Setting up a cycling group at work

How about setting up a cycling group at work?
Setting up a cycling group a work
Setting up a cycling group a work
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Setting up a cycling group at work

If you want to encourage more people to cycle to work, or use their bikes to travel to meetings, setting up a cycling group at work, otherwise known as a Bicycle User Group (BUG) is a step in the right direction. This guide tells you how to go about it, and what the cycling group can achieve once it gets going.

Cycling groups at work are a fantastic way to support cycle commuters and staff looking to start to cycle to work. They are usually championed by a regular cycle commuter and includes a group of cycling colleagues. 

Some cycling groups at work have much in common with local cycle campaign groups and many not only look after the interests of existing cyclists, but work hard to encourage other employees to take up cycling too.

Workplaces that support cycling benefit in many ways, from supporting their staff's health and well-being to reducing car parking costs. Find out more about how your organisation can become a cycle-friendly employer.

Build a buddy scheme at work

One of the best ways you can encourage others to cycle to work is by developing a buddy scheme. This is where a person from work who regularly cycles, supports another employee to give it a try. They can do this by cycling in together or helping a new rider to map their route(s).
It’s a great way to build confidence and support others to cycle to work, especially those who are nervous when cycling on roads.  To get this set up all you need to do is map out who lives closely and is willing to sign up to the scheme. 

Find someone who can help with bike repair and maintenance 

Hopefully there will be some people in your group who are skilled in bike maintenance. It is worth making sure you know who these are early on. They can become useful assets teaching others how to fix their bikes and may even be able to help you fix yours. 

Keep cycling social

Cycling is a good way to socialise with colleagues at work and promote health and wellbeing. Here are a few ideas of what your cycling group could organise:

•    Regular lunch time rides 
•    After work rides
•    Workplace challenges – such as joining part in Bike Week’s #7daysofcycling or #CycletoWorkDay
•    A staff leader board 

Tools you need to set up a cycling group at work

•    Champion(s) committed to supporting their colleagues to cycle to work
•    An open, approachable and friendly group
•    Someone to take care of organising the weekly meetings
•    Support from both non-managerial and managerial staff – and ‘top bods’
•    Lots of reliable and accessible sources of information and advice – Cycling UK can help you with this so please get in touch and let us know what you need
•    Good publicity and promotion around your cycling group and cycling to work
•    Momentum and passion to keep it active and fun

Tools to setting up a cycling group at work
Benefits of setting up a cycling group at work

How to set up a cycling group at work (a BUG)

If you’re looking to campaign for better facilities at work, here are some tips on how to set up a BUG group;

  • Share and discuss your ideas with other cyclists at your workplace first. If you don't know who they are, attach leaflets to their bicycles, or put up a poster near any cycle parking - or just send out an email to everyone, if possible
  • Arrange a meeting for anyone who's interested and let your employer know beforehand
  • At the meeting, take everyone’s contact details. Ask them how involved they want to be and if they have any special skills the BUG could use (design, writing newsletters, diplomacy etc). Discuss your cycling wish-list and work out the priorities
  • Start with some simple, clear-cut objectives, e.g. 20p mileage rate for employees cycling on business (this is the permitted Inland Revenue rate for tax relief); covered cycling parking; drying room
  • Research the above, estimate costs, and gather literature/leaflets to persuade your employer that promoting cycling has something in it for them as well, e.g. healthier staff; need for fewer costly car parking places; less congestion on the roads. Cycling UK's guide to Cycle-friendly Employers helps explain the benefits
  • Work out who in your management structure should be able to help put your proposals into practice. Meet them, perhaps offering a presentation. Be constructive and well-informed and, above all, do your best to come out with managerial endorsement plus timetabled action points and, ideally, a budget. If your cycling group at work is big, let them know – it demonstrates the popularity of your proposal

Increasing cycling in your workplace; a few tasks groups can do

Admin and publicity

  • Set up and maintain a database or spreadsheet of cycle commuters; and register any skills than might be useful to the cycling group
  • Design a logo
  • Produce posters and a regular newsletter; publicise success
  • If your company has an intranet use it to promote the group
  • Set up a central notice board / leaflet stand / suggestion box
Meet your cycling group at work regularly
Plan to meet up with your cycling group at work regularly

Keep in regular communication with the cycling community at work and beyond

  • Arrange regular meetings, both with the relevant managers and cycling group members
  • Contact whoever is responsible for cycling at your local council. They may be able to help with any road engineering issues you have; or tell you about any work they're doing on business ‘travel plans’. Invite them to address a cycling group meeting
  • Find out if there is a local Cycling UK campaigner and/or cycle campaign group and involve the

Resources and research

  • Collect a library/leaflets on:
    • cycle training;
    • the local area (procure an appropriate local map – if none, draw one up!);
    • train timetables and information on cycle carriage;
    • tax incentives for both employees and employer alike;
    • cycle maintenance;
    • load carrying, cycle lighting and other equipment.
  • Find out more about your workforce via a cycling survey. What's stopping other people from cycling? How can the cycling group help?
  • Carry out a survey of your premises and surrounds - are there any access or infrastructure problems for cyclists? Are any of them curable, and if so, how?

Encouraging other people to cycle

  • Ask your employer to take part in a workplace challenge like Bike Week's #7daysofcycling
  • Set up ‘bike buddy’ schemes, i.e. getting an experienced rider to cycle to work with a novice for a while. This helps people who are new to cycle-commuting find routes and build up their confidence
  • Contribute to the development of a staff and/or company travel plan
  • Share Cycling UK's cycling to work tips for anyone who wants it
  • Help arrange for the provision of pool bikes plus related cycling equipment
  • Investigate your company's willingness to subscribe to the Cycle to Work Scheme, which offers employers of all sizes across the public, private and voluntary sectors a tax-exempt cycle and cycle equipment loan scheme for staff
  • Develop incentives, e.g. vouchers / discounts at local bike shops
  • Assess the need for cycle parking, lockers, showers, drying room, and work with your employer to supply them
  • Arrange events, e.g.cycling breakfasts, rides; cycle maintenance sessions (your local bike shop might help); presentations
  • Consider getting your organisation accredited as a Cycle Friendly Employer
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