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Cycle to Work - Celebrating Pedal Power

On the 4th of August the UK celebrates Cycle to Work day, a campaign created to encourage people to cycle to work for at least one day of the year.

Thousands across the country take to the saddle each year to participate in and celebrate the day. Cycling is one of the best ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine; there are several benefits for the environment too, as it is environmentally friendly, pollution and hassle-free. The campaign speaks for itself and is one of the most celebrated days across the world based on the fact that cycling is a popular activity and enjoyed by many. Thousands of commuters each day in the UK choose to cycle to work and it can be a lot of fun; many start and end the day exercising which in return releases the chemicals we all love—endorphins which trigger that positive, happy feeling.

What are the benefits of cycling to work?

  • Cycling is enjoyable—instead of sitting in a car waiting in traffic jams, by cycling you are taking in more sightseeing and you become more familiar with the area you live and work in.
  • Cycling to work saves money, as expenses such as parking and petrol are reduced, bike maintenance is a lot cheaper than car maintenance and it is a lot cheaper to purchase a bike as opposed to a car.
  • Cycling on average burns as many calories as jogging, improves cardio-vascular fitness, boosts energy, and builds muscle.
  • According to research carried out by Oxford University, if one car journey is replaced by one bike journey it can reduce on average citizen's carbon emissions from transport by up to 67%.
  • Cycling can, for some, be a lot faster than taking a journey by car. You can predict your arrival time more accurately as you are not at the mercy of unsuspected traffic jams.

Encouraging employees to start

Commuters often do not consider cycling to work because they assume the journey might be too dangerous, they don’t have access to a bike, or they are unsure what supports are there for them. Before you begin to promote cycling to work you should communicate as much information and provide encouragement to your workforce.

Many commuters ask themselves the niggling question ‘can I cycle the full distance to work’? The answer is yes, they can; it might take some time to build up the distance but it will become a lot easier as they go. If the distance is quite far, they could take their bike with them in their car, park up halfway along the journey, and cycle the rest.

There are numerous routes commuters can take and they can look into avoiding busy roads. Many assume that the only route is the main road, which can experience a lot of traffic congestion and delays, however this isn’t the case, they should look into different routes and try to avoid busy routes.

They can also create a buddy system, there may be staff members who already commute to work by bike, and they may live on the same route as others. If this is the case, they can create a buddy system where they take the journey and arrive to work together.

It may have been a while since some of your employees have last used their bike, so it is important that their bike is in good working order before they begin to cycle to work. They should either ask a bike mechanic to carry out checks, or Sustrans (a charity in the UK who support people to cycle and walk) offer an 11 step guide to check your bike. You can access the guide by clicking here.

Cycle-to-work schemes

Offering a cycle-to-work scheme can allow an employee to purchase a commuter bike and accessories through their employer by spreading the cost through salary sacrifice over 12 months. To get started, employees will need to pick the bike and any accessories they may need and in most cases, employers provide an application form for staff to apply for approval to the scheme. The employer is then invoiced by the supplier and then the employee pays back tax-free monies to the employer through salary sacrifice over 12 months.

Choosing to cycle to work is an excellent way to fit in a workout and avoid traffic jams. Participating in and promoting cycling to work is the perfect opportunity to introduce your workforce to cycling, which can in return become a regular mode of transport for some in the future. The government also supports the initiative to cycle to work and offers guidance for employers who want to introduce the cycle to work scheme, and you can access more information on this by clicking here.

 


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