9 Tips for Running ‘Try-a-bike’ Events

Workplace ‘Try-a-bike’ type events are a great way to give people – who don’t normally cycle – a positive cycling experience.  This is one of the best ways to show people first hand how enjoyable and easy cycling can be.

These events can come in a number of shapes and sizes, from just 2-3 bikes that people can ride around the office car park, to a whole fleet of different bikes that people can try out, with incentives, a Dr Bike mechanic, an information stand and… the list goes on.

A lot of people are already thinking about taking up cycling, and this type of fun event is a great way to get them to take the first step and rediscover the joy and benefits of riding a bike.

Try-a-Bike event, Reading 2013

Location Location Location!

We’ve found that if people have to walk even a couple of hundred metres from the office door or building entrance to where you are holding the try a bike session, this can be enough of a barrier to effect levels of participation.

Locate the bikes and a stand as close to the office doors as possible.  This way you can also engage people as they’re going into and out of the building.

Even if you have to have a small stand and just a few bikes close to the entry/exit of the building and then a main stand and the rest of the bike a short walk away, this is a preferable option.

Keep it Safe

We recommend carrying out a risk assessment of the event area, which includes two key outputs:

1) A recommended route / designated area for inexperienced cyclists to follow / ride in – that is both safe and also easy for the staff at the event to communicate to participants.

2) Any danger points (junctions, driveways, dodgy surface areas) are identified and pointed out to participants before they take off.

It’s also worth having someone at the event who is qualified at getting people who haven’t cycled before (or for many years) back onto a bike safely.

Make it fun

Woody Bear in the saddle in Suffolk

Pitch the event as a bit of fun.  Make sure your promotional emails, intranet articles and posters etc, all have a fun and friendly tone!

Easy Peasy

Pitch the event as something that is easy and achievable for non-cyclists to do.  For our Workplace Cycle Challenges, we say ‘It’s just 10 minutes on a bike’.

10 minutes is short enough to not be a significant barrier and long enough for people to get over any initial fear they have when they first start riding and build a little confidence so they enjoy the experience. This way, they’ll step off the bike at the end of it with a bike  smile – mission accomplished!

We are the Champions 

Find people within the organisations and departments you’re targeting who can help you to spread the word and engage their work mates in cycling and the ‘try-a-bike’ session.

Our Workplace Cycle Challenge naturally attracts the existing cyclists who register on our Challenge website, which means that we can simply email them before and on the day of the event to get them into champion mode.

Bring a friend

Encourage people to bring a workmate along with them to your event.  Include this idea in your promotional emails that are sent out about the event.

Going bananas in Lancashire!

A spoonful of sugar…

It can help to have few little ‘sweeteners’ to encourage people to come out and ride a bike at your event. Coffee, cakes, smoothies, giveaways, slap wraps, cinema tickets, prize draws etc.

We typically give away a free cinema ticket voucher to any non-cyclist who comes out and rides a bike at one of our events.

This isn’t necessarily the main motivator or attractor, but when people are weighing up the decision to come out to the try-a-bike event, an extra sweetener that a colleague can mention can be the justification people need to tip the decision in favour of participating.

Its all in the Timing

We typically run these events from mid morning through lunch and into the early afternoon with the lunch break being the most busy period.

Purple Rain, Purple Rain

Make sure you carry out the appropriate rites and rituals to please Jupiter – the Roman God of weather – before your ‘Try-a-bike’ event.  A lot of work can go into preparing for one of these events, so it’s good to be prepared for the chance of a little rain.  Depending on the size of your event, they can either be easy or hard to postphone, if Jupiter doesn’t come to the party that is.

Any questions?

Please feel free to get in touch with us: support@challengeforchange.com

We’re always happy to help you get more people cycling.


Sam takes the helm

Thomas (left) passes the saddle to Sam

Sam Robinson has now taken over as General Manager of Challenge for Change. Thomas Stokell set-up Challenge for Change 6 years ago and has been Managing Director since.

However, after 11 years promoting cycling, he has decided to start focusing his time and energy on some new initiatives and ideas.

“I’m very proud of the results that our team and our project partners have achieved over the last 6 years” says Thomas.

“It’s been a great ride establishing and developing Challenge for Change.  We’ve now encouraged more than 28,000 non-cyclists to jump back on a bike and give cycling a go and replaced more than 10,000,000 car journeys with bike journeys.”

“I’d like to thank all the local authority partners we’ve worked with and all our staff past and present – they have done some excellent work.”

Sam has been working with Challenge for Change since 2011 as Partnerships Manager. Everyone at Challenge for Change is excited to see Sam take over.

“Its just such a positive time for cycling and especially for those who work hard to promote the excellent all-round benefits it brings” explains Sam. “2013 is our best and busiest year yet and we are seeing record numbers of both new and repeat Cycle Challenges. I am delighted to have been asked to step into Thomas’s shoes and I am looking forward to creating the next wave of programmes in the UK and overseas, with some fun pilot projects on the horizon.”

Thomas will remain actively involved in Challenge for Change and will continue to be a director on the Board.  As for what next… “I’d like to work more with kids – the future custodians of this wonderful planet.  There are also some things happening in the world that I’d like to contribute towards changing.”  

Results Results Results

By working in partnership with 46 local authorities and 5,100 businesses we’ve achieved some excellent results.

Infographics are a great way to communicate a new perspective, using numbers, images and little text.  So we wanted to demonstrate some of the outcomes that our projects achieve using an infographic.

10 Million car trips replaced by bike is a personal favourite!



Love to Ride Smart Phone App Launched

Now anyone, anywhere can download and use our new smartphone app for free.

The app allows people to:

  • Record their rides via GPS – on an iPhone or Android phone (80% of all smartphones sold in the UK)
  • Record their rides manually
  • Check out their personal stats and progress
  • Register or login
  • View announcements posted on their local Love to Ride site


Linking in with Local Authorities

Our Local Authority partners logos are displayed in the app of people who live in their areas.  This means that Local Authorities can now have their own locally branded smart phone cycling app. 

This feature is enabled in the areas where the Local Authority has approached us to become our Official Love to Ride Partner in their area.

Version 2.0

A second version of the app has already been planned.  Any suggestions for further improvements would be, as always, most welcome. Contact us at at: support@challengeforchange.com

Already registered on Love to Ride?  Download the app here

New to Love to Ride?  Register here