Published July 21, 2015 at 10:03
1,389 people from across Lancashire have once again put the region on the cycling map over the past three weeks, collectively cycling 109,832 miles in the Love to Ride Lancashire Cycle Challenge (www.lovetoride.net/lancashire) – the equivalent of cycling over 4 times around the world including 179 people who took to a bike for the first time in over a year to help their workplace ride to victory.
The three week competition between workplaces aimed to introduce as many new people to cycling as possible through existing riders sharing their love of cycling. New riders were encouraged to get on their bikes to experience first-hand the benefits of travel by bike in a friendly and supportive team challenge. 1,389 people from 98 organisations competed in workplace teams to clock up the greatest percentage of staff taking part. In total more than 8,637 journeys were recorded totalling over 100,000 miles cycled.
The Lancashire Cycle Challenge successfully encouraged 1,389 people to take to their bikes and discover the joys and benefits of cycling while doing their bit to help with easing congestion and pollution within the region. Participants logged their cycling online and a variety of prizes were on offer for individuals and teams, from spa/activity days, cycle accessories, £50 high street vouchers to 2 x £300-£500 bikes and meals for 2. 250 cinema tickets were awarded to those riding for the first time in a year or more and to those who encouraged them to get back on a bike for the Challenge.
Anna, from The Reach Centre, Lancaster cycled for the first time since 1995. She said “I’m taking part in the challenge as I haven’t ridden a bike for 20 years and my husband bought me one with a basket and tried to tempt me. I love a challenge and have found the past week really exhilarating, and I’m now looking forward to my weekly rides.”
Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said:
“The Challenge has been a fantastic way to encourage everybody, no matter what their fitness level, to get out on their bikes.
“The Council encouraged over 60 staff take part in the challenge who cycled over 4,000 miles between them, many of them using their bike to commute to and from work. This is a key priority to help reduce congestion on our borough’s roads and I applaud everyone who took part.
“But it doesn’t end there, cycling in our Borough and throughout East Lancashire has been given a real boost recently with the announcement that we are set to start work to create the Weavers Wheel strategic cycle network. This will help not only make cycling fun and accessible to all, but provide us with a fantastic tourist attraction that will truly put us on the map.
“We are also very proud to have a dedicated Cycle Centre at Witton Country Park where people of all ages and abilities can borrow bikes free of charge to cycle around the park. The Cycle Centre is also home to the Witton Park Community Cycle Club which has recently been affiliated to British Cycling and is attracting people from all over the county, providing a real boost for our area.”
The winning teams are:
- 500+ Size Category – Lancaster City Council (LCC), 20% of staff cycled (LCC also came 3rd in the National Cycle Challenge)
- 200 – 499 Size Category – Capita, 13%
- 50 – 199 Size Category – Garstang Community Academy, 40% of staff cycled
- 20 – 49 Size Category – Carradice of Nelson (CoN), 100% (CoN also won their category nationally)
- 7 – 19 Size Category – Lancashire Sport Partnership Ltd, 100%
- 3 – 6 Size Category – Bowland Bioenergy Ltd, 100%
Members of the winning teams will be awarded their winners’ certificate and team prizes in recognition of their achievements at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday 16th July at The Oaks Hotel, Burnley.
There are lots of both team and individual winners – all results and prizes winners are published at www.lovetoride.net/lancashire/event_results.
Even though the Challenge is over, the website remains open and available for people to continue to log their rides, encourage others and set targets, to maintain the good cycling ‘habits’ the Challenge has initiated. There are also other local cycle websites promoting routes and local rides – www.cyclelancashire.com / www.bwdconnect.org.uk/
Cycling on a National Scale
The Lancashire Cycle Challenge has been the local arm of the Love to Ride National Cycle Challenge, a mass participation cycling campaign taking place across the UK simultaneously to the local scheme.
Over 19,000 people took part, cycling 1.7 million miles and 151,000 rides were logged across the UK. Prizes including trips to Europe and New Zealand and cycle parking solutions for workplaces have been awarded to the top teams and prize draws nationally. The Challenge was run by Love to Ride in partnership with Bike Week, Cyclescheme and the CTC, the national cycling charity.
Getting more people cycling makes sense for British businesses: increased cycle commuting could save the British economy £13.7 billion annually through reduced sickness absence, according to research by Sustrans.