When the nights draw in and the thermometer drops, it’s fair to say cycling slinks down the agenda for many people. On top of the winter chill, lower light levels and less predictable weather are additional challenges to negotiate, especially for new riders.
This year for Winter Wheelers we have improved the campaign to focus on helping riders overcome these temporary, additional barriers. If you can encourage an unconfident rider to take the occasional trip by bicycle in winter, imagine what they could accomplish in the spring and summer months.
Education - knowledge is power
Education is pivotal in building confidence in riders, and not everyone likes to learn in the same way. That’s why we have webinars, tips articles, and 'Quick Courses' (That take 2-4 minutes to complete) to suit different types of learners.
Webinars - Visual and auditory with the opportunity to ask questions
Tips articles - Read and write learners
Quick Courses - Interactive and experiential learning
The educational tools we use on our platform aim to support and develop our riders' self-efficacy, autonomy, and perceived capability.
Providing tips and advice alone is not enough to achieve behavior change, however, targeting our users with the most relevant tips for them (based on their most prevalent barriers) and by utilizing a range of behavior change techniques (from 'baby steps' to social morning) provides a comprehensive behavior change tool kits. By providing helpful information in a variety of ways, ensures we cater to a range of learning styles.
Sharing really is caring - why Stories matter
During Winter Wheelers we are asking our riders to read and share their own stories about "Riding in all kinds of weather". Seeing is believing for a lot of riders and an integral part of overcoming barriers. By seeing other people riding bikes in all weather conditions, it normalizes that behavior...and can even glamourize it if there are enough smiles!
Fundamentally us humans crave community and connection. Sharing our stories to build community is a practice that has stood the test of time. Celebrating certain behaviors within a connected community helps inform how we perceive social situations, how we relate and interact with others and how we regulate our own activity. Changing the attitudes of how people perceive riding in the winter to be may help to support changes in individual behavior, particularly when this is paired with influence from friends, family, and coworkers supporting this activity.
The carrot on the stick...prizes that enable
Or the icing on the Christmas Cake? For Winter Wheelers that is the prize. Once a rider has been given the information and support, they just need to get out and ride - that’s all they need to do. There’s no qualifying distances or frequency for Winter Wheelers - any ride is an accomplishment and puts riders into daily prize drawings.
Daily incentives throughout December are an additional nudge providing extrinsic motivation to support people to ride during the colder months. Often, our Winter Wheeler’s participants are people who have taken part in our main campaign, Cycle September. Incentives can be an effective way of rewarding people, alongside enabling them to understand the how and why to form new habits to travel sustainably and healthily all year round.
To encourage their hard work, we work with sponsors who can enable them to do even more through the wintertime - such as Proviz who are renowned for their Reflect360 gear.
Don’t just take our word for it:
“Cycle September got me back on my bike again regularly. I have not felt that fit or healthy for a long time and that was motivation to keep up some form of exercise whatever the weather” - Tanera, Milton Keynes
“ I boosted my mileage in September because of the promotion. I'm pleased to have kept riding during the winter.” Mike, Suffolk
“I've never done so much winter cycling. Good to realize it's still just as enjoyable if you wrap up.” Nigel, Brighton
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