Matt Ridely, the Champion for Cycle September winners R&M Electrical, tells us why he registered his workplace and how promoting cycling benefits the business.
I’ve worked at R&M for over 12 years now and have been cycling to work for 6 years. At our Head Office in Sholing (where I work) we have approximately 60 staff. We do have showers and a large shed for storing bikes. At Head Office it is only me who commutes by bike regularly all year-round but there are a handful of others that ride at the weekend and at other sites who also cycle on a regular basis.
I registered R&M because I wanted to encourage others to start cycling to work as it’s a great benefit to our health and to the environment. When I first registered us on Love to Ride I thought it would just be a handful of people getting involved but people I’d never imagined would start riding started getting out in the evenings, or heading out to the local shop in lunch breaks. It’s been amazing to watch.
To get people involved I sent out regular emails to all staff to show how we were doing and asked them to get out and ride. I think the thing that got most people out was my 8 year old son and I doing a 25km charity ride around Portsmouth. I think that inspired people to get out there… if an 8 year old can do it they can too!
People who took part have also had their attitudes to cycling changed, it’s almost like they’d forgotten what it feels like to ride and how much fun it is. Another benefit is getting people to think about what it is like for people commuting by bike and to pay more care when driving around cyclists. The prizes have been great, a nice mix of prizes for veteran riders, and also great prizes to help people get started riding.
I’m looking to build up a fleet of bikes here at head office for people to use during lunch breaks to get them away from their screens and out in the fresh air. In spring, I’ll be organising some excursions to Mayfield Park just up the road from us to get people out and about. I think that now I know there are people here willing to join in I will ramp up the noise I make prior to Cycle September and get some Bikeability training on site to give people more confidence to head out onto the roads. Maybe have some in-house prizes to get people competing a bit too. My advice to other Champions would be to just keep making noise about it, get people out in the car park having a go on a bike, just watch their faces! It’s amazing, you can see their inner child coming out!
I’d urge other organisations to sign up, especially in Southampton, because we have a responsibility to look after the health of our staff and our environment… and cycling does both of these things! It doesn’t cost much, and it makes people happier, better workers. It’s a no brainer! When I cycle to work, I arrive refreshed and ready for the day, when I drive (which takes longer!) I arrive stressed and in a bad mood! Just get people cycling, and lead by example!
Find out more and register at lovetoride.net