These are just some of the 300 Sheffield companies who Love to Ride to work
The heatwave is over and, as autumn approaches, it’s becoming cycling weather again just in time for the city’s Cycle September promotion.
“Over 300 progressive South Yorkshire companies are seeing cycling as a way to get to work, and as a way to carry out your business during the working day,” said Rosie Frazer of Love to Ride, who run Cycle September on behalf of Sheffield City Council.
“In this day and age, why on Earth wouldn’t a business want to minimise costs and increase productivity?
“Why wouldn’t a director of a Sheffield company want to do their bit to reduce congestion and improve air quality?”
Melting cyclists have been seen at the top of Hagg Hill and Jenkin Road over the summer, but an increasing number of city companies are ready to promote bike commuting to less hardy cyclists too.
“Encouraging staff to be active not only increases general fitness and health, but crucially improves mental wellbeing in what can be a demanding work environment,” said Andrew Norton from Wessex Archaeology, where over five per cent of the firm’s staff ride to work.
“Arriving at work by bike as opposed to sitting in traffic for an hour puts me in a far better frame of mind to tackle the day’s challenges.”
Thanks to the encouragement of Dr Ollie Hart of Sloan Medical Centre more of the city’s GPs are taking to cycling with e-bikes so they can arrive at hilltop visits looking like doctors rather than exhausted track cyclists.
Dr Aarti Bansal says her e-bike has changed her life.
“It gives me the legs of an athlete so I can build up my fitness slowly,” she said.
Funded by a £7.5m Access Fund for Sustainable Travel grant from the government, Love to Ride has signed up over 310 companies of all sizes and nearly 3,800 cyclists since 2017.
Between them, those cyclists have ridden over three million miles and cut half a million pounds of CO2 from the area’s car-based carbon output.
One of Sheffield’s largest pro-cycling companies is HSBC, whose new base on Furnival Gate includes bespoke changing, showering and bike storage facilities, drying rooms for wet kit and dedicated lockers for clothes and toiletries.
All of this means that around one in 20 of the firm’s 2,000 staff cycle in to work every day.
Andy Wrigley is one of the company’s cycle champions.
“We have tried hard to create a cycling community here,” he said.
“T here have been so many benefits from this, from basic information sharing right through to lobbying the company for changes and new investment.
“The power of social networks like this is also a strong source of motivation and advice. P eople can share their routes, find help with problems or even find someone else to cycle in with.”
Smaller companies may not be able to install state-of-the- art cycle parking racks but, if directors recognise that more staff will choose to cycle if some basic needs are met, they can still make a difference, says Rob Cole of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens, where one in three staff cycle regularly.
The company have bought tools, puncture repair kits and a track pump, and arranged for staff bikes to be hung from the ceiling in a corner of the workshop.
Landscape Architects Urban Wilderness have installed hooks to store staff bikes safely in the office foyer and staff are also encouraged to use bikes for work visits, said Steve Frazer.
“A site visit which often requires short trips to multiple locations is best achieved by bike as it’s quicker, routes are often better connected and the journey offers a more comprehensive understanding of an area which is less achievable by car.”
Love to Ride’s Rosie Frazer said: “Now we have the city region Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey pushing for better facilities for people to get about using their legs rather than a machine powered by fossil fuels, there’s never been a better time for companies to encourage trips by active travel.
“We think those three million miles cycled on Love to Ride so far shows how serious Sheffielders are about twenty first century city transport.”
Visit www.lovetoride.net/southyorkshire for more information.