There is something about riding a bike that energises and inspires. The wind is blowing through your ‘helmet hair’ as the scenery passes you by, and fellow cyclists give you a smile or friendly nod. It’s a great feeling!
But is it all too good to be true? Whatever the reason may be—perhaps it’s the adverse weather or that pesky rush hour—not enough people are choosing the option of two wheels to make their commute to work.
We caught up with Katie Bell, Manager of the Sydney Rides Business Challenge, to hear about how the City of Sydney is making cycling an accessible and exciting way to commute, exercise and move.
What was the inspiration behind the Sydney Rides Business Challenge?
The Love to Ride initiative began in 2002, when Thomas Stokell started the first ‘Workplace Cycle Challenge’ in New Zealand. He wanted to use an online community platform to change people’s attitudes and behaviour towards cycling.
“If we can normalise cycling, there will be a change in culture and attitude between cyclists, commuters and pedestrians.”
Cycling has many benefits for your health, is great for Mother Earth and is one answer to solving transport congestion issues. Today there are 50 cities contributing to the Love to Ride online platform, where riders can ‘log their ride’ and see the kilometres they are clocking up.
How is the Sydney Rides Business Challenge getting people moving?
1) A challenge with achievable goals
The best way to motivate people is to give incentives and support. The Business Challenge pits workplaces and organisations against each other to see if they can encourage new riders to cycle for only 10 minutes during the challenge period. 10 minutes is an easily achievable target over three weeks.
2) Try-a-bike sessions
Over the course of the challenge, the City of Sydney and Sydney Cycleways have organised free ‘Try-a-bike sessions’ to get busy workers out of their office and into the saddle. Colleagues get together to try-a-bike around Hyde Park and the separated cycleway and return for a free lunch and juice. Free food and sunshine, Inspired staff found it hard to say no to that one…
3) Education and free tune-ups
Sydney Cycleways has been providing courses to teach people how to cycle on the roads to give them the confidence to navigate traffic, share paths with pedestrians, indicate correctly and know what to do if their bike needs maintenance.
So how can you get back into cycling?
Use separated cycle-ways: When you are easing back into cycling, a busy road is not the best place to start. Find a park with a path that suits your confidence level.
Time right: Choose a time that isn’t too busy for traffic, joggers and pedestrians. Perhaps go for an early morning ride on the weekend?
Hire a bike: It is true; you can’t get into cycling if you don’t have a bike. But instead of rushing out to buy one, try hiring one for the day and exploring your local area.