Our most popular program ever

Waaaay back in the beginning, in the early noughties, the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) was one of the very first partners to get behind the Workplace Cycle Challenge concept that gave birth to a social business now known as Love to Ride.

After 15 years of development, and expansion to 12 countries, Love to Ride returned to New Zealand again in 2017 and partnered with the NZTA to launch the ‘Aotearoa Bike Challenge’. 

Having since been delivered three consecutive years, this country-wide event, has now successfully grown into the most popular and successful program of its kind in the world. In 2019 this culminated in a whopping 0.5% of the entire NZ population participating.

This blog explores some of the key features and findings of our most successful cycling encouragement and behaviour change program yet.

The flexibility within the Love to Ride platform allows for regions within a country to localise a site for their area and provide a local flavour to their participants.  New Zealand regions did a particularly great job of this and this type of collaboration is reflected in the below levels of participation.

2% of the working age population of the Greater Christchurch Region (population 396,000) participated in this year’s Love to Ride Aotearoa program.

Mobilising the Choir

Our programs give existing riders the tools and resources they need to encourage the ‘interested but concerned’ would be riders of our communities to give cycling a go.  Across all of our programs globally we see an approximate 1:1 ratio – that is for every regular rider who participates, they encourage a new or occasional rider to participate too.

Women love to ride too – of course we do!

It may come as a surprise to some, in what is largely considered as a male-dominated recreation, but the below gender split graph is typical of what we are seeing in our Love to Ride programs around the world. As a team, we’ve worked hard to buck the gender imbalance trends and it’s refreshing and exciting to see this work paying off in so many more women riding.

It’s also interesting to see that it’s fairly consistent across the regions:

It’s also interesting to note that the major urban centres like Auckland and Wellington, have higher proportions of male riders taking part (~60% male), while the more provincial areas like Northland and Southland have the opposite (~40% male and ~60% female).

Current modes of travel

It may come as no surprise at all that driving alone was the most frequent method of commuting to work at 37%. This was closely followed by travelling by bike at 33%.

By splitting the data into regions, we can also see the greatest opportunity for potential behaviour change with 50% or more participants commuting to work by driving alone in Northland, Southland and Bay of Plenty:

New Zealanders strive to live sustainably

New Zealanders are well known for their commitment to sustainable living and this was reflected in the data when we asked them to tell us what motivated them to ride. 

Living sustainably was the 3rd most important motivator at 33%, followed by 56% for enjoying the outdoors and 88% for improved fitness.

In fact, sustainability was more frequently cited over improved health for most of the regions except Tasman, Nelson & Marlborough and Waikato.

We can also compare the data by region to provide some insight into our communities.  Saving money was more commonly cited in Canterbury as a key motivation (16% of respondents) compared to Northland (7%).

Barriers, real and perceived

Globally, we consistently see weather as a barrier people tell us they face when riding a bike. By understanding what barriers people face, we are able to give them the tools to overcome them and move them along a personal journey of change.

Whether it’s cycle confidence training for those who feel uneasy on the roads, discounts of great wet weather gear for riding in the rain, or a short video on how to fix a flat if the bike is in disrepair, Love to Ride works to break barriers down and, in doing so, open up the many benefits that riding brings.

However, when we deep dive into rider type, we unveil more about what each group perceives as their main barriers.  This information provides real insight into the kinds of interventions we can help facilitate to overcome these hurdles and ultimately change behaviour for the better.

For most of the regions, ‘not feeling confident’ was the main barrier for new riders. This was closely followed or surpassed by ‘not knowing a safe route’.

Auckland and Northland occasional riders cited not knowing a safe route as their main barrier to riding more often – all other regions attributed the weather as their main barrier. This was particularly notable in Wellington where 25% of respondents cited the weather as a barrier to riding or ridng more often.

End of trip facilities – the way to your employee’s heart?

Bad weather is more prominently a key barrier for regular riders largely due to it being one of a few barriers that are outside of our control. It is also the case that many of the other barriers have been whittled down to almost being non-existent, something that comes with time and experience.

Up next

The team at Love to Ride feel an incredible sense of pride having created a program that engaged so many people and through them achieved these results. For me, as a social marketer interested in social impact, it’s exactly these kinds of outcomes that get me excited for the potential for positive change in our cities and our communities globally.

In 2020, we hope to turn the needle even more and take the challenge to new heights.  Mind-blowing!

Can we help you get more people in your community or business riding bikes? Email hello@lovetoride.net or take a peek at partners.lovetoride.net

Sharing Shasta’s Success Story

Healthy Shasta’s Cameron Lievense has a lot of love for Love to Ride.  The 2018 Shasta Bike Challenge was the first year Shasta County, California (population 177,223) partnered with Love to Ride for their May biking challenge and when asked about the experience, Cameron gave us this super review.

Over to you Cameron!

“The 2018 Shasta Bike Challenge was our most successful bike challenge with the most participants we had ever seen. With the new Love to Ride platform, participants found it much easier to sign up and track their rides. By having a customizable tracking platform for Shasta County, we felt our bike challenge had a new professional feel that finally gave us the look we have been wanting to portray to our participants.

Love to Ride participants enjoy a ride on the River Trail.

Participants could engage and encourage other riders, while watching current team and individual rankings on a daily basis which drove competition and excitement. We utilized custom event banners on Love to Ride to promote upcoming activities which impacted our reach as well as attendance. Rules and information were very clear and participants could find all the facts to help them stay engaged and be successful with the challenge. Businesses were also easier to recruit with the pleasing look of the platform made recruitment simple.

Sponsors could be easily recognized, as well as the volunteers and staff behind the challenge.  On the National side, our avid and competitive cyclist got to compete with other riders across the states making a strong motivational factor for riding more. Our County also got the extra inspiration of competing Nationally by holding positions as top leaders in the challenge by rank. This was a big motivational factor of driving our community to bike more often.

The simplicity of the Love to Ride platform gave us more time to focus on recruiting more participants to join us by eliminating staff hours to get the challenge underway. We’re ready for 2019!”

Nichols, Melburg & Rossetto Architects enjoying the Challenge.

Cameron and his team did a great job utlizing the Love to Ride platform and Challenge program. Having a local Love to Ride site that they could customize and own the growth of was a big factor in their program’s success.

If you’re interested in getting a local Love to Ride community platform for your area, then please do get in touch – hello@lovetoride.net. We’d love to hear from you.

Happy Love to Riders – riding the Ribbon Bridge.

Hop On > Changing Lives Through Cycling

Fozia Naseem is Managing Director at Hop On, who deliver fun and social rides for families of all abilities in West Yorkshire including cycling skills to build confidence to ride on the roads. Hop On rely on donations of bikes to deliver these activities and spread the love of cycling to people who have never had the opportunity to experience it due to barriers of either not having a bike or the lack of confidence. On International Women’s Day, Fozia tells us why she loves to ride.

Having been through many challenges in life from a very young age and having to overcome them alone wasn’t easy. I went through most of my childhood feeling worthless, unloved and lost as if I had no roots or grounding that made me feel secure. Through adulthood it continued. I made bad choices because of not feeling worthy of anything good and by the age of 32, I really wasn’t in a good place.

During this time, the one thing that I did find was stability whilst on my bike. I saw the world from a difference perspective. I connected with nature and found it grounded me and gave me a sense of belonging. It was on my bike that I felt at peace and was reminded how grateful I was that I had my health and a body that served me well. Riding gave me self-respect and allowed me the space to make positive changes to flourish and grow into the woman I am today.

Having been on my own journey to self-respect and independence, I wanted to help other people gain confidence too. I realised there was an opportunity to use my love of cycling to do this and started running cycling sessions with South Asian ladies who wanted to learn to ride a bike.

A Hop On Saturday meet-up
A Hop On Saturday meet-up

 

Many of them had the physical ability to do it, but we found that they had a psychological block or self-doubt that held them back through the internal language they were using. It was only when we brought their attention to this internal language that they would feel challenged as they had never actually tuned in to it. It was here that they discovered what was going on and accepted something had to change.

It would occasionally turn out that we would have to take some time out away from cycling with some of the ladies to deal with what was going on with them internally before they could move forward. Once they got back on the bike, it was transformational. It was a massive achievement through cycling, but more importantly, it was the psychological benefits unlocked by riding that really made them evolve into the amazing women they are today.

Family Group

We wanted to create a change in others where it mattered and where it was close to our hearts. To ignite the same passion of challenging, discovering and evolving and here it just presented itself.

We now all ride together and have so much fun as we mix with all communities from around Yorkshire – and the best part is we are keeping fit and healthy as a result. Our groups are more like families. The only difference is when our members are with us they don’t have a role to play, like a mother, daughter or wife. They are their true selves and they are given a safe environment to express themselves freely from which they grow.

The wealth we have got from cycling isn’t so much about the money we save by commuting by bike, for us it’s how rich our lives are now from being part of a community who cycle together and share amazing stories.
Social Group

Ride365 – year round cycling encouragement

insta, launch ride,Ride365 is our year-round rolling program of activity, promotions, encouragement and engagement.
 
As well as delivering more tailored national programs, including the National Bike Challenge in North America and Aotearoa Bike Challenge in New Zealand,  we have developed a series of major campaigns – to complement seasonal activity and achieve sustained behaviour change over the longer term.
 
Anyone, anywhere can take part in Love to Ride – and where we have support from public and/or private sector partners, we can turn the taps on and deliver plenty more!
 

A Host of Benefits

Ride365 brings our partners in cities and businesses a host of benefits including:

  • A proven behaviour change programme – we’ve trialed, tested, and refined our programs over the last 10+ years to be as efficient and effective as possible. Essentially, we’ve developed an approach that we can roll into a new area, then make some customisations to make it more locally relevant. This approach gets measurable results.
  • Global, national and local promotion and engagement – the offices in your area are taking part at the same time as the offices across the country and right around the world. This means that companies can get fully behind the programme as it is for all their staff wherever they are, rather than just in a single location.
  • Economies of scale and cost efficiencies – there are many efficiencies to localising a national programme – as opposed to inventing a new programme from scratch – and thus Love to Ride’s programmes are very affordable for businesses, cities and regional governments.
  • A great prizes pool – we’re able to source amazing prizes for a big national campaign, to complement the local prizes we also secure to link people into local services. Inspiring through rewards and prize giving is just one element of behaviour change, helping to get more people participating.
  • Fostering behaviour change over time – because our approach is year-round and long term, it addresses the fact that changing behaviour takes time – but is also best achieved one step at a time.

Screenshot 2019-04-09 19.26.29

Ride to Work Week

The main aim is to encourage more people to realise the benefits of riding a bike to work. Existing riders are encouraged to try riding to work every day in the week and get into the habit of being a regular bike commuter. There are also incentives for encouraging people to try riding to work for the first time. Find out more here

Bike Week

To kickstart the summer of cycling, we focus on riding, encouraging and sharing. Another key aim is to encourage existing and new riders to attend a local Bike Week event. And this year we’re giving away a bike a day throughout the 9 days of bike ‘week’!

Cycle September

This is the main global event – organisations compete to see which can earn the most points by riding and by encouraging others to ride too. 

We use 7 size categories to level the playing field and to provide a closer (and more fun) competition. Organisations compete on local, national, and global leaderboards as well as their industry leaderboard.

Winter Wheelers / Summer Spins

These hemisphere-specific events support people to ride in winter/summer with top tips and seasonal communications plans and prize pools including great kit, quality gear and beautiful bikes!

These events see high levels of social engagement and stunning photography, inspiring tales of riding in winter/summer and using the new stories feature to support encouragement and engagement.

To find out more about Ride365, any of our seasonal promotions or more about how to get more people cycling in your area or across your business, email the team hello@lovetoride.net and they will be right back in touch.

 

Love to Ride Southampton – taking a peek at progress

In many ways, Love to Ride Southampton is typical of a first-year Love to Ride behaviour change project. A city where, over the years, various infrastructure development and traffic calming measures have been rolled out. There are new cycle lanes, improved access to the National Cycle Network, 20mph zones, a dockless bike sharing scheme, cycle confidence training and popular social enterprises – such as Monty’s Bike Hub – that engage local people and give them access to cycling related activity and resources.

myjourney

Under the MyJourney sustainable travel banner, the council team has been working hard to engage local people, communities and businesses in the benefits of travelling around the city by sustainable means.

The ultimate goal is to replace car journeys with cycling and walking trips, including increased use of the public transport system – to help people move around the city with ease, reducing congested roads and resulting air-borne pollutants.

Crucially, the goal is also to invest in making changes that benefit all communities of Southampton, enabling them to live, work and play in a city fit for future generations.

Love to Ride play a key part in our plans to develop Southampton into a true cycling city. This programme has already created a vibrant online community for existing and new cyclists where they can encourage one another and share their experiences of cycling in Southampton. We’re looking forward to continuing our successful partnership with Love to Ride and their Ride to Work Week promotion, as part of our upcoming Move in March campaign”.    Neil Tuck, Sustainable City Team Leader, Southampton City Council

 

The city has identified cycling as one of the key ways it can tackle the challenges of air pollution, congestion and physical inactivity that it faces. Southampton adopted its Cycling Strategy in late 2017, setting out ambitious plans to invest over £25m in cycling in the city over a 10 year period. Already over £3m has been spent on new facilities, cycle routes and connectivity across the city with a further £5.3m due to be spent in the coming year. This investment in infrastructure is complemented by a programme of support and incentives using its sustainable travel brand My Journey alongside Love to Ride to help make cycling easier, safer and better.

Changing behaviour and disrupting current, unsustainable travel patterns and modal share is an important part of that strategy, engaging businesses, leaders, communities, stakeholders and people. At Love to Ride we push the ‘everyday cycling’ message hard, also bucking the trend of gender inequality that is still inherent in cycling.

Screenshot 2019-02-27 14.25.14

Organic growth – never starting from scratch

As is often the case, when Love to Ride were awarded the contract to deliver this city-wide cycling behaviour change project, we weren’t starting from scratch. Since 2009, Love to Ride (previously Challenge for Change) have been busy engaging new, occasional and regular riders in towns, cities and whole regions across the UK, inspiring them to encourage other people – friends, work colleagues, family members, neighbours – to enjoy the many benefits that riding aScreen Shot 2019-02-27 at 3.45.27 PM bike brings. This cohort of already-engaged people is often made up by those most likely to help get others on board and in Southampton, we had 150 such people in the area who were up for taking on that role. And so the foundations are laid…

Cycle September – let’s go!

The first intervention we delivered with the city was the UK’s National Cycle Challenge – Cycle September. To kick things off in the lead-in to this campaign, the council rolled out additional marketing campaigns – promoting Love to Ride on the back of city buses, on lamppost banners on congested roads and even lift-doors where there was high footfall. The resulting levels of uptake were excellent and to date over 1,000 people have registered, including nearly 200 new riders who were encouraged back into the saddle to enjoy the freedom that riding a bike brings.

Screenshot 2019-02-27 14.34.30

The above table shows the ‘main mode of travel’ in the city – broken down by rider frequency (New=not at all or hardly ever / Occasional = 3-4 times per month up to 1 time per week / Regular = 3-4 times per week or more). With 42% of new riders driving alone as their main mode of moving around the city, this alone represents an awesome opportunity to really make a big and lasting difference. And that is exactly where Love to Ride comes in.

Other findings and insights from the Cycle September interim report include:

  • 91% of new riders and 55% of occasional riders reported an intention to increase how often they ride compared to 12 months before Cycle September (2018)
  • 27% of regular riders reported they intend to be riding more than they did before Cycle September (2018)
  • The main benefits participants wanted to gain from riding a bike were improved fitness; 76%, to save money; 45% and to enjoy the outdoors; 45%
  • The main 3 barriers participants felt prior to taking part in the challenge were the weather not being good (51%), not knowing a safe route (23%) and no showers at work (19%).

Screenshot 2019-02-27 20.11.46
                           What are the main benefits you want to gain by riding a bike?

We will return to the research when we re-survey people in March 2019 to understand the levels of change people are already achieving and how, for example, this has impacted single occupancy vehicle use in the city. In the first 6 months alone we have engaged 58 organisations, each one with a cycle champion in place and ready to help push out internal comms and help to promote cycling as a great way to get from A to B in and around the city.

Bike sharing

YoBikeYoBike launched an initial fleet of share bikes in Southampton in late 2017, coinciding with the return of the community’s 40,000-strong student population. Following hot on the heels of YoBike’s success story in Bristol, this dockless app-powered bike-sharing scheme now has more than 25,000 registered users using a fleet of 1,000 bikes.

Dockless bike schemes have rapidly popped up across the UK over the last 2-3 years, but many have withdrawn due to the end of Chinese investment. However, some city schemes have flourished and Southampton is amongst them.

At Love to Ride we work with bike share schemes to give discounts at key times of the year – i.e. during Ride to Work Week – and thus remove the bike (and potentially the cost) as a potential barrier to cycling and to commuting by bike.

Up next in Southampton is Ride to Work Week as part of their Move in March campaign – the first intervention of 2019. Riding to work, or part of the way, has significant benefits that make people happier, healthier and wealthier. Working with the Travel Team, Sustrans officers, other stakeholders, champions and businesses across Southampton, we will be helping release the many benefits of the cycle commute to employers and employees alike.

Would you like to see more people cycling where you are?

Love to Ride work with cities, regions and entire countries right around the world. As a Bristol-based social business, the team partner with collaborators and advocacy groups to tap into local expertise, using their proven web platform and Ride365 programmes to effect positive change, one bike at a time.

For more information and to discuss working with Love to Ride where you are, email hello@lovetoride.net or take a peek at partners.lovetoride.net