Residents and workplaces across Wokingham borough are urged to make this year’s annual Love to Ride Cycle September challenge the most successful yet.
Wokingham Borough Council, whose My Journey active travel team is again supporting the scheme, is calling on at least 1,000 businesses, charities or community groups to saddle up and help the borough to rack up at least 150,000 miles throughout the month.
Anyone can sign up their company and start encouraging colleagues to take part, and the scheme is open to everybody over the age of 13 who lives, works or studies in the borough. A new bike of the winner’s choice, worth up to £1,000, is up for grabs in a prize draw for anyone who registers before September 1 – and, in total, there are 700 prizes on offer.
Everyone who logs at least one ride of at least 10 minutes a week, whether for work or leisure, will enter a draw to win £4,000 towards a dream holiday and other prizes include coffee gift cards, T-shirts and cycling goodies and World Bicycle Relief Bikes to be awarded to developing communities.
The challenge is fun, friendly and welcoming to all riders, regardless of experience or ability, and offers a little gentle rivalry as people compete to top the local leaderboard while winning “badges” for their achievements and sharing their photos and stories.
Let’s build on last year’s record
Scores of individuals and workplaces have already signed up for 2022 - and there's plenty of time for Wokingham borough to set records for another year running. Just over 400 riders took part last year, beating 2020's figure of 294, while 35 workplaces joined in compared with 27 before.
Together they cycled 42,558 miles across 3,186 trips, both an increase on 2020, while the amount of carbon dioxide potentially saved through lower car usage shot up from 2,942lbs to more than 5,000lbs.
The percentage of female riders also increased from 35 to 42 per cent and organisers would love to close the gender gap even more as, to date, only about a third of those signed up this year are female.
To register, visit https://lovetoride.net/wokingham – and anyone signing up in the next few days can get warmed up by taking part in Cycle to Work Day on 4 August, the UK’s biggest cycle commuting event, which is now in its 10th year and is supported by Love to Ride.
A fun, supportive way to build healthier lifestyles
The council is proud to support Cycle September as part of its commitment to enabling active and sustainable travel across the borough.
It is seeking feedback until 19 August on two long-term plans to make walking, wheeling and cycling safer and easier, the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and a Government-funded active travel route from Woodley to Palmer Park in Reading, both of which can be viewed and commented upon here.
Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: "There are so many benefits to cycling for individuals, communities and the world as a whole, so we're doing all we can both to encourage it and to make it easier to take part.
"It improves people's fitness and emotional wellbeing as well as offering an affordable alternative to driving for shorter journeys - and for those who are less experienced, Cycle September is a perfect introduction that will help build a habit for life.”
The council’s leader Cllr Clive Jones added: "You'll get the benefit of sharing your achievements with others and, if you like, some gentle competition, but in a supportive environment where people spur each other on to help the borough tally up the miles as one big team.
"We're crossing our fingers to break more records and look forward to supporting this for many years to come, with hopefully ever-increasing attendance as we work to improve the borough's cycling facilities."
Other measures to support active, sustainable travel include the council’s growing network of traffic-free greenways linking key destinations in the borough, and its support for bus services as they battle to overcome the impact of covid-19 and rising running costs.
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