Workplace ‘Try-a-bike’ type events are a great way to give people - who don’t normally cycle - a positive cycling experience. This is one of the best ways to show people first hand how enjoyable and easy cycling can be.
These events can come in a number of shapes and sizes, from just 2-3 bikes that people can ride around the office car park, to a whole fleet of different bikes that people can try out, with incentives, a Dr Bike mechanic, an information stand and... the list goes on.
A lot of people are already thinking about taking up cycling, and this type of fun event is a great way to get them to take the first step and rediscover the joy and benefits of riding a bike.
Location Location Location!
We've found that if people have to walk even a couple of hundred metres from the office door or building entrance to where you are holding the try a bike session, this can be enough of a barrier to effect levels of participation.
Locate the bikes and a stand as close to the office doors as possible. This way you can also engage people as they're going into and out of the building.
Even if you have to have a small stand and just a few bikes close to the entry/exit of the building and then a main stand and the rest of the bike a short walk away, this is a preferable option.
Keep it Safe
We recommend carrying out a risk assessment of the event area, which includes two key outputs:
1) A recommended route / designated area for inexperienced cyclists to follow / ride in - that is both safe and also easy for the staff at the event to communicate to participants.
2) Any danger points (junctions, driveways, dodgy surface areas) are identified and pointed out to participants before they take off.
It's also worth having someone at the event who is qualified at getting people who haven't cycled before (or for many years) back onto a bike safely.
Make it fun
Pitch the event as a bit of fun. Make sure your promotional emails, intranet articles and posters etc, all have a fun and friendly tone!
Pitch the event as something that is easy and achievable for non-cyclists to do. For our Workplace Cycle Challenges, we say 'It's just 10 minutes on a bike'.
10 minutes is short enough to not be a significant barrier and long enough for people to get over any initial fear they have when they first start riding and build a little confidence so they enjoy the experience. This way, they'll step off the bike at the end of it with a bike smile - mission accomplished!
We are the Champions
Find people within the organisations and departments you're targeting who can help you to spread the word and engage their work mates in cycling and the 'try-a-bike' session.
Our Workplace Cycle Challenge naturally attracts the existing cyclists who register on our Challenge website, which means that we can simply email them before and on the day of the event to get them into champion mode.
Bring a friend
Encourage people to bring a workmate along with them to your event. Include this idea in your promotional emails that are sent out about the event.
A spoonful of sugar…
It can help to have few little ‘sweeteners’ to encourage people to come out and ride a bike at your event. Coffee, cakes, smoothies, giveaways, slap wraps, cinema tickets, prize draws etc.
We typically give away a free cinema ticket voucher to any non-cyclist who comes out and rides a bike at one of our events.
This isn't necessarily the main motivator or attractor, but when people are weighing up the decision to come out to the try-a-bike event, an extra sweetener that a colleague can mention can be the justification people need to tip the decision in favour of participating.
Its all in the Timing
We typically run these events from mid morning through lunch and into the early afternoon with the lunch break being the most busy period.
Purple Rain, Purple Rain
Make sure you carry out the appropriate rites and rituals to please Jupiter - the Roman God of weather - before your 'Try-a-bike' event. A lot of work can go into preparing for one of these events, so it's good to be prepared for the chance of a little rain. Depending on the size of your event, they can either be easy or hard to postphone, if Jupiter doesn't come to the party that is.
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We're always happy to help you get more people cycling.