Counting down to Winter Wheelers

People across West Yorkshire invited to take part in fun, friendly advent calendar cycle challenge

People across the region are being given some extra motivation to keep pedalling throughout December by taking part in Winter Wheelers – a fun, friendly advent calendar cycle challenge run through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at encouraging more people to cycle and walk.

The Combined Authority has joined forces with Winter Wheelers organiser Love to Ride for the UK-wide event aimed at helping people celebrate and enjoy winter cycling with an advent calendar for grown-ups.

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: “We know encouraging more of us to travel by bike or on foot not only boosts people’s health and saves individuals money, it also brings wider environmental and economic benefits, which is why we want to make cycling and walking a natural choice for short, everyday journeys.

“We want as many people as possible to get involved in Winter Wheelers – 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, our online cycle challenges help provide that extra bit of motivation, especially at this time of year.”

Love to Ride can be easily connected to many popular cycling apps such as Strava and Ride Report, which will then automatically record rides on Love to Ride and enter riders into daily prize draws for winter riding gear.

Register for Winter Wheelers.

From route information to free adult cycle training, online challenges and support for businesses, find out how CityConnect can help you cycle and walk more.

CityConnect’s top tips for winter cycling

Shorter days and a change in the weather can seem like an easy excuse to put your bike away until spring, but following just a few simple tips will make staying in the saddle this winter as easy as riding a bike.

Remember you don’t have to cycle the whole way. There’s always the option of riding part of your journey and then catching a train or bus.

Don’t let the weather get the better of you. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”, so the saying goes. Keeping dry and warm will make a huge difference so wear lots of thin layers, and pack some waterproofs, a decent pair of gloves and a warm hat or headband. Longer-term you might want to consider investing in some waterproof shoes (or overshoes), but in the meantime packing a spare pair of socks and shoes to change into will do the trick.

Be seen. It might sound like an obvious one but make sure you always have a working set of lights to hand. There are plenty of options to choose from including USB rechargeable lights. It’s also worth carrying a spare set of lights or batteries so you don’t get caught short. Many people choose to wear reflective clothing, belts and strips. If you cycle in everyday clothes try and choose a light colour to increase your visibility.

Plan your route. Cycling need not involve tackling busy roads but your route choice may vary between the seasons, from a more scenic route in the summer months to, for example, a well-lit, gritted route, such as the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway, during winter. Plan your route with 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. Cycling with others can provide some extra motivation during the winter months.

Make sure your bike’s in good health. Make sure everything is in working order and well lubricated. The salt contained in road grit can damage bikes so think about using mudguards and rinse your bike regularly to prevent any build-up. Consider switching to tyres with more tread. Letting some air out of larger tyres increases their grip too. 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?

Meet Andy King: Back on the bike after a 30 year hiatus.

[caption id="attachment_3301" align="alignleft" width="300"] Andy King, a cycling to work convert.[/caption]