Jack Windle, project manager at Love to Ride, on how local authorities can help grow cycling through the National Cycle Challenge.
In anticipation that Smarter Choices Smarter Places (SCSP) funding in 2016 may match levels seen last year, many in Scottish Local Government will be assessing their options for rolling out effective ‘soft measures’. For getting more people on bikes, Love to Ride provides a proven, flexible behaviour change programme that has helped tens of thousands of people (back) into the saddle.
Love to Ride’s Workplace Cycle Challenge is a fun, free, inclusive competition between workplaces to see which can get the highest proportion of their staff to try riding a bike. As well as organisation leaderboards, individuals can win prizes and are able to record their rides manually on the site, via the free smartphone app, or using their preferred mobile apps including Strava, Moves, MapMyRide and Endomondo.
The model is so successful (Love to Ride have engaged 170,000 people working in 9,000 organisations worldwide) because it taps into the knowledge, networks, energy and enthusiasm of local advocacy groups, cycling clubs and other stakeholders. By providing a platform for engaging regular riders and employers in order to support and encourage people new to riding, Workplace Cycle Challenges bring together those best equipped to get more people riding bikes and help them to grow their cycling community.
In June every Local Authority in Scotland is invited to take part in the National Cycle Challenge: every individual and organisation in the country can register for free, record their rides and go into the national prize draw. Where there is local funding – such as SCSP – we can work more closely with Local Authorities and local stakeholders to tailor a bespoke behaviour change programme to get more people riding in your area.
We’re currently working with City of Edinburgh Council and Aberdeenshire Council – and a range of stakeholders who share our goal of getting more people on bikes – to run major workplace cycle challenges in March. Check out www.lovetoride.net/edinburgh to see what a local Challenge site looks like, visit our blog or call Sam on 07734 833451 to find out more about how Love to Ride can help grow cycling in your area.
Suzanne Forup – CTC’s Head of Development in Scotland – said: ‘Getting signed up with Love to Ride is a fun way to join a cycling community and support other people that are riding where you live and work. Cycling has many benefits – improved health, reduced carbon emissions and more money in your pocket. We’re asking all CTC members in Edinburgh to sign up – and encourage their colleagues to do the same!’