Why cities and regions are signing-up to Cycle September

Cycle September – The Global Bike Challenge – is coming up again in (you guessed it) September. The annual event has grown in size and scale and we’re particularly excited about this year’s event as it continues to expand it’s reach and impact.

Cycle September is, at its core, a cycling encouragement program designed to get more people riding, more often, and for transportation. It is a fun, friendly ‘challenge’, that’s easy for anyone to get involved in – from occasional riders to people who haven’t been on a bike in years.

At Love to Ride, we’ve been running workplace bike challenges for 12 years now, so we know a thing or two about how to make them successful and hoe to achieve great results for our clients and partners.

So why are cities, and local and regional government agencies working with us on Cycle September? 

It’s because Cycle September is…

A proven approach to getting more people riding in your area – behaviour change theory and techniques are at the core of all Love to Ride programs. We provide measurable behaviour change results to our clients.

Easy to run – we know how busy you are, so over the last 12 years, we’ve worked hard to develop systems that make it quicker and easier to roll-out the program at the local level. We can also do all the work involved in delivering the program locally, or, depending on the level of capacity you have, we can share certain roles and tasks where it makes the most sense.

Localized program – we localize the Cycle September program so that people and businesses in your city or region experience a local platform (with options for local branding, Love to Ride site, leaderboards, marketing materials, etc). At the same time, people can navigate to see and experience the national and global leaderboards and the wider reach and global flavour of the Cycle September intervention.

Generate and give Access to Data – Love to Ride programs generate a wide range of data: from survey results about local barriers; to ‘new rider’ experiences in your area; to real and perceived barriers to bike commuting. Using our integrated mobile apps, we also generate trip data (distances, days, times, trip purpose etc), along with data about your local companies’ end-of-trip facilities, databases of regular, occasional and new riders, non-commuting riders, and key contacts and ‘champions’ within local participating businesses.

Business Engagement – Cycle September is an ideal tool to provide to your local businesses. It’s easy for them to run, it’s fun and it delivers a host of benefits – from healthier, happier employees, to lower car parking costs, an easy way to achieve and measure emission reductions, promote team cohesion, etc. We engage your business network and support them to engage their staff, and thus we’re able to efficiently get thousands of local people engaged in your local Cycle September program.

It’s Exciting – a little friendly competition, both within your office, locally among businesses and friends, and within your industry locally, nationally, and globally – all helps to get people engaged and enjoying taking part in the bike challenge program.

Value for Money – due to the economies of scales we achieve and the delivery systems we’ve developed that make it quick and easy to roll out in another city/region, the programs we deliver are very good value for money. If you compare taking part in Cycle September versus developing and implementing a bespoke behavior change program locally, there are huge savings to be made.

Easy to run – did we mention that already?

In summary, cities and regions around the world are bringing Cycle September to their area because it’s a proven approach to getting more people riding, it’s easy to run, localized to their area, gives them great data, engages their business community and existing rider networks, is great value for money, and again, it’s easy for them to run 🙂

Interested in exploring options for bringing Cycle September to your area?  Then please do get in touch and we’ll send you some more information – hello@lovetoride.net

For those that spotted it, please note that this is a global article and we have chosen to use US English on this occasion!

Bike Week 2019 – everyday cycling for everyone

This June we’re delighted to be teaming up with our friends at Cycling UK, to celebrate everyday cycling for everyone.

Whether you’re from Moray or Monmouthshire, Brighton or Birmingham, you’re invited to experience the freedom of two wheels and help others to discover the joys and benefits of cycling.

Cycling is fun, practically free, easy and it’s so good for you too: people who ride to work are far less likely to suffer from cancer or heart disease and if more people get around by bike our air will be cleaner, saving lives and making our towns and cities greener and more liveable.

Cycling UK provide free insurance for all events listed on the Bike Week website, so take a look to find out what’s on in your area or start planning your own event (we’ve got some handy tips to help you run a bike breakfast here).

The theme for 2019 is #7DaysofCycling – we’ll be inviting all Love to Ride members to try and ride seven times during Bike Week (8-16 June) and we’ll be sharing different cycling experiences using the hashtag and our new Stories feature to celebrate:

  1. Enjoying the social side of cycling
  2. Cycling to school and engaging children in cycling
  3. The mental health benefits of cycling
  4. Businesses boosting their cycle-friendliness
  5. Favourite three-miles – best short routes by bike
  6. Getting fit and healthy through cycling
  7. Travelling from A-B by bike 

There are no rules on what counts as one of your seven – from riding to work to cycling to the shops; from giving your bike a spring clean to joining a cycle club – all you need to do is share a photo, video or story about your experience on Love to Ride or via social media on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, using the #7DaysofCycling hashtag. 

As usual the Love to Ride team have grabbed a great bundle of prizes – to match each daily theme – such as a UK cycling holiday for two on day 1, a couple of bikes, a fab Blubel navigation prize and much more besides.

The legendary Wozzy from our West Yorkshire project out in the fresh air

And with #cleanairday during June too, we’re giving away an e-bike to one lucky winner who logs a ride for transport on 20 June.

And as if all that wasn’t quite enough, our partners Cyclescheme are bringing even more to the party with prize giveaways on their community platform.

So to sum up, this really is our best Bike Week ever – so come on over and and join in the fun! lovetoride.net

2019 Australian Bike Summit

Christina Sorbello is Love to Ride’s Regional Manager for Asia Pacific.  As a graduate of the School of Social Entrepreneurs, she is passionate about social impact and how effecting change in local communities can mean transformative shifts for our cities.

Christina took a trip to Melbourne for the 2019 Australian Bike Summit and sums up her day here.

Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

Stepping off the plane in Melbourne last week was a bit of a rude shock for this sunny Queenslander.  As a Sydney sider for almost a decade, you’d think I’d be accustomed to the cooler climes, but alas, it seems I’ve been happily ensconced in a mild Queensland Autumn forgetting just how brutal those icy southern winds can be.  Nonetheless, Melbourne has plenty to distract oneself from the biting chill, including, of course, the good coffee and fine food. But this trip it wasn’t the double ristrettos or cannolis I had come for (although those were good too!), this time, I was delighted to be attending my first Australian Bicycle Summit.

Hosted by We Ride Australia and held at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium – a national treasure for footy fanatics – AKA, the whole of Victoria – the event was well attended by industry folk, city representatives and academics alike.  It’s always great to be in a room filled with passionate people, so clearly committed to getting more people on bikes in Australia – all bushy tailed and bright eyed!  The focus of this year’s event was smart tech, active transport, and the ‘Towards Zero’ message – a theme reiterated through much of the summit and a welcome one to all.

Towards Zero

For any interstate or antipodean readers who may not be aware of this campaign, Towards Zero is a combined partnership between the Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads, Victoria Police, the Department of Justice and Regulation and the Department of Health and Human Services. Working alongside the community, they share a belief that zero deaths and serious injuries on Vic Roads can be a reality.  In line with this, we heard from the CEO of the Transport Accident Commission, Joe Calafiore, who reiterated their commitment to safer roads for Victorians and Australians. 

As Melbourne continues to urbanise and the demand on the public infrastructure sharply intensifies, Melbournites eagerly seek alternative modes of travel.  The TAC is committed to ensuring that those of us choosing to embark on active travel, equally and increasingly find the roads conducive and inclusive:  An important message not only for those of us on bikes but for everyone using our roads.  And, as we heard, we are now sharing our roads more than ever….


It’s true we share our roads with cars and pedestrians, but cities globally are recognising the importance of micromobility: bikes; scooters; e-bikes; as the future of transportation too.  As delegates, we were treated to a broad-ranging and thought-provoking speech by Tim Papandreou who has lead projects on automated and emerging transports for Waymo and Google X.  By 2050, 75% of the world is predicted to urbanise and cities are already struggling to move people and things around on a road network that cannot expand (although we can go up, yet flying cars are not in our short term future!). 

A strategy increasingly adopted by smart cities who recognise this is the reuse and repurpose of the existing road to maximise the space.  After all, there are a number more bikes that can fit into the same space as a single occupancy car but encouraging more cyclists and other types of micromobility, means offering them the same prime infrastructure offered to those driving vehicles and the same direct routes.

More transportation options than ever before!

We also heard from Tim on how San Francisco had managed to grow their bicycle mode share to 6%, in part, by restructuring the layout of many arterial roads enticing more modes to use them.  This also contributed to the rise and proliferation of new transport options never seen before, primarily enabled by smartphone technology and driven by the on-demand and sharing economy.

Infographic: San Francisco Mobility Trends Report 2018

Ride to Work Scheme

It was also interesting to learn about the new Ride to Work Scheme being launched by Swisse. This is a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme that gives employees big savings on new bikes and enables them to pay in monthly installments. Based largely on the very successful and popular Cycle to Work Scheme in the UK that has been running since 1999, we look forward to working with employers and providers across Australia to promote this scheme as a great way to make cycling really affordable from the outset, potentially removing the purchase of a bike as a barrier to riding. Love to Ride is working with Cyclescheme in the UK and we hope to emulate this work in Australia too.

A little gloomy, great day though!

Coming away from the summit I had much to think about and what a better way to ruminate and the warm the cockles of my (now frozen) heart but to wend my way around the Yarra on my bike.  I recognised the summit and the speakers had given me a sense that the greater vision is shared by so many and if we can continue on this path, I feel confident for the future of an ever metropolitan, micro-mobile, Melbourne and our Australian cities beyond.

Growing the National Bike Challenge in the USA

Why 37,000 people are riding in support of a Bike Friendly America

May is ‘National Bike Month’ in the US. Since 1956, Bike Month celebrates the joys and benefits of riding to encourage even more people to ride. Bike Month also marks the first month of the ‘National Bike Challenge’ which runs from May to September.

Every year, tens of thousands of people across the country take part in the National Bike Challenge to support a Bike Friendly America and see which state, community, business, team, and rider can ride the most. So far over 34,000 people have ridden for the Challenge this year and we’re looking forward to the final count when it’s all finished in September!

The League of American Bicyclists has been promoting Bike Month and the National Bike Challenge for years but in 2018, we partnered with the League to offer the Challenge on our dedicated bike challenge platform. Last year in the Challenge 43,000 people rode nearly 21 million miles – that’s 841 times around the world!

The National Bike Challenge is hugely popular with communities across the country who have traditions for taking part with and competing with each other to see who can ride most locally and to see which community can ride the most in the country.

It’s not just about the (friendly) competition though! By taking part and having fun in the National Bike Challenge, participants are also inspiring others find that old dusty bike hidden in the garage and (re)connect with the joys of cycling. When people begin riding more and driving less, it makes our communities healthier, happier, less polluted, and we can more easily connect with each other and our surroundings.

Community fun

In any cycling challenge, it’s important to reflect local needs and cater to local audiences.

At Love to Ride we’ve been offering custom-made local sites for communities and bike advocacy groups since the beginning. The flexibility with the Love to Ride platform allow communities to have their own custom site which can be flavoured with custom URLs, local leaderboards and custom route info.

2019 is our second National Bike Challenge and we’re super excited to see how far people, workplaces and communities will manage to ride over the summer months as we approach the finale in September – as part of the Global Bike Challenge (see below). We will be supporting everyone on their riding journey, no matter if they haven’t been on a bike for years or if they ride 100 miles a week.

Love to Ride really does have something for everyone.

September is ‘Cycle September – the Global Bike Challenge’

The grand finale in the National Bike Challenge takes place in September, where companies will be encouraged to sign up for the Global Bike Challenge and compete against other businesses across the globe to see which company can encourage most people to ride in the world!

Our most popular program ever

Waaaay back in the beginning, in the early noughties, the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) was one of the very first partners to get behind the Workplace Cycle Challenge concept that gave birth to a social business now known as Love to Ride.

After 15 years of development, and expansion to 12 countries, Love to Ride returned to New Zealand again in 2017 and partnered with the NZTA to launch the ‘Aotearoa Bike Challenge’. 

Having since been delivered three consecutive years, this country-wide event, has now successfully grown into the most popular and successful program of its kind in the world. In 2019 this culminated in a whopping 0.5% of the entire NZ population participating.

This blog explores some of the key features and findings of our most successful cycling encouragement and behaviour change program yet.

The flexibility within the Love to Ride platform allows for regions within a country to localise a site for their area and provide a local flavour to their participants.  New Zealand regions did a particularly great job of this and this type of collaboration is reflected in the below levels of participation.

2% of the working age population of the Greater Christchurch Region (population 396,000) participated in this year’s Love to Ride Aotearoa program.

Mobilising the Choir

Our programs give existing riders the tools and resources they need to encourage the ‘interested but concerned’ would be riders of our communities to give cycling a go.  Across all of our programs globally we see an approximate 1:1 ratio – that is for every regular rider who participates, they encourage a new or occasional rider to participate too.

Women love to ride too – of course we do!

It may come as a surprise to some, in what is largely considered as a male-dominated recreation, but the below gender split graph is typical of what we are seeing in our Love to Ride programs around the world. As a team, we’ve worked hard to buck the gender imbalance trends and it’s refreshing and exciting to see this work paying off in so many more women riding.

It’s also interesting to see that it’s fairly consistent across the regions:

It’s also interesting to note that the major urban centres like Auckland and Wellington, have higher proportions of male riders taking part (~60% male), while the more provincial areas like Northland and Southland have the opposite (~40% male and ~60% female).

Current modes of travel

It may come as no surprise at all that driving alone was the most frequent method of commuting to work at 37%. This was closely followed by travelling by bike at 33%.

By splitting the data into regions, we can also see the greatest opportunity for potential behaviour change with 50% or more participants commuting to work by driving alone in Northland, Southland and Bay of Plenty:

New Zealanders strive to live sustainably

New Zealanders are well known for their commitment to sustainable living and this was reflected in the data when we asked them to tell us what motivated them to ride. 

Living sustainably was the 3rd most important motivator at 33%, followed by 56% for enjoying the outdoors and 88% for improved fitness.

In fact, sustainability was more frequently cited over improved health for most of the regions except Tasman, Nelson & Marlborough and Waikato.

We can also compare the data by region to provide some insight into our communities.  Saving money was more commonly cited in Canterbury as a key motivation (16% of respondents) compared to Northland (7%).

Barriers, real and perceived

Globally, we consistently see weather as a barrier people tell us they face when riding a bike. By understanding what barriers people face, we are able to give them the tools to overcome them and move them along a personal journey of change.

Whether it’s cycle confidence training for those who feel uneasy on the roads, discounts of great wet weather gear for riding in the rain, or a short video on how to fix a flat if the bike is in disrepair, Love to Ride works to break barriers down and, in doing so, open up the many benefits that riding brings.

However, when we deep dive into rider type, we unveil more about what each group perceives as their main barriers.  This information provides real insight into the kinds of interventions we can help facilitate to overcome these hurdles and ultimately change behaviour for the better.

For most of the regions, ‘not feeling confident’ was the main barrier for new riders. This was closely followed or surpassed by ‘not knowing a safe route’.

Auckland and Northland occasional riders cited not knowing a safe route as their main barrier to riding more often – all other regions attributed the weather as their main barrier. This was particularly notable in Wellington where 25% of respondents cited the weather as a barrier to riding or ridng more often.

End of trip facilities – the way to your employee’s heart?

Bad weather is more prominently a key barrier for regular riders largely due to it being one of a few barriers that are outside of our control. It is also the case that many of the other barriers have been whittled down to almost being non-existent, something that comes with time and experience.

Up next

The team at Love to Ride feel an incredible sense of pride having created a program that engaged so many people and through them achieved these results. For me, as a social marketer interested in social impact, it’s exactly these kinds of outcomes that get me excited for the potential for positive change in our cities and our communities globally.

Photo credit: www.andythompsonphoptgraphynz.co.nz

In 2020, we hope to turn the needle even more and take the challenge to new heights.  Mind-blowing!

Can we help you get more people in your community or business riding bikes? Email hello@lovetoride.net or take a peek at partners.lovetoride.net