Counting down to Cycle September

People across West Yorkshire invited to switch to two wheels and take part in fun, friendly cycling challenge

People across the region are being invited to switch to two wheels this Cycle September – a cycling challenge run through West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk.

The Combined Authority has joined forces with Cycle September organisers Love to Ride for the UK-wide event aimed at getting more people to discover the benefits of cycling by taking part in a fun and friendly cycle challenge.

Registering on the Love to Ride website allows participants to log miles, set goals and earn badges for cycling to work for a week, riding 100 miles or encouraging a friend or colleague to take part, with friendly competitions taking place between individuals and workplaces.

Councillor Kim Groves, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Encouraging more of us to travel by bike or on foot brings many benefits, both at an individual level by boosting people’s health in addition to often saving time and money, as well as the wider environmental and economic benefits to us all.

“We want as many people as possible to get involved in Cycle September - whether you cycle every day or whether you haven't been on a bike in years, if you’re cycling for transport or for fun, whatever time and wherever you’re going.

“Last year, nearly 1,500 people across West Yorkshire cycled almost 206,000 miles, and we’re hoping to make this year even bigger and better.”

Love to Ride can be easily connected to many popular cycling apps such as Strava and Ride Report, which will then automatically record the miles cycled on Love to Ride and enter riders into prize draws.

Register for Cycle September.

Meet Annika McDonald, who is cycling to work thanks to the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway.

 

For those people looking to boost their confidence and skills, CityConnect offers free adult cycle training for all abilities and maintenance courses at venues across West Yorkshire. Find out more information about the courses available and book your place.

CityConnect’s top tips for your first cycle to work

Remember you don’t have to cycle the whole way. If you live too far away to cycle all the way to work you could always look into options for cycling part of the way and then catching a train or bus.

Plan your route. Cycling to work need not involve tackling busy roads. From the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway to the Leeds Liverpool Canal and the Castleford to Wakefield Greenway, there are some great traffic free options. Take a look at our handy online map.

Recruit a bike buddy. If someone you know already cycles ask them which routes they use or even better ask them to ride with you as a bike buddy.

Pack a waterproof. The sun has been shining all summer but it’s always worth having a wet weather plan just in case. Don’t worry about being drenched in sweat – the great thing about being on a bike is you don’t always have to keep pedalling, just take it at your own pace.

Make sure your bike’s in good health. Check your brakes are ok, make sure there’s air in your tyres, that none of the fixtures and fittings are loose, and the chain is clean and oiled. Sustrans 11-step M-Check is a good place to start or if in doubt take your bike for a once over at your local cycle shop.

Last but not least, enjoy it! Cycling to work can save you time and money, and it has been proven to boost health and happiness. What’s not to love?

CityConnect’s top reasons to switch to two wheels this Cycle September

It saves you money. From the cost of running a car and paying for parking to buying a bus or train ticket – however you currently travel one thing is certain: going by bike is cheaper even when you take into account the initial outlay in sourcing a roadworthy bike. What’s more you won’t need to fork out for expensive gym classes. Research by Sustrans Scotland found that if people made journeys of under five miles by bike instead of car, the average person could save nearly £2,000 a year – that’s the equivalent of a 9% pay rise.

Cycling can be quicker than travelling by car. Drivers in UK cities spend on average more than a day (31 hours) each year stuck in rush hour traffic, according to data published by Inrix earlier this year. The Department for Transport’s latest Journey Time Statistics show people travelling by car are only 1.7mph quicker than those travelling by bike on urban streets. Cycling can often be the quickest option, especially for shorter journeys, and it means you can avoid all the frustration of being stuck in traffic.

Switching to cycling for short, local journeys is an easy way to make sure you get enough exercise. According to government guidelines, we need at least 150 minutes exercise a week but many of us struggle to build this level of physical activity into our busy lives – 39% of us don’t, according to the British Heart Foundation. Cycling short, local journeys is often an easy solution. What’s more an average commute to work can burn about 400 calories (that’s enough to justify a slice of cake). Research has also shown people who travel by bike regularly can have fitness levels of someone up to 10 years younger.

It could help you live longer. You’ll have heard health pundits talk about cycling as a “miracle pill” - and for good reason. There is a well-established body of research highlighting the physical benefits of cycling. Last year, a major study by the University of Glasgow published in the British Medical Journal found people who commuted by bike nearly halved their risk of developing cancer and heart disease.

Cycling’s good for your mental health too. Ask anyone who rides a bike and they’ll tell you it makes them feel good, not just in body but in mind too. Physical activity has been shown to increase positive mood and self-esteem, as well as reducing anxiety and stress, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Whether it’s clearing your mind after a busy day at work or heading out just for the sake of it; making time for yourself or catching up with loved ones; the chances are if you head out on your bike you’ll return home feeling better.

Still not convinced? Cycling is the perfect opportunity to inject more play time into your life. Think back to how much fun you used to have on your bike as a child - the wind in your hair, all the freedom and the adventure, those long summer days out exploring. From exploring new places to noticing the change in the seasons and wildlife spotting, two wheels are better than four when it comes to connecting with the world around you. Who knows, you might like it so much you’ll get your family and friends involved too.