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NZ firm wins award for personalised cycle plans for employees

A third of staff now cycle in thanks to a new culture and innovative tools

A company that has made huge efforts to encourage its staff to cycle to work has been recognised with an award.

New Zealand based Abley Transportation Consultants have won a Bike to the Future Award for a tool that shows staff safe cycling routes from their home to work, and providing staff bikes to get them to meetings.

Abley​ Transportation Consultants' tool, TravelWhiz​, won the Bikes in Business award at the 2017 Asia Pacific Cycle Congress, held in Christchurch on Thursday.

The scheme was launched just three months ago following an office move from Sydenham to Christchurch, a location they had left following the 2011 earthquake.

Project lead and company associate Ann-Marie Head said more and more staff were taking up cycling.

She told Stuff: ”A few days before we moved from Sydenham to Victoria St we gave everyone a sheet of paper which showed their home address and how to get to the office using different modes, the time it would take, the health benefits of each different mode and the cost.

"It's about giving people the option and they can then make a choice, rather than us telling them the best choice, because we don't actually know everyone's circumstances," she said.

"So we're not saying everyone must cycle, but we do have a very strong cycling culture that we've had since we began.

"With cycling, there tends to be a bit of a snowball effect. When people start working here they don't necessarily cycle, but because it's the done thing and it's just a normal way of getting to work, lots of people do pick it up.”

As a result, a third of staff are now cycling to work, an achievement the company puts down to creating a cycling culture.

They have also installed a secure cycle park, and showers and towels are provided.

"We also get the towels laundered, which may seem like a little thing, but it's just one less thing to think about when you do cycle," Head said.

"Rather than having to go to a number of different websites and online services to find out about something, it's all tailored for where you work and where you live, and the journey plans will be interactive rather than just on a piece of paper."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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