It is now less than two weeks until Cycle to Work Day returns on Thursday 3 September, a national event aiming to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for just one day.
Last year’s event saw tens of thousands of commuters pledging to cycle over a quarter of a million miles and, according to organisers, this year’s event is set to be even bigger. All across the UK, hundreds of employers representing 800,000 staff are preparing to encourage employee participation in a day devoted to celebrating utility cycling in the UK.
By organising a host of activities and events to celebrate Cycle to Work Day, employers are helping their staff to give cycling a go and feel good from active travel and healthier living.
Activities range from Britain’s Biggest Bike Breakfast – offering colleagues a coffee and croissant, or a juice and fruit, after cycling to work – to arranging guided rides, Dr. Bike sessions – trained mechanics or enthusiastic cyclists who perform ‘health checks’ on bikes – to competitions for staff to win cycling prizes.
Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, is encouraging its 300,000 employees around the UK to take part in the event with a selfie competition, posts on its Yammer private social network and a three prize giveaway.
In Hartlepool, companies are being urged to mark the day by joining in Hartlepool’s Big Bicycle Breakfast. The Borough Council is calling on companies to provide breakfast for employees who cycle to work on the day – and they’re offering £50 towards the cost. (Hartlepool companies can still register their interest by contacting email@example.com.)
At the other end of the country, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s sustainable transport team, Ideas in Motion, is urging participants to send their stories and selfies of cycling to work on social media using the campaign hashtag #CycleToWorkDay, and offering prizes to local businesses so they can run prize draws to encourage their employees to participate in the event.
Councillor Martin Terry, Executive Councillor for Public Protection, Waste and Transport, said: “Cycling to work is good for your health, your wallet and the environment. Not only that, but it also helps to relieve traffic on our busy roads, particularly at peak times, meaning everyone gets where they need to be quicker.”
Free bike health checks – think MOTs for bikes – are available from hundreds of local bike shops from 24th August to 3rd September to enable anyone to have their bike checked ready for riding on Cycle to Work Day. (For a list of those participating retailers, visit www.cycletoworkday.org/free-bike-health-checks).
One million cycling commuters by 2021
The event is also supported by Denise Van Outen, television presenter and an enthusiastic cyclist who has completed two charity rides.
“Cycling sets me up for the day with a clear head,” said Denise Van Outen. “When you think about driving time, looking for a parking space and walking to the location, bikes look better. Getting on your bike is about three times faster than walking. Please join me and give your bike a go on 3rd September.”
Launched by Cyclescheme, the UK’s leading cycle to work provider, the campaign aims to see a million people get on their bikes to work by 2021 and is supported by British Cycling, Sustrans, the Bicycle Association, Act TravelWise, CTC and the London Cycling Campaign.
Gary Shipp, Smarter Choices Manager at Sustrans said: “Working with companies across the UK, Sustrans encourages people to change the way they travel by giving them the encouragement, skills and advice they need to start cycling to work.
“Encouraging employees to be fitter, happier and healthier has a positive impact on both employees and employers alike; Sustrans research has found that cycling to work could halve the number of sick days we take and provide a £13.7 billion annual boost to British business. Cycle to Work Day is an excellent event which is inspiring people across the country to give cycling to work a go.”
How to make your employees happy: The positive psychology of being in the saddle
It doesn’t matter what you build, invent or sell; your organisation can’t move forward without people. It is a well-known fact that happiness has a significantly positive impact on work productivity. How can you keep your employees smiling and producing? Cycling advocates claim the answer is simple and won’t cost you a penny.
The benefits of cycling are easy to measure: It burns calories, reduces air pollution, relieves traffic congestion and costs less than owning a car. But, for those of us who ride, we know there are even bigger upsides to cycling: Biking makes us happy.
It is widely accepted that physically fit and healthy people are generally happier than their unfit, unhealthy counterparts yet cycling seems to possess an array of attributes that boost happiness in ways that few other sports can claim. While many other sports may possess a small handful of these attributes, it seems that cycling may be one of very few that has them all.
For more information about the event or to pledge your support as an employer, visit www.cycletoworkday.org.