“Lots of Sheffielders tell us they’re frustrated by having to hang around in traffic jams every day, or wait for ages for a bus that’s got delayed further down the line,” said Rosie Frazer from Love to Ride.

“The fact is that we know cycling is quicker to travel for up to four and half miles in Sheffield’s rush hour, and you can find loads of off road routes around the Outdoor City for some of your trip. Imagine commuting in through a city park or alongside the river Don – you can’t get that in a car.”

People cycle home via a tree-lined route in Bradway.

After local bus chiefs compared Sheffield congestion to the streets of New York, Rosie added that anyone nervous about making their first city trips by bike can get help from local cycle trainers, and companies joining Love to Ride can get their regular cycle commuters to help and advise newcomers to city cycling.

“Several local companies, like the University of Sheffield and Mott MacDonald, have around 10% of staff riding to work already so lots of people are already doing a lot for themselves and the city’s congestion problems by switching from traffic jams to active travel.”

The free Love to Ride scheme is part of South Yorkshire’s Inmotion! programme of Sustainable Travel initiatives funded by a £7.5m Access Fund for Sustainable Travel grant from the government.

South Yorkshire cyclists have already reached over a million miles on the scheme, with 224 local companies and 2,450 cyclists taking part, including over 500 people completely new to city cycling.

“Cycling is the way more and more of us will be getting around in future, and many modern companies can see that cycling staff are fitter, more productive, and take fewer days off sick,” said Rosie. “So we’d like every South Yorkshire company to think about how they can help more staff to commute by bike. And with our free Cycle September initiative starting now, joining Love to Ride will help you get going.”

Love to Ride encourages both commuter and leisure cycling with prizes including holidays, bikes and accessories on offer to people and companies who sign up and log their miles. Sheffield Love to Ride companies and organisations will also be offered loan trials of e-bikes this year.

“I think Sheffield beats New York for cycling to be honest – we have city parks and a National Park to ride through, and most routes to the city centre are downhill. So unlike in New York, even if you only live three miles away, you can feel as if you’re flying to work!”

Companies and individuals can sign up to the free scheme at: lovetoride.net/southyorkshire