West Yorkshire organisations cycling efforts rewarded by CityConnect

Organisations across West Yorkshire have been taking part in two CityConnect cycling initiatives that aim to get more people in the region travelling by bike, and their efforts were recognised in an awards ceremony hosted at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Awards Ceremony

The Love to Ride National Cycle Challenge took place throughout September to get more people riding bikes. The friendly competition between workplaces, with points awarded for riding and encouraging colleagues, also saw organisations competing on regional leader boards. In total, 874 people, including 111 new riders, took part from 90 organisations across West Yorkshire. Altogether, 75 individual prize winners received holidays, bikes, meals out, massages, vouchers and cinema tickets, and whole organisations were presented with plaques and certificates as reward for cycling and encouraging others to take part. Winners included University of Leeds, BJSS Limited and Suma, whose employees earned the most points in their respective size categories.

Dom Jacques, Challenge Manager at Love to Ride in West Yorkshire, praised the response of participants in the region:

“It’s really encouraging to see so many people and organisations taking part and enjoying cycling, many for the first time in years!”

Love to Ride has a full programme of activity planned for 2017, including Ride to Work Week in March, Bike Week in June, another National Cycle Challenge in September and then a Winter promotion in December. It’s free to join in and participants can set fitness goals all year round as well as win prizes during the main events. To register and find out more, visit www.lovetoride.net/cityconnect

Plaques were also presented to organisations taking part in CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Business scheme. The scheme acknowledges organisations’ efforts in creating workplaces that not only tolerate people on bikes, they actively welcome them through a mix of great facilities and pro-cycling policies. To date, thirteen organisations have applied and five of those organisations have been awarded a Bike Friendly Business accreditation. With their excellent bike parking facility and green travel policy that aims to increase zero-carbon travel, British Gas were given a bronze award. The University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University both received silver awards. Jason Colbeck, Leeds Beckett’s transport coordinator said:

“Leeds Beckett benefits from a well-established cycling culture and the University is committed to enabling cycling as a form of transport. We’re incredibly lucky to have benefited from the UTravelActive partnership which ran from 2009-2015. This saw the implementation of many cycling initiatives, notably our student bike hire and maintenance workshops. Now that the project has finished the University remains dedicated to active travel. We have an in-house Cycling Support Officer, run regular bike maintenance sessions and excellent secure bike parking facilities. We also have a growing fleet of pool bikes for staff to travel for business – perfect for trips between our two campuses. The Bike Friendly Business scheme has allowed us to showcase and gain recognition for the hard work we do at the University, but also learn from other organisations. It’s an invaluable tool for identifying best practice and what we can do to make our cycling offer even better and ultimately get more people at the University on bikes!”

All organisations that applied received a report detailing what they do well, and also what they might do to achieve accreditation on their next application.