Ride to Work Week 2015

Let’s get more people riding to work!

If you’re interested in finding out more about getting more people in your area taking up riding to work, then please get in touch and we’ll send you some more info.

Following the success of the UK’s National Cycle Challenge, Love to Ride is now working with local authorities, businesses and Business Travel Networks across the UK on ‘Ride to Work Week’ – running from Monday 7 to Sunday 13 September 2015.

We’ll also be promoting Cycle to Work Day which is taking place the week before on Thursday 3 September and is run by our national partners – the good people at Cyclescheme.

This timeline has been strategically chosen to align with our behaviour change framework.

Changing behaviour – one step at a time

Encouraging more people to ride more often and for transportation is the aim of the game. But getting someone who doesn’t yet ride to start riding to work is a massive ask.  Most people face enough barriers to start riding recreationally, let alone riding to work.

That’s exactly why we started with the National Cycle Challenge in June, where we encouraged people to ride a bike for just 10 minutes or more.  On average 4 in 5 new riders continue riding after the Challenge.  They can then build their confidence and skills on a bike throughout June, July and August.

From late August, we’ll be suggesting to people who don’t normally ride to work to give it a go on Cycle to Work Day (Wednesday 3 September).  In achieving this, they can discover that it’s an alternative way to get to work. In doing so they then open the way to experiencing all the great benefits riding to work brings.

Then we’ll be challenging everyone (existing and new bike commuters alike) to set a goal of riding to work every day during Ride to Work Week – the following week.  People can win some great prizes – the more they ride to work that week, the more chances they have of winning.

GPS Data

We’re creating a special prize draw for people who record their ride to work via our smartphone app – that way we’ll be collecting thousands of people’s routes to work.  Data which we’ll be sharing with our official local authority partners to be used to help understand local commuter routes for future planning purposes. People only have to track a single commute by bike with our app and are free the rest of the time to use ‘Strava’ and ‘Moves’ app integration as their chosen trip logging tool. Whatever works best!

What does Ride to Work Week look like?

Ride to Work Week will be a fresh face on the existing Love to Ride online platform. With local leaderboards, new marketing materials, template emails and a marketing plan, press releases, email communications and a completely new set of prizes and incentives – this is a low-budget, high-impact, fun and engaging promotion not to miss. And as with the hugely successful National Cycle Challenge, as it’s the first time we have run it, we will throw everything at it to make it a rideaway success!

4 great reasons to become our official local partner:

  1. Bring an effective behaviour change programme to your area to get more people riding to work (and for an exceptionally reasonable budget)
  2. Get GPS data from people’s commutes to work – see which way people are riding from A to B in your area.
  3. Get survey data on who took part and the changes in your local participants’ behaviour.
  4. Communicate with new and existing riders in your area – you can share messages about your local cycling initiatives in the emails we send out as well as on your local Love to Ride website.

Budgets start as low as £1,800 and range to £6,440 with tailored ‘booster’ options where local time resources are limited. We’re busy signing local partners up in July, for mid-August promotion kick-off.

If you’re interested in finding out more about getting more people in your area taking up riding to work, then please get in touch and we’ll send you some more info.


What is the ’20 Second Rule’?

If you want to take up a new habit, look to make it easier to initiate the habit by 20 seconds.

If you want to give up a ‘bad’ habit, look to make it harder to initiate by 20 seconds.

This small shift can make a big difference to whether you do the habit/behavior.

See the story below from Harvard happiness expert Shawn Achor about how just moving his guitar to the living room increased how often he practiced.

Via The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work:

It wasn’t far out of the way, of course (my apartment isn’t that big), but just those 20 seconds of extra effort it took to walk to the closet and pull out the guitar had proved to be a major deterrent. I had tried to overcome this barrier with willpower, but after only four days, my reserves were completely dried up. If I couldn’t use self-control to ingrain the habit, at least not for an extended period, I now wondered: What if I could eliminate the amount of activation energy it took to get started?

Clearly, it was time for another experiment. I took the guitar out of the closet, bought a $2 guitar stand, and set it up in the middle of my living room. Nothing had changed except that now instead of being 20 seconds away, the guitar was in immediate reach. Three weeks later, I looked up at a habit grid with 21 proud check marks.

What I had done here, essentially, was put the desired behavior on the path of least resistance, so it actually took less energy and effort to pick up and practice the guitar than to avoid it. I like to refer to this as the 20-Second Rule, because lowering the barrier to change by just 20 seconds was all it took to help me form a new life habit. In truth, it often takes more than 20 seconds to make a difference—and sometimes it can take much less—but the strategy itself is universally applicable: Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt, and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.


What does this mean for encouraging riding?

This ’20 Second Rule’ has interesting applications for cycling.  For example, take someone who has a bike, but they keep it at the back of the garage/shed, their basement, or on their back balcony – generally place that mean extra effort to get their bike out so they can ride it.

This is classic ’20 Second Rule’ territory.

How can we apply the rule? Encourage people who own a bike, but don’t use it much, to put their bike in an place that makes it very easy to get to.  Even for a week or two.

We often to get people to take ‘baby steps’ – small steps/elements of the overall behavior that people perceive as easy to do (especially when compared to the bigger behavior people are working towards, e.g. riding to work).  Thus getting people to put their bike in their main hallway by the front door for a week will be an easier sell than getting them to make that place a permanent home for their bike from the start (although it may well end up being the permanent home for their bike once they realise how great it is to have their bike that much easier to ride).

So we are going to be integrating this messaging to some people who do have a bike, but don’t use it much, and we’ll measure to see if applying this ’20 Second Rule’ has an impact on their riding behavior.

Your thoughts and ideas for other applications of this rule to encouraging cycling are always welcome, so please feel free to comment below or get in touch.

Stories from Australia

We’re working with 5 cities in Australia this year – Sydney, Adelaide, Mackay, Cairns and now Gold Coast.

Our city partner in Cairns just emailed over some great stories from participants of the Bike Challenge we ran there:

“I haven’t been on a bike for years, and my 6 year old daughter isn’t confident on a bike. I realised that if I wasn’t a role model for her then how would she get more confident? I asked for a bike for mother’s day, got into the Love to Ride challenge and now we ride short distances together”  –  Sharon

“I really enjoyed the ‘try a bike day’ at the Council. I hadn’t been on a bike in years, and it made me think it would be good to cycle to work. The southern cycleway goes almost all the way off road, but I have nowhere to keep a bike as I live in a unit”  –  Tanvir (Two weeks later, Tanvir had bought a bike and is now commuting regularly)

“The Love to Ride challenge motivated me to work out how to ride to work, find a good route, and work out the riding/work clothes issue and making sure I had it sorted. I have been meaning to ride to work for a year, but just hadn’t got round to working it out”  –  James

“It was very satisfying organising the come and try day at the Council. I was amazed how many people were willing to sign up for the challenge when we had bikes there to use. Workmate pressure really worked to give it a go”  –  Sarah

UK National Cycle Challenge 2015

The very first UK National Cycle Challenge finished last Sunday and we’ve spent the week finalising the figures and confirming the results. A massive thank you to everyone who contributed to these stellar statistics:

19,054 people from 1,731 organisations, including 3,700 new riders, logged 150,000 trips and cycled a staggering 1.7 million miles – that’s way further than a trip to the moon and back…  

So a huge thank you to everyone who took part and:

Hi five


Many of our members hadn’t been on a bike for years or came up with innovative ways of encouraging their friends and colleagues to take part. Some of them have kindly shared their cycling stories, so please read and share far and wide!

“Our company was motivated to get a really good participation. A lot of staff hadn’t ridden a bike for decades and were keen to give it a go, but one member of staff couldn’t ride a bike at all and had never learnt.

Her job is sewing cycle bags. She has sewn cycle bags for 25 years but never actually ridden a bike. I challenged her to learn during the National Cycle Challenge. We started on level ground with a small bike with the pedals off. We started off hobby horse style then introduced a slope, braking and turning and by the third week and after only 4 sessions of 20 minutes she was cycling around the park near our work place. She was absolutely thrilled and now she is looking at buying a bike! Through her efforts we managed to complete a 100% participation.”

David, Lancashire

“I’ve hired 8 bikes for staff to use during the challenge duration and we had a staff BBQ and 16 mile bike ride last week. I’ve done everything to get 100% participation, including blocking people’s internet access!”

Chris, Milton Keynes – the 2nd Top Encourager and Super Champion (70 out of 70 staff riding, including 50 new riders!)

“2 years ago having not ridden a bike in 16 years I persuaded some of my colleagues to join me in a try-a-bike session organised by yourselves. I enjoyed it so much that I have encouraged my 3 children to ride and all 3 now own their own bikes… you have achieved another step towards your target of getting more people to ride a bike in Lancashire and I’m sure there are many more people / success stories like me.”

Carolyn, Lancashire

“We are loving the camaraderie with this and hoping we win some prizes too. Thank you for running such a fab initiative.”

Kelly, Tees Valley

“Brilliant fun and I can get to work quicker on a bike than in a car.”

Amanda, Tees Valley

“It was fabulous to come along and get our bikes looked at together as a family. It meant that I could get back on my bike after several years of it being in the shed to join my keen 6 year old daughter.”

Suzanna, Poole

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in – we LOVE to hear from the Love to Ride community.

Happy riding!

More participant comments…

Below are some more examples of the kind of emails we’ve been getting from participants of UK’s Love to Ride Challenge…


“I haven’t cycled in a few years, as I do not own a bike, but last month when my colleague Debbie told me about this challenge, I spoke to a family member who kindly let me borrow theirs and I have been regularly cycling along the Thames towpath since.

During the last 4 weeks, taking part in the Cycle Challenge has not only encouraged me to get outdoors more, but it has also boosted our team spirit within the office.

Thanks to Debbie, our team has really pulled together in a bid to become healthier and more active. She has arranged fun activities for new riders (such as lunch time cycling trips to the park) and encouraged regular cyclists to leave their car at home and take the bike to work.

We have all taken part in one way or another – but it’s thanks to Debbie that so many of us will continue to cycle after the challenge has finished.”

Katy C. – London


“Thanks to the cycle challenge I got back on my bike to cycle to work and to meetings in other buildings.  This gave me the confidence to enter my first open water triathlon on the evening of Wednesday 24th June knowing that I had cycled a number of miles during my working day to feel confident that I could complete the cycle part of triathlon comfortably. Thank you.”

Claire W. – Darlington


“I took my first bike ride in over a year on Wednesday evening on my daughter’s borrowed bike, complete with basket.  I get on a bike once a year on holiday with the family so the rides are usually short and flat.  I live on a hill which is fabulous for freewheeling down but very intimidating for going up!  The question was do I start by going up or going down?  I decided to go up which considerably shortened the ride – I am not very proud to say I managed 2 minutes before coming to a stop.  I persevered and eventually got to the top after much stop starting. My reward was shooting back home down the hill – total time 25 mins. I will be out this weekend trying again!”

Lorraine S. – Herefordshire


“With a bit of hesitation and much trepidation (over 60’s should get dispensation), I got onto a bike after a very long gap – crazy or what!  The challenge was hotting up with superb company participation after much prodding from Stephanie and Carol, so I just had to do it!  Despite initial butterflies, I actually managed to stay upright until the very end when I braked too hard, came to a dead halt  and toppled over like a falling cedar felled in the forest…..  No harm done though, and the thought that this incident will be forever recorded on our company CCTV, got me back up smartly.

Here is my “rider” report:-

A spectacular spectacle enough to move one to tears
Was me straddling Steph’s bike – first time in 18 years
Chris set me off on “Rocky” tune ‘Eye of the Tiger’
Steph’s riding hat perched on this fledgling rider
Safety man Chris pounding the pavement to my left
Mobile in hand and heart thumping in his chest
The wind in my hair and glasses steaming up fast
My Chemoxy jacket flapping and pedalling at last!
Despite a slight wobble, consider it a doddle
Not counting the braking fracas finale – it was a blast!

All those out there who have registered and not yet done a ride – If I can do it, anyone can!!”

Christa S.  – Tees Valley


“My son-in-law took on the Challenge and decided to cycle the 6 miles to work all week… he is faster to work, finds the experience better than any bus/train, feels better all day and is less tired.”

Gerard L. – Glasgow


“Up until yesterday, I hadn’t ridden a bike for ages and it is something I am not very confidant at…. I actually had lots of fun riding my new bike yesterday and this is something that I probably would have never done again. Not only has the Cycle2work scheme given me an incentive to purchase a bike, but this love to ride challenge has also given me the motivation needed to get out there and enjoy life!  I hope to continue riding my bike and going on some great adventures.”

Jenny J. – Devon