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Cycling to work

If you commute less than three miles by car, cycling to work could save you money

Saddle up and pedal your way to prizes as part of the 'Love to Ride Momentum' National Cycle Challenge during September.

The Challenge is a fun, free cycling competition between workplaces to see which can get the highest percentage of employees to ride a bike for 10 minutes.  Organisations are split into 3 size categories and earn points for new riders joining, the numbers of rides logged, and the number of miles cycled.  There will be a local leader board for the areas (covering Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset) so organisations and departments can track their progress against others in their size category.

Brought to you by the Business Travel Network, the cycle challenge aims to encourage everyone working in Dorset, regardless of experience or fitness to discover the benefits of cycling, whether it's for fun, exercise, or to work. 

There are lots of local prizes for teams and individuals including a Brompton Bik a crate of  Iced coffee, bike security kits, two Fit Bits, a Playtpus Tokul XC 8 Hydration Pack, and much more. 

There's even a chance of winning some National prizes including, the latest e-bikes, a bike from the 2017 road bike range,   bike tool kits, the latest technical cycling gear, a cycling holiday for 2 and a bunch of amazing group and family UK adventure vouchers, plus much more besides.

It's really easy to participate:

Whether you're cycling to and from work, socially with friends or at the weekend for leisure, encourage others to join you, and remember to log your journey online to be in with a chance to win a prize. 

So whether you ride a bike every day or haven't ridden a bike in over a year, get signed up and get cycling!  And don't forget to encourage others to join in too!

Why cycle?

Cycling to work can be a great way of both avoiding lengthy rush hour queues and ever increasing parking charges. Cycling for up to 20 mins as part of a journey to work each day will also benefit your health and contribute towards NHS recommended physical activity levels.

Bicycles can be cheap to buy, cost almost nothing to run and can be insured against theft from as little as 33 pence a day. Wherever you go by bike, you are unlikely to have difficulty finding a parking space - and you won't be charged any money for the pleasure.

At a leisurely pace, a distance of 3 miles takes only twenty minutes. It's an aerobic exercise that is kind to your joints - research has found that regular cyclists have a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger, and unlike a gym membership, if you don't use your bicycle you will not be charged.

Cycling helps the environment because it is responsible for very little pollution, noise or danger. When you leave your car at home in favour of a bicycle you are helping to make your community a nicer place to live.

How can I learn to cycle?

Cycling is well-known as the skill that once learned, you never forget. Having said that, if it has been years since you last took to the roads it would be sensible to acclimatise yourself by starting on quieter roads. Take a ride accompanied by a cycling friend or work colleague or book a refresher lesson with a cycling instructor. Oh, and don't be embarrassed if you have reached adulthood without turning a pedal - you are not alone.

Is cycling safe?

If you are not used to it, cycling on busy roads can feel like a risky affair, but in common with just about every other worthwhile activity it's a skill you have to learn. Many people limit their cycling to leisurely jaunts in their local park, and there is nothing wrong with that, but the ability to ride on busier roads will allow you to use your bike for almost any type of journey you choose.

How much should I spend on a bicycle?

Brand new bicycles range in price from £80 to £5,000 and above. A bicycle costing £100 will work just fine if you intend to do little gentle cycling each weekend, but if you are commuting everyday or plan to increase your mileage it is advisable to spend £200-£300. Bikes over £300 are likely to be lighter and better equipped.

Some people criticise cyclists for choosing a mountain bike when there might be a more practical choice for their type of riding, but we say choose the bike you want. If it's for no other reason that the way it looks, there's nothing wrong with that. Just be open minded about what's available.

Can my employer help with cycle commuting?

There are many reasons why you might want to talk to your employer about encouraging cycling to work. They will need to be involved if you want to buy a bicycle through the Cycle to Work Scheme. You may want to mention that in turn they will benefit from a healthier work force. Cyclists at larger companies may want to set up a Bicycle User Group (BUG) within their workplace to make the case for improved facilities like secure cycle parking or showers.

No shower at work - how do cyclists manage?

The following tips are from cyclists who regularly cycle to a workplace without shower facilities.

  • baby wipes Many cyclists shower before they set off and when they arrive at work, wipe themselves down with disposable baby wipes

  • ride slower Cyclists in continental Europe tend to ride their bikes slower when they commute to work - it doesn't add much to the journey time and you will sweat less

  • keep a supply of shirts at work This doesn't solve the problem of getting clean, but bringing five clean and ironed shirts to work on a Monday avoids the crumpled look

Why not combine cycling and train travel? It makes cycling for part of your journey more achievable and extends the range of cycling routes available. You can usually take your bike on the train with you, or alternatively leave it in the cycle storage provided free of charge at the station.

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