More people are getting back on their bikes with the help of TTC Group's Cycle Experience as thousands prepare to cycle to their workplace as part of Bike to Work day on Thursday (Sept 4th).
Bike trainers Cycle Experience work with local councils nationwide to provide job seekers with the loan of a bike and accessories so they can travel greater distances to give them a bigger chance of clinching a job.
As well as helping new jobseekers, hundreds of people already in work have taken up cycling as a result of a Try Cycling scheme to encourage more people back onto bikes as a healthier and cheaper way to travel.
Mum Rebecca Ardern (29), of Todwick, Rotherham, got a bike within two days of her enquiry at her local job centre and used it to ride to a new job as a teaching assistant.
“I saw the bike advert in the job centre when I was signing on looking for work and used it to ride to my new job. It’s a brilliant scheme and got me back into cycling, something I haven’t done since I was a teenager.”
Rebecca and her husband now cycle regularly with their toddler son in a baby seat for family cycling weekends together which help them spend time together and keep fit. They have also attended cycling festivals as part of their new found hobby.
Yorkshire police officer Teresa Bernstein (40), who borrowed an electric bike for a month after a ten year cycling absence, now regularly cycles 12 miles to work at Rotherham Police Station and back.
She said: “There are lots of hills on the way to work so the electric bike helped me to get used to it for a month and now I cycle daily on a pedal bike. I feel fitter, I’ve lost weight and saved money. It’s a wonderful scheme. More of my colleagues are also taking it up.”
Craig Burns (46), a storeman from Maltby, has lost more than two stone and saved £560 in ten months of cycling 16 miles a day to work and back on an electric bike.
“I’ve saved money, lost weight and done my bit for the environment,” said Craig, who has cycled 1,600 miles for free since taking up the Try Cycling offer.
Paul Gibson, of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, where they have introduced both the Job Assist scheme and Try Cycling with the help of Cycle Experience, said they were novel ideas which were helping people to get to work, find work and stay fit.
Using electric bikes meant it was “almost as convenient” as owning a car, said Paul.
“Job Assist is completely free and open to Rotherham residents or people who commute into the Borough. Full support is given and we offer one to one cycle training for riders who want to brush up their riding skills,” he added.
A total of 500 had taken up cycling due to the Try Cycling to work scheme, since it was introduced in Rotherham two years ago.
“Many have gone on to buy their own bike and are continuing to commute to work by bicycle,” said Nick Moon, of Cycle Experience, who also instruct thousands of schoolchildren in Bikeability training.
Councils get financial backing to run the schemes through Local Sustainable Transport Funding from the Department for Transport.
All riders receive a full accessory pack including a puncture repair kit, breakdown cover, tools, lock, safety kit, panniers and bags. Breakdown cover from the Environmental Transport Association offers riders a service similar to car breakdown.
There are a range of bikes and equipment to choose from including ladies and gents commuter bikes and electric bikes for those with longer distances to travel.
Cycle to Work Day, championed by multi gold medal winning Paralympic cyclist Dame Sarah Store aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work on September 4th.
760,000 people in the UK already regularly cycle to work with the campaign aiming to boost the numbers with the aim of 1m regularly commuting to work by bike by 2021.
Visit www.cycleexperience.com and www.cycletoworkday.org for more information.