National Cycle to Work Day (September 12th) has been labelled a success with thousands of people, UK-wide, pledging to cycle 256,932 miles to work – the equivalent of 6,821.17kg of CO2 or 12,071,397 calories.
More than 300 cycle retailers around the country offered free bike health checks, and multiple businesses organised free breakfasts to employees who cycled in to work on that day.
Multiple gold medal winning Paralympian Dame Sarah Storey was the figurehead for the project, behind whom Cyclescheme worked with partners British Cycling, Sustrans, Bicycle Association and Business in the Community.
Cyclescheme director Daniel Gillborn commented: “Thanks to the great support from our partners, independent bike shops and employers up and down the country, Cycle to Work Day has been a resounding success. We are very much looking forward to 2014 and achieving our goal of one million regular cycle commuters by 2021.”
On the eve of Cycle to Work Day, a panel discussion at the London Transport Museum discussed the state of cycling in the UK, women and cycling, and the attitudes of drivers to cyclists.
Chaired by Philip Darnton OBE, executive director of Bicycle Association of Great Britain, the discussion saw the likes of Dame Sarah Storey OBE discuss her extensive experience on the cycling world alongside Martin Key (campaigns manager for British Cycling), Annette Jezierska (senior business development officer for Sustrans) and Richard Grigsby (founding director of Cyclescheme).
The consensus on how to encourage more people to commute by bike and reach one million regular cycle commuters by 2021 were:
- Overall, advancing an environment which is conducive to a safe, convenient and enjoyable cycle commute.
- Internal cycling leaders, including senior members of staff, are needed to champion the cycle to work cause within businesses.
- Adequate facilities and infrastructure are needed in the work place, such as secure cycle storage and shower facilities.
Martin Key, British Cycling campaigns manager, said: “It was brilliant to be involved in the first ever National Cycle to Work Day and it is very rewarding to see from today’s figures that it has been a huge success.
“Cycling to work is a really efficient way of fitting some exercise into your day and, in addition to the membership benefits we can offer, we are working with the government to put cycling at the heart of transport policy. We want to see long-term, sustained planning and investment so that our towns and cities are designed with cycling in mind. The more people that cycle, the more pressure we are putting on the government and local authorities to initiate change.”
Sustrans’ spokesperson Jess Beaton said: “Cycle to Work Day was a fantastic success, making the first very positive steps towards giving more people to opportunity to have an active commute.
“Making it safer, easier and more enjoyable for people to get to work by bike would unlock huge economic and health benefits for the UK.
“We look forward to working with Cyclescheme to get a million people regularly riding their bike to work by 2021.”