The Love to Ride Blog

Creating a more bike friendly world

A Bike Ride a Day

  • by: Christina Sorbello

New South Wales Headline stats

Over the last 3 years, we’ve delivered the New South Wales Workplace Bike Challenge with the NSW Ministry of Health’s ‘Get Healthy at Work’ team. The program has delivered measurable results encouraging more people to ride  - specifically encouraging people who did no, or very little, physical activity before taking part in the program. 


Why is it so important to focus on people who are currently inactive?

One of our favourite authors, Peter Walker, describes the extent of the problem in his book The Miracle Pill. 1.5 billion people around the world are so inactive they are risking their long-term physical health. Every year an estimated 5.3 million people die from causes related to inactive living - that’s roughly the population of Norway. 

There’s another more timely factor to consider as well. In July 2020 Public Health England published a report which stated BMI of 35 to 40 may increase the risk of death from covid-19 by 40%, while a BMI of over 40 could increase the risk by 90%. This has been mirrored by research globally.

There is a solution though, relatively small amounts of moderate exercise can slash the health risks associated with inactivity - 150 minutes a week to be exact. Break that down into 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week and it seems like a manageable target. Perfect for a bike commute or trip to the store! 


The Workplace Bike Challenge

The NSW Workplace Bike Challenge was the most successful program of its kind in Australia in 2020. Despite shifting movement restrictions due to COVID-19, the challenge continued to attain great results.

Over the last 3 years the challenge has engaged:

  • 10,923 people including 1,758 new riders
  • 1,375 workplaces 


Health Outcomes

The challenge has demonstrated significant outcomes in improving the frequency of physical activity amongst riders.

NSW Health Outcomes

  • 53% of participants who did not do any physical activity at baseline, increased to doing physical activity on three or more days six months post-campaign
  • 39% of all participants increased their level of physical activity six months on
  • The program has a cost-benefit ratio of 1:35 - generating $5.6m in health benefits (analysis carried out using the WHO’s HEAT tool) Note this doesn’t include the transportation and climate benefits which if included would make the cost-benefit even greater!


Behavior Change Outcomes

The 2020 challenge also resulted in demonstrated changes to biking behavior:

NSW Behaviour change outcomes

  • 58% of new riders increased how often they were riding six months on
  • 57% of ‘new riders’ were females, an 8% increase on 2019’s challenge, thus working to close the current gender bicycling gap
  • 27% of all riders reported to now ride regularly six months on

If you want to see similar results to this program, our biggest campaigns - Biketober and Cycle September - are just around the corner. It’s an ideal time to join Love to Ride and kick start your platform and program with a fun and effective global bike challenge.

Published on: 15, Apr 2024

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