Between Monday 8 and Sunday 28 June, 19,054 people and 1,731 organisations took part in the first National Cycle Challenge. Together they logged 150,000 trips on the website and rode 1.7 million miles. The Challenge was run by Love to Ride in partnership with Cyclescheme, Bike Week and the CTC, the national cycling charity.
The Challenge was a free competition between workplaces to see which could get the most staff to try riding a bike. Organisations competed in six size categories and there were also prizes for individuals who encouraged the most people to take part, rode the greatest distance and logged the most trips.
3,700 ‘New Riders’ took part. One participant from Lancashire has been sewing cycle bags for 25 years but had never ridden a bike. Her team mates helped her to learn, starting with a small bike without pedals. After four 20-minute sessions she was cycling around the car park. David, her Challenge Champion, said, “She was absolutely thrilled and now she is looking at buying a bike! Through her efforts we managed 100% participation”. Carradice of Nelson topped both the Lancashire and National leaderboards as a result.
Employers are increasingly aware that encouraging employees to ride to work benefits organisations and their staff. Cycling dramatically reduces sick leave, carbon emissions and the need for parking, makes employees more productive and can save employers National Insurance Contributions through the provision of bicycles as a tax-free benefit under the government’s Green Transport Plan.
As a follow-on initiative and to encourage more people to commute by bike across the UK, the organisers will be promoting Ride to Work Week, Tuesday 1 – Friday 4 September. The National Cycle Challenge will run in June every year.
Notes for Editors