Employees in York asked to ditch cars to help combat congestion
Cycling 50% Challenge to promote cycling to work

Workers at three of York’s biggest employers are being urged to leave their cars at home and cycle to work. Cycling City York has thrown down the gauntlet to employees at Nestlé, York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of York, with all three bodies agreeing to take part in the “Cycling 50% Challenge”.

The Cycle 50% Challenge is a support system from Get Cycling, involving a three or four-week challenge during which participants undertake to cycle to work, college or school at least 50 per cent of the available days.

Organisers will provide employees with everything they need to commute safely to and from work, including a quality commuter-style bike, locks, lights, helmets and reflective gear, as well as support and advice. In return, those who sign up must aim to cycle to and from work at least half the time during the four-week challenge period. About 30 bikes have been offered at each workplace.

And participants have the option of buying their bikes and equipment at a considerable discount on what they would pay in the shops at the end of the four-week period.

Organisers have worked with Get Cycling, and hope participants will enjoy the benefits and continue to commute by cycle after completing the challenge. The Cycle 50% Challenge has proved very successful in the past, typically achieving cycling continuation rates of around 75%.

Graham Titchener, Programme manager for Cycling City York, said in The Press: “By working with Get Cycling and major employers we’re aiming to increase the number of people who opt to cycle to and from work, rather than drive."

One of the aims of the Cycling City York project is to encourage and enable more people to cycle to their place of work and help reduce congestion in the city. Their target is to increase the number of cycle trips to work overall by 10 per cent by 2010.

Richard McGurn, event delivery manager for Get Cycling, said: “What we’re hoping to achieve by the end of the challenge is a change in people’s behaviour, so that cycling becomes their preferred means of travelling to and from work.