Awards for Cycle Challenge winners
Award winners from this year’s Devon Cycle Challenge have celebrated their achievements at a special presentation at County Hall.
It is the third year that Devon County Council has run the Cycle Challenge as part of Cycle September, and in that time more than 900 new riders have been encouraged to take up cycling by signing up to the scheme. In total, over 2.3 million miles have been clocked up in the past three years.
The Cycle Challenge is a friendly competition among workplaces and individuals in an effort to get as many people cycling in Devon as possible. Almost 130 organisations across the county took part in this year’s Challenge.
Devon County Council presented awards to organisations that achieved first place in their size category - among them were the University of Exeter, the Met Office and Oxygen House. The University of Exeter and Met Office also both finished second nationally in their categories (organisations with over 2,000 staff and 500-1,999 staff respectively).
Joel Smith, The University of Exeter’s Sustainability officer, said: “We’re continually developing initiatives to encourage and enable our staff and students to cycle to our campuses in line with the University’s Sustainable Travel Plan. The Cycle Challenge is a great partnership project that achieves just that and the University is delighted with this year’s success. Colleagues that are cycling and walking to the University are our best advocates of the benefits of sustainable travel, and our success in the Cycle Challenge is down to them. We were pleased to hear of further funding secured by Devon County Council to progress the E4 cycle route across the city and other initiatives, which will greatly benefit those travelling to our campuses and will unlock potential for more people to get on bikes.”
Tom Anning, Facilities Manager at Oxygen House, said: “Our company ethos is to be as sustainable as possible in all we do. We believe that sustainable travel, in particular, helps to reduce congestion on the roads and supports a healthy lifestyle. We actively encourage our staff to cycle, walk or run to work, and it’s nice recognition for the team to receive this award.”
Other winners included Landmark Information, Ocean Forecasting, Exeter Mathematics School, Sparx content QA.
As well as enjoying the many benefits of cycling, 23 people also won prizes from local sponsors Saddles and Paddles, Ride on Cycling, Co-Bikes, Adventurecise, Trail Unknown and Revolution Sports Physio and Bon Courage Apparel.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for cycling, said: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who took part in the Challenge and we’re delighted that we received another good response. Cycle September is about inspiring all types of cycling - whether it’s commuting, for leisure or sport, or just making a short journey to the shops.
“Encouraging more than 900 people to take up cycling in the past three years is a fantastic result and shows what can be achieved in getting more people cycling more often, and the difference that can be made to their own health and Devon’s environment.”
The County Council’s Travel Devon advisors visited various workplaces throughout September to support “Workplace Champions” in promoting the challenge, engaging with staff and signposting them to free support, such as free cycle confidence sessions. The County Council offers free two-hour cycle confidence sessions which can be tailored entirely to an individual’s needs, whether they are new to cycling or want to tackle their commute. They can arrange a session at their convenience using this online booking form.
The Love to Ride Devon website remains open throughout the year for individuals and organisations to register. Both individuals and workplaces can help grow cycling further in Devon.
Businesses can visit the Travel Devon Toolkit for resources and guidance to get you started on supporting cycling to and from work, and also for work. Workplaces in Barnstaple, Exeter and Newton Abbot can apply for grant funding for promoting cycling in the workplace and can email email@example.com to book a meeting with Travel Devon advisors to explore options.