South Yorkshire cyclists reached their millionth milestone this month, after 2,272 riders and 201 companies on the county’s Love to Ride cycling initiative clocked up 1,080,733 miles after the scheme had been running for just over a year.
“It shows that there’s a real interest in getting about on a bike in modern towns and cities,” said Rosie Frazer from Love to Ride. “And we’re asking every company in South Yorkshire to sign up and help boost our region’s health, happiness and air quality.”
Rosie and colleagues met up with several cycle friendly companies just after passing the scheme’s million mile mark and learned how making a few changes can help more staff to cycle more often.
The long term target of at least 10% of local trips being made by bike might seem ambitious at present, but some local companies are already seeng over 10% of employees regularly cycling to work.
“Simple things like secure parking and washing and storage facilities are pretty obvious, but companies like Sheffield University, Mott MacDonald and B Braun told us that the key thing is to ask both existing cyclists and people who don’t cycle much what they’d need to cycle more often,” said Rosie. “Getting pool bikes might help staff travel quicker between sites for example, and providing a regular bike repair service on site might really help to encourage more staff to give it a go.”
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.
The project 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 later in the year.
Love to Ride and local authorities will be helping participating companies who want to do more to encourage cycling, and say the number of South Yorkshire bike riders is set to rise and rise.
“If more companies join the 200 already logging their trips, we’re hoping South Yorkshire cyclists will top two million miles this year,” said Rosie.
> Companies and individuals can sign up to the free scheme at: lovetoride.net/southyorkshire