Cycling to work is one healthy step towards sustainability.
And with the Tour de France just over 100 days away, Yorkshire’s employers are hoping to set a two-wheeled precedent by getting staff back in the saddle.
But that is easier said than done. At present, only one in 100 adults cycles to work in Leeds and Sheffield, while only one in 200 do so in Bradford.
Investment in cycling infrastructure through the likes of the £30m Leeds to Bradford supercycleway as well as the regional Tour de France Cycle Yorkshire legacy campaign is hoped to change this however.
Cycling is well known to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes and, of course, doesn’t have a hefty carbon footprint.
Dr Louise Ellis, head of sustainability at the University of Leeds which hires around 300 bikes to students per semester, said: “It helps your immune system and regulates your sleeping pattern and the other thing as far as commuting is concerned is that it is proven to increase your awareness. It also allows people that can’t do certain exercise to get fit because it’s so low impact.”
Employers are taking note as Le Tour’s July send off approaches. A cycle to work event saw staff from the likes of O2, HSBC, WSP and De Puy enjoy cycling simulators and free Bike Doctor checks through go:cycling at the White Rose Office Park, in Beeston, on Thursday. The office park, which hosts 5,500 staff, boasts a cycle club and monthly travel events.
Candy Shaw, development director for owners Munroe K, said: “The day was a huge success. We understand the requirements of tenants and the facilities we have to provide to help.”
The likes of Harrogate’s Bettys & Taylors, Nestle in York and Asda and Leeds City Council – the Leeds’ biggest employer with 33,000 staff – are embracing the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme which offers workers tax free bikes paid monthly from salaries. The council also encourages sustainable travel through work with Halfords and has cycle storage, pool bikes and loans.
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, lead member for leisure, said: “We want Leeds to be the most active big city in the UK so it’s important that the council lead by example on this agenda.”
Elsewhere, the University of Sheffield claims more than 2,000 of its staff and students commute by bicycle.
TWO-WHEELED WORKERS ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF DAILY COMMUTE
Cycling the daily commute is a lifestyle choice that has made a big difference to many.
Peter Hufton and Philomena Dwyer, who both work at Asda House, in Great Wilson Street, are among the legions of workers rolling to work in the city every morning.
Their employer, supermarket giant Asda, is on board with the Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme and has a partnership with Cyclescheme, which offers staff advice on cycling and uses trade contacts to get colleagues riding to work.
Asda Direct team member Peter, 22, cycles every day to work from Headingley and feels that riding the daily commute both saves him money and is a fun alternative to the car.
He said: “Twenty minutes of activity in the open air provides me with a welcome rush of energy and clearheadedness each morning.”
Bramley resident and Asda service analyst Philomena, 39, enjoys the fresh air and variety of pedal power.
She added: “It helps to keep me fit and active and is a nice antidote to being sat in an office behind a screen all day.”
TELL US YOUR STORY
As the excitement builds ahead of the Tour de France’s Yorkshire debut, we want you to tell us your cycling stories.
We would love to hear from you, whether it be you sending in pictures of how you’re embracing Let’s Get Cycling by setting out on your first ride in years, tweeting us your childhood cycling stories or emailing us about how important cycling is to you.
You can tweet your pictures and comments to our @LeedsNews Twitter handle using the hashtag #tdfyorks or post them on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/yep.newspaper as the countdown continues. The Yorkshire Evening Post now features a dedicated Tour de France tab, which will keep readers up to date with all the latest news and sports coverage.
Readers can comment on our stories online before stage one or two of the Grand Depart get underway on July 5 and 6.
Visit www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/tdf for details.
- For all your Tour de France stories and events, why not get in touch with our Tour de France news reporter Jonathan Brown. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @jonnybrownyep or call 0113 2388134.