2 August to enter. UPDATE: Congratulations to Graham S. from Macclesfield & Matt B. from Farnham, who won a copy each!

Does riding a bike make you smarter? Reading Jet McDonald’s new book ‘Mind is the Ride’, we’d be tempted to say: Yes!

Jet is pursuing ideas about what bikes can do to us when we ride. So when he cycled 4,000 miles from the UK to India and back, he didn’t want to write a straightforward travel book. Instead, Jet takes the reader on an imaginative journey from West to East through the philosophies, cultures and people he meets on the way.

illustrationof bike pedals

In his quirky and exciting style, Jet shares great bits of wisdom, funny moments from the journey and ideas about what riding does to us (and our minds!).

Each chapter is dedicated to a bike part and beautifully describes how it relates a specific philosophy but it’s always done in an engaging and entertaining style. Such as when he describes Freud’s ideas about alpha and beta males when he meets a group of drunk hooligans in Vienna!

Illustration of touring bike

Mind is the Ride is an exhilirating story about the joys of riding bikes and we’re delighted to giving two copies away.

Read the extract below and share your bike Story with us before 2 August 2019 to enter the prize draw.

“The bike itself, in the form we know it, has only been around for 150 years. But there is something so right about the way that a bike connects to a human being that there must be a timeless notion of what it means. ‘Bikeness’ may have less to do with the object itself than with how we connect to it. The first roll down a hill on a bicycle, balance intact, is the joyous swallow dive of youth. Before the bike existed we had no learning-to-ride feet-off-the-ground epiphany, because there was no pedal to push, and yet that moment seems familiar, ageless and universal now because it is a part of being human. Our bodies long ago evolved to ride a bike, it’s just the mind had to catch up to invent it.”

Mind is the Ride is published by Unbound.

Why cities and regions are signing-up to Cycle September

Cycle September – The Global Bike Challenge – is coming up again in (you guessed it) September. The annual event has grown in size and scale and we’re particularly excited about this year’s event as it continues to expand it’s reach and impact.


Cycle September is, at its core, a cycling encouragement program designed to get more people riding, more often, and for transportation. It is a fun, friendly ‘challenge’, that’s easy for anyone to get involved in – from occasional riders to people who haven’t been on a bike in years.

At Love to Ride, we’ve been running workplace bike challenges for 12 years now, so we know a thing or two about how to make them successful and hoe to achieve great results for our clients and partners.

So why are cities, and local and regional government agencies working with us on Cycle September? 

It’s because Cycle September is…

A proven approach to getting more people riding in your area – behaviour change theory and techniques are at the core of all Love to Ride programs. We provide measurable behaviour change results to our clients.

Easy to run – we know how busy you are, so over the last 12 years, we’ve worked hard to develop systems that make it quicker and easier to roll-out the program at the local level. We can also do all the work involved in delivering the program locally, or, depending on the level of capacity you have, we can share certain roles and tasks where it makes the most sense.

Localized program – we localize the Cycle September program so that people and businesses in your city or region experience a local platform (with options for local branding, Love to Ride site, leaderboards, marketing materials, etc). At the same time, people can navigate to see and experience the national and global leaderboards and the wider reach and global flavour of the Cycle September intervention.

Generate and give Access to Data – Love to Ride programs generate a wide range of data: from survey results about local barriers; to ‘new rider’ experiences in your area; to real and perceived barriers to bike commuting. Using our integrated mobile apps, we also generate trip data (distances, days, times, trip purpose etc), along with data about your local companies’ end-of-trip facilities, databases of regular, occasional and new riders, non-commuting riders, and key contacts and ‘champions’ within local participating businesses.

Business Engagement – Cycle September is an ideal tool to provide to your local businesses. It’s easy for them to run, it’s fun and it delivers a host of benefits – from healthier, happier employees, to lower car parking costs, an easy way to achieve and measure emission reductions, promote team cohesion, etc. We engage your business network and support them to engage their staff, and thus we’re able to efficiently get thousands of local people engaged in your local Cycle September program.

It’s Exciting – a little friendly competition, both within your office, locally among businesses and friends, and within your industry locally, nationally, and globally – all helps to get people engaged and enjoying taking part in the bike challenge program.

Value for Money – due to the economies of scales we achieve and the delivery systems we’ve developed that make it quick and easy to roll out in another city/region, the programs we deliver are very good value for money. If you compare taking part in Cycle September versus developing and implementing a bespoke behavior change program locally, there are huge savings to be made.

Easy to run – did we mention that already?

In summary, cities and regions around the world are bringing Cycle September to their area because it’s a proven approach to getting more people riding, it’s easy to run, localized to their area, gives them great data, engages their business community and existing rider networks, is great value for money, and again, it’s easy for them to run 🙂


Interested in exploring options for bringing Cycle September to your area?  Then please do get in touch and we’ll send you some more information – hello@lovetoride.net

For those that spotted it, please note that this is a global article and we have chosen to use US English on this occasion!