What participants said…

Below are a few of the emails that we got just in the last week from people who have engaged with Love to Ride. These stories are what it’s all about!


“Dear Love to Ride Team,

Thank you so much for this Awesome program.

It has motivated me to get back on my bike after 24 years, something I was always scared to do.

I have been riding ALL over and am now feeling the fun and freedom I used to feel as a little girl.

I love the feeling of the wind blowing in my hair and the smell of the fresh sea air – it is so exhilarating! I’ve attached some of my pics.

Your program has also helped me to get out on the road – something that I would never have attempted to do in the past, I now have the confidence to share the road with all vehicles.

It’s also helped my family & work colleagues start pedalling.

Thank you once again for everything you have done to get us Gold Coasters back on our bikes. It’s been one hell of a ride!

Many thanks,



Thought I’d share my success story……
8 weeks ago, my work colleague (Chris) encouraged me to get back on my pushy and exercise.  I am/was an overweight, unfit 36 year old.  After an initial ride to see what my fitness level was, we devised a training schedule with a target at the end of the October.  We mapped out a 3.5km course, close to work.  The circuit was hilly and September was windy but once a week we got out there and gave it.  After the first 4 weeks I felt fitter and started to exercise on the weekends.  I also got my wife and two kids involved and plotted out our own riding tracks closer to home.  I also started riding to work twice a week (11km each way) and plan to extend that to everyday, in the near future.
On my first ride with Chris, I could barely manage 2 laps around our 3.5km circuit.  It took 25 minutes and I moaned all the way.  Chris was determined to push me and set the goal of 9 minute laps.  Each week we built and built.  Flat tyres, wind, rain – it didn’t matter.  Last week I reached my goal and completed 5 laps (17.5km) in 44 minutes!
I feel that after sticking to an exercise routine for a number of weeks, my life has changed for the better.  I am now looking for opportunities to get out and exercise and plan it into my week’s schedule.  I plan on riding regularly and have just started running too.  I am entering the Resolution 11km run in Brisbane in January and am working towards the GC half marathon next year.
Having a website to log my trips and see the progress of myself and others has been a great motivation.



“Having not ridden my bike for over 18 months, the Love to Ride Challenge encouraged me to get my bike off the wall and out onto the road.  I had a couple of minor incidents leading up to me hanging the bike up in March last year, nothing major but they had certainly knocked my confidence and I was apprehensive about riding out on the road.

I started off small in the challenge and only did laps of my estate, but I have increased the number of laps and even ventured out into the wide world on Saturday 31st October which was a big step.  I am loving being back on the bike and look forward to continuing riding on a regular basis.

The Challenge was just what I needed so thank you for the encouragement.

Kind regards




“I have been always persuading myself to start commuting by bike. It’s healthier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Finally, the challenge got me going and I have not sit back into the car seat once during this last month. What I have never expected that I will manage my 11 km journey to Griffith University in a shorter time than by car! The traffic in the rush hour is so bad that I am faster on a bike than in the car. Well, faster by 1 minute :-). I am definitely ditching the car for good.”

Lukas F.


Behavior Change Theory Links

In a CIVITAS webinar I gave today I mentioned a number of the behavior change concepts, theories and tools that we use to get more people cycling.

Here are a three very interesting concepts that I would recommend people learn more about:

Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) – Doug Mckenzie-Mohr has done some excellent work understanding and sharing how we can be much more effective at changing people’s behavior.  Read this short 6 page PDF on CBSM.

Baby Steps – BJ Fogg from Stanford University – watch this short 2 minute video and think about how we can apply ‘baby steps’ theory to getting more people cycling.

The Fogg Behavior Model – BJ Fogg from Stanford University – a short explanation of the Fogg Behavior Model can be found on this website: http://www.behaviormodel.org/

Many thanks to Sarah Martens from Mobiel 21 for organising the webinar and bringing so many people from around the world together to hear about our work.

Ride to Work Week 2015

Let’s get more people riding to work!

If you’re interested in finding out more about getting more people in your area taking up riding to work, then please get in touch and we’ll send you some more info.

Following the success of the UK’s National Cycle Challenge, Love to Ride is now working with local authorities, businesses and Business Travel Networks across the UK on ‘Ride to Work Week’ – running from Monday 7 to Sunday 13 September 2015.

We’ll also be promoting Cycle to Work Day which is taking place the week before on Thursday 3 September and is run by our national partners – the good people at Cyclescheme.

This timeline has been strategically chosen to align with our behaviour change framework.

Changing behaviour – one step at a time

Encouraging more people to ride more often and for transportation is the aim of the game. But getting someone who doesn’t yet ride to start riding to work is a massive ask.  Most people face enough barriers to start riding recreationally, let alone riding to work.

That’s exactly why we started with the National Cycle Challenge in June, where we encouraged people to ride a bike for just 10 minutes or more.  On average 4 in 5 new riders continue riding after the Challenge.  They can then build their confidence and skills on a bike throughout June, July and August.

From late August, we’ll be suggesting to people who don’t normally ride to work to give it a go on Cycle to Work Day (Wednesday 3 September).  In achieving this, they can discover that it’s an alternative way to get to work. In doing so they then open the way to experiencing all the great benefits riding to work brings.

Then we’ll be challenging everyone (existing and new bike commuters alike) to set a goal of riding to work every day during Ride to Work Week – the following week.  People can win some great prizes – the more they ride to work that week, the more chances they have of winning.

GPS Data

We’re creating a special prize draw for people who record their ride to work via our smartphone app – that way we’ll be collecting thousands of people’s routes to work.  Data which we’ll be sharing with our official local authority partners to be used to help understand local commuter routes for future planning purposes. People only have to track a single commute by bike with our app and are free the rest of the time to use ‘Strava’ and ‘Moves’ app integration as their chosen trip logging tool. Whatever works best!

What does Ride to Work Week look like?

Ride to Work Week will be a fresh face on the existing Love to Ride online platform. With local leaderboards, new marketing materials, template emails and a marketing plan, press releases, email communications and a completely new set of prizes and incentives – this is a low-budget, high-impact, fun and engaging promotion not to miss. And as with the hugely successful National Cycle Challenge, as it’s the first time we have run it, we will throw everything at it to make it a rideaway success!

4 great reasons to become our official local partner:

  1. Bring an effective behaviour change programme to your area to get more people riding to work (and for an exceptionally reasonable budget)
  2. Get GPS data from people’s commutes to work – see which way people are riding from A to B in your area.
  3. Get survey data on who took part and the changes in your local participants’ behaviour.
  4. Communicate with new and existing riders in your area – you can share messages about your local cycling initiatives in the emails we send out as well as on your local Love to Ride website.

Budgets start as low as £1,800 and range to £6,440 with tailored ‘booster’ options where local time resources are limited. We’re busy signing local partners up in July, for mid-August promotion kick-off.

If you’re interested in finding out more about getting more people in your area taking up riding to work, then please get in touch and we’ll send you some more info.


What is the ’20 Second Rule’?

If you want to take up a new habit, look to make it easier to initiate the habit by 20 seconds.

If you want to give up a ‘bad’ habit, look to make it harder to initiate by 20 seconds.

This small shift can make a big difference to whether you do the habit/behavior.

See the story below from Harvard happiness expert Shawn Achor about how just moving his guitar to the living room increased how often he practiced.

Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

It wasn’t far out of the way, of course (my apartment isn’t that big), but just those 20 seconds of extra effort it took to walk to the closet and pull out the guitar had proved to be a major deterrent. I had tried to overcome this barrier with willpower, but after only four days, my reserves were completely dried up. If I couldn’t use self-control to ingrain the habit, at least not for an extended period, I now wondered: What if I could eliminate the amount of activation energy it took to get started?

Clearly, it was time for another experiment. I took the guitar out of the closet, bought a $2 guitar stand, and set it up in the middle of my living room. Nothing had changed except that now instead of being 20 seconds away, the guitar was in immediate reach. Three weeks later, I looked up at a habit grid with 21 proud check marks.

What I had done here, essentially, was put the desired behavior on the path of least resistance, so it actually took less energy and effort to pick up and practice the guitar than to avoid it. I like to refer to this as the 20-Second Rule, because lowering the barrier to change by just 20 seconds was all it took to help me form a new life habit. In truth, it often takes more than 20 seconds to make a difference—and sometimes it can take much less—but the strategy itself is universally applicable: Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt, and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.


What does this mean for encouraging riding?

This ’20 Second Rule’ has interesting applications for cycling.  For example, take someone who has a bike, but they keep it at the back of the garage/shed, their basement, or on their back balcony – generally place that mean extra effort to get their bike out so they can ride it.

This is classic ’20 Second Rule’ territory.

How can we apply the rule? Encourage people who own a bike, but don’t use it much, to put their bike in an place that makes it very easy to get to.  Even for a week or two.

We often to get people to take ‘baby steps’ – small steps/elements of the overall behavior that people perceive as easy to do (especially when compared to the bigger behavior people are working towards, e.g. riding to work).  Thus getting people to put their bike in their main hallway by the front door for a week will be an easier sell than getting them to make that place a permanent home for their bike from the start (although it may well end up being the permanent home for their bike once they realise how great it is to have their bike that much easier to ride).

So we are going to be integrating this messaging to some people who do have a bike, but don’t use it much, and we’ll measure to see if applying this ’20 Second Rule’ has an impact on their riding behavior.

Your thoughts and ideas for other applications of this rule to encouraging cycling are always welcome, so please feel free to comment below or get in touch.

Stories from Australia

We’re working with 5 cities in Australia this year – Sydney, Adelaide, Mackay, Cairns and now Gold Coast.

Our city partner in Cairns just emailed over some great stories from participants of the Bike Challenge we ran there:

“I haven’t been on a bike for years, and my 6 year old daughter isn’t confident on a bike. I realised that if I wasn’t a role model for her then how would she get more confident? I asked for a bike for mother’s day, got into the Love to Ride challenge and now we ride short distances together”  –  Sharon

“I really enjoyed the ‘try a bike day’ at the Council. I hadn’t been on a bike in years, and it made me think it would be good to cycle to work. The southern cycleway goes almost all the way off road, but I have nowhere to keep a bike as I live in a unit”  –  Tanvir (Two weeks later, Tanvir had bought a bike and is now commuting regularly)

“The Love to Ride challenge motivated me to work out how to ride to work, find a good route, and work out the riding/work clothes issue and making sure I had it sorted. I have been meaning to ride to work for a year, but just hadn’t got round to working it out”  –  James

“It was very satisfying organising the come and try day at the Council. I was amazed how many people were willing to sign up for the challenge when we had bikes there to use. Workmate pressure really worked to give it a go”  –  Sarah