Today, 6 August, is Cycle to Work Day. Founded by Cyclescheme, Cycle to Work Day is the UK’s biggest one-day commuting event. It provides a great opportunity for people to try cycling and get a taste of the associated health, wealth and well-being benefits.
“Although many of our employees, like many people across the UK, are still working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we are still getting involved by using our usual commute time to get out on our bikes,” comments HR Director Zoe Brunswick. “We have a great cycling network within the business and many of our employees take part in the Cycle to Work Scheme, which enables them to purchase bikes and equipment at a reduced price. We also have a growing Strava group for employees to measure their progress and, for the more competitive among us, to see how they measure up against others in the business! We are especially lucky that many of our offices are in great locations that support cycling to work. For example, in Bristol there are excellent dedicated cycle routes that many employees use to take them directly to the office, saving on commuting time and getting some exercise at the same time. The office has a cycling coordinator and an electric bike, which employees can use to get to meetings, that was 50% subsidised by Bristol City Council.”
The cyclists within the business range from newbies who have just bought their first bikes right through to Senior Engineering Geologist Eric Downey, who is an ex-Great Britain triathlete!
“I started cycling back in 2000,” says Eric. “I’d just changed job roles to a more sedentary position, and it was getting too easy to be lazy and I was getting unfit. I started running and then a friend asked me if I had a bike. I hadn’t, but I invested in a cheap model to have a go at it. I used to swim, so that was the next step, and it soon transformed into triathlons. In 2001, I did my first Half Ironman, in 2005 my first full Ironman and by 2007 I had made it into the Great Britain triathlon team for my age group. I represented Great Britain in Portugal in 2007 and Prague in 2008. Nowadays I am the chairman of my local triathlon club, which has 140 members.
“I love cycling and often commute to the RSK Bristol office where I am based. I live four miles from the office, and it takes me an hour in the car and only 17 minutes on a bike. Along with the added health benefits it’s a no-brainer. I am competitive but the social aspect of cycling is also really important to me, I enjoy cycling with my friends, whether that’s in my club or with colleagues. I have Strava and also Zwift, which is a virtual cycling app. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when I was shielding with my wife, it was a great way to exercise without having to leave the house. I set up my bike on a dumb trainer and then the app allows me to train or compete in virtual surroundings that range from New York to Yorkshire. Many of my friends and colleagues also have the app and you can compete virtually via an avatar that syncs up with your bike.
“For anyone considering cycling I would definitely recommend it. If it’s something you’re considering, chat to other cyclist colleagues or friends for advice and consider the type of cycling and bike that would suit you best. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a bike, and you can often get a decent second-hand one much cheaper. If you go for a second-hand option, take a friend with cycling experience with you so that they can check over the bike, and make sure the size is appropriate for you. An ill-fitted bike can be dangerous as you can easily overbalance and fall off. Finally, make sure you have the correct safety equipment. It’s worth spending a little bit more on a decent helmet and then I would advise purchasing gloves and glasses.
“Set yourself realistic goals that are personal to you. If you’re just starting out this could be as simple as just getting on the bike. The brilliance of cycling is the freedom it gives you, so don’t tie yourself down with unachievable goals, just get out there and enjoy it!”
UPDATED – 03/09/2020
Cycle to Work Day: The photos roll in!
It was great to see RSK employees taking part in our alternative Cycle to Work Day on 6 August.
With many of us still working remotely, we invited RSK employees to get involved by going for a bike ride, a walk or completing some form of physical activity during what would have been their usual commuting hours on 6 August.
RSK employees put the wheels in motion for Cycle to Work Day
Throughout August, RSK’s health and well-being focus continues to be on physical well-being and the benefits that being physically active can have across all areas of well-being, so many employees will be keeping up the exercise and incorporating it into their routine.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. Whatever your age, there is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you to lead a healthier and happier life, not to mention the numerous mental health benefits.