The Love to Ride Blog

Creating a more bike friendly world

This year the inaugural Cycling World Championships came to Glasgow and across Scotland to showcase the Power of the Bike. This was cycling with a difference. 13 individual UCI World Championships were on display showcasing the versatility of the bike, with everything from Road, Downhill Mountain Biking, BMX, Track, Para-cycling, Artistic Cycling (essentially gymnastics on a bike!).

This spectacular event kicked off with the Mountain Bike Downhill qualifiers and closed with the Women Elite Road Race on the final Sunday. What was most notable was the increased spotlight on the women’s events and the inclusion of Para-cycling Road and Para-cycling Track as part of the main schedule. From start to finish it was a ride that we didn't want to end! 

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So where does the 23 Million Mile challenge come in?

A partnership between Love to Ride and the UCI Cycling Worlds that was born out of discussion some 18 months ago. The aim of this campaign was to capture the excitement of the Champs, to raise awareness of the events and activities, both sporting and community, and to encourage people to experience the benefits of bike riding first hand.

The aim was to ride to a big target - 23 Million Miles! It sounds huge (and it is), but we had faith that the established Love to Ride community along with all new signups, could achieve it. Over a five month period from April to August 13th, every kind of rider, regardless of riding experience, could take part.

A tracker was used to measure progress and everyone involved kept a close eye as the miles gradually increased. Users unlocked a profile badge for logging trips, and every day they hopped on their bikes they went into the prize draw for cycling and non-cycling related prizes.

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The results

2-Aug-25-2023-08-38-08-8729-AMThree key takeaways:

  1. Reallocation of space - how wondrous it was to see the bike prioritised; not just by the professionals, but also the everydayers cycling along the race course after hours. If our towns and cities prioritised active modes we’d all benefit.

  2. Be inspired, not intimidated - yes these athletes are super human, but we don't need to be. Set yourself a mini goal to replace your short car journeys by bike for Cycle September. Little habits can snowball!

  3. Physical activity - number of trips logged increased during the challenge period, as did the average journey distance - our users were more physically active as a result. Cycle September is another opportunity to keep this momentum going.

The Power of the Bike 

Quotes from participants and the team.

Janet Kerr (Fife - Love to Ride User)

“I’m always motivated to ride my bike, as it’s the best medicine for my progressive neurological condition but knowing that my efforts are helping to reach a collective goal makes me feel part of a team!”

4-Aug-25-2023-08-38-10-1883-AMSuzanne Palmer (East Ren -  Love to Ride User)

“During the challenge I cycled much further than I usually would. I even pushed myself to do a cycle I never thought I would manage… twice! Exercise can be difficult with two young kids and sometimes life takes its place. This challenge helped me focus on this”

Angus Rodney (Love to Ride - Partnerships Manager, Scotland)

“I am Glasgow based and was lucky to have the UCI World Champs on my doorstep. What stood out for me was the reallocation of space for bikes. The closed roads meant that I could happily pootle on my bike after work. There was no congestion, less noise, and a relaxed atmosphere! It felt like a glimpse into the future of our cities.

“I am a fairly confident cyclist but had admittedly fallen out of the habit of cycling for every day journeys. I set myself a mini goal to not use the car during the 11 days of the champs, and I loved it. It wasn’t about the physical for me, I felt like every little spin was great for decluttering my mind come rain or shine…and there was plenty of the former!”

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The Legacy

The Scottish Government is committed to sustainable transport with a pledge of 10% of the overall transport budget going to active travel by 2024/25. If we can bottle some of the excitement and political will from the Cycling World Champs we will go far.

  1. Cycling Facilities Fund - £8 million towards sports facilities and infrastructure to support grass roots uptake of cycling

  2. Rock Up & Ride Programme - delivered by Scottish Cycling, an additional £900,000 of funding to expand the offer of fun, free and easy to access fully inclusive sessions for children aged 7-14 years at more sites across the country.

  3. Community Cycling Fund - £1.4 million put towards community cycling projects and events across Scotland's 32 Local Authority areas.

Funding goes a long way, but an attitudinal shift is needed if we want to truly decarbonise our transport systems. Behaviour change should be at the heart of this, and that’s what Love to Ride is all about. Educate, incentivise, create a sense of community; but most of all make it fun!

To work with us or to find out more about the 23 Million Mile challenge, get in touch 👉 hello@lovetoride.net 


Published on: 26, Feb 2024

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