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Get into cycling

Active travel means making all or part of your daily journeys physically active, like  cycling or walking. These can be  short journeys such as a trip the supermarket, gym or into town, or your daily commute to work or to take the children to school. You can incorporate active travel into longer journeys too, by travelling part of it on foot or by bike. 

Our friends at Active Dorset look at some of the ways you can add cycling into your daily travel routine.  

Benefits of active travel 

  • Save money on fuel, parking or public transport  
  • Incorporates physical activity into your daily routine – reduces the need to find extra time in the day to be active.  
  • Boosts your immunity and helps you live longer and in better health 
  • Releases feel-good hormones to improve your mood  
  • Arrive at work with improved focus and concentration 
  • Generates an immunity boost that can help fend off any office viruses 
  • In some built up cities and towns it can be quicker to use active modes of transport than to travel by car 
  • Improves air quality by reducing airborne particles from exhausts and tyres 
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change 

Top Tips for cycling to work 

  • Lay everything out and pack your bag the night before. You will be less likely to forget something and more likely to do it even if the sky is a little grey.  
  • Wear the right shoes and socks. Choose a comfortable rucksack and remember a change of clothes or footwear if necessary.  
  • Lighten the load by keeping things at your destination when you can  
    (e.g. shoes or a second hairbrush). 
  • Small waterproof bags will keep your belongings safe from rain, sweat, or spillages. If you carry food, make sure you use an appropriate container. 
  • Safety first – always remember a lights and reflective clothing if you are commuting before dawn or after dusk. 
  • Work out where you can shower or plan ahead with useful items like dry shampoo if you think you’ll need to freshen up. 
  • Use a route planner to help ensure you are riding on suitable roads or paths. Your route might be a different journey to the one you would do in the car. Pick quieter roads, it will be safer and the air your breather will be healthier. Calculate how long it will take you to walk to make sure you have enough time in the mornings. 
  • Team up with a friend or colleague to motivate each other and stay accountable. 
  • Learn how to change your tyre and perform basic bike maintenance checks to keep you on the move.  

 Planning a safe cycle route

Resources to support cycling 

  • Bikeability is a cycle training programme, with a level to suit everyone that focuses on practical skills and understanding how to cycle on today's roads - www.bikeability.org.uk  
  • Sustrans are a charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle. Their website has lots of useful information, articles and maps of the National Cycling Network routes - www.sustrans.org.uk  


British Cycling

British Cycling is the national governing body for cycling and their website has lots of great advice for cycling from beginners to more advanced. 

Tips for beginners


Guided rides:

  Let's Ride - HSBC UK Guided Rides (letsride.co.uk) 

  • Dorset Cyclists Network is a charity set up to campaign for better cycling facilities in Dorset. It also runs guided rides around the county and if you join as a member (only £6 a year) you will receive a newsletter on what is going on - www.dcn.org  

Learning to ride or refreshing your skills

Resources for Workplaces 

Consider simple things you can do to support active travel to your place of work such as providing small lockers, coat hooks or a wardrobe-style cupboard. If you can, offer flexible working times to avoid peak hours and consider changes to your dress code if appropriate. Check your local area for free resources like bike checks and free cycle training and promote these to your team and consider offering a cycle to work scheme to support staff to hire/purchase a bicycle for active travel in return for a deduction from their earnings. 

Cycle to Work Schemes

Simple overviews of cycle to work schemes -  
The Cycle to Work scheme explained - Sustrans.org.uk 

How can the Cycle to Work Scheme help you? | Cycling UK 
Cycle to Work Scheme guidance for employers - www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-to-work-scheme-implementation-guidance  

 Cycle Friendly Employer scheme

Taking part in Cycling UK’s Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation scheme is an excellent way for a business to demonstrate their commitment to cycling - www.cyclinguk.org/cycle-friendly-employer  

 Suppliers supporting active travel

This list was collated by the Transforming Cities Fund in 2022 

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The tailored approach LiveWell Dorset uses to come up with solutions to the things that are stopping us achieving our goals, is based upon work done by University College London developing the COM-B model of behaviour change. In this model, all behaviour is influenced by understanding a person’s capability to change, their opportunity to change and their motivation to change. By understanding which of these is the biggest barrier to change, we can tailor support accordingly. This model of behaviour change is at the centre of the support we offer, online and in person.

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