Love to ride. Now there’s a sentiment we all share. It’s also the name of a free online platform that aims to get more people cycling, by showing them how easy and enjoyable it can be.
Users fill out a short survey, revealing the key barriers they need to overcome, as well as the benefits they hope to gain from taking up cycling. This in turn allows the platform to personalise its approach; whether it be setting a series of goals, making a public pledge, or even suggesting ideas on how to save money to buy a bike in the first place. Local cycling activities can then be promoted, along with routes and news, to help this momentum keep going. The accompanying website is also packed with information to help demystify the world of cycling. A series of tips covers the likes of riding on busy roads, cycling at night, commuting to work, and even choosing the right bike.
Love to Ride claim the key to sustained behaviour change is based around a combination of factors. The website is designed to engage and encourage, as well as allow participants to keep up to date with their progress, and those of their friends. The accompanying app allows users to record their rides and see updates on how they’re doing. Just as importantly, Love to Ride engages with local authorities and businesses and helps promote local cycling initiatives.
In addition, its teaming up with local authorities and businesses has helped Love to Ride run 112 associated Workplace Challenges since 2007, involving over 112,000 people in 50 towns and cities across the UK. A Workplace Cycle Challenge encourages non-cyclists to take up cycling, and non-commuting cyclists to take up commuting to work. It’s a three week competition between organisations to see which company can get the most employees to ride a bike. The organisations that get the highest percentage of their employees to ride a bike win a team prize – any ride over ten minutes counts.
“Giving people a fun ten-minute cycling experience can quickly break down negative perceptions about cycling, and replace them with new, positive attitudes. When people experience what cycling is really like (opposed to what they assume it to be like) they often find themselves saying: ‘Hey, this isn’t so bad after all. Cycling isn’t as scary or as hard as I thought. It’s actually quite easy to ride a bike, and it’s fun!’ This is an ideal first step to encouraging more people to start cycling.”
The Love to Ride formula certainly seems to be working. Workplace Challenges typically involve between 600-3,000 people. On average, 30% of participation is from non-cyclists, of which 82% of those continue riding after the challenge, with 54% take up riding on a weekly basis.
The winning formula (and love) is already being spread to the US, Europe and Australasia. The goal? To get a million more people cycling initially, and double that over the next decade.
All images copyright Love to Ride.