WWF partners with the Cycling UK to get employees on their bikes
Lucy Potashnick, WWF’s Environmental Manager, says: “In a staff travel survey in March 2010, Of the 19% of staff that live within 3 miles or less from work, 40% still use their car to travel into work.”
She continued: “We have a Sustainable Travel Policy and a number of activities and procedures to implement it. We’re committed to reducing our impact from business travel, which makes up the largest source of our greenhouse gas emissions. We're committed to monitoring, managing and minimising our business travel activities so that the need for travel and its environmental impact are reduced. Where travel does take place, we require that it's by the least environmentally-damaging means.”
As a result, WWF set up their own set of Bike Week events in conjunction with a Cycling UK cycle training course in order to create a real boost of cycling knowledge. Sarah Merrington, Project Manager for LiveWell for Life, hopes to create more training opportunities in the future saying “It went really well and they were all super pleased.”
Cycling UK delivered Level 1 and Level 2 cycle training to four staff members in one afternoon. Two were recently returning to cycling and two were fairly experienced. The two returnees learned basic manoeuvres and, although they did not complete Level 1 training, they became dramatically more confident in riding their bikes. The two more experienced cyclists had a short on-road training session where they learned a few Level 2 manoeuvres, but did not intend to complete a course.
Outcomes from the week, other than a really good buzz, are that we will run more cycle training in the Spring, and lead rides to Woking to help prepare people for their journey to the new offices.”
Sarah Merrington, Project Manager for WWF's LiveWell for Life
All attendees said that they enjoyed the training and learned more than they anticipated. Thanks to an element of basic bike maintenance education in the training, one lady learned that she had been riding her bike with the handlebars the wrong way round for some time. This was rectified. All attendees intend to sign up for more sessions to further improve their confidence and skills with a view to cycling to work as well as for leisure. We also hope to enrol more employees in the spring.
Cycling UK cycle trainer, Julie Rand, said: “The trainees were a pleasure to teach. They all got something from the sessions, regardless of their level, and made a great effort to improve their skills and knowledge. I hope they now build on what they have learnt with me and ride their bikes more often as a result.”
To complement the training offered, Information Officer, Andrew Hawes, offered a personalised travel planning service. Andrew offered advice on safe routes to their existing work place in Godalming as well as acknowledging concerns raised by the staff regarding cycling to the WWF’s new premises in Woking (which they are due to move to next year).
Andrew said: “For me it was making the staff aware that they need not necessarily use busy roads for commuting purposes as this was a concern for many”. Andrew also used his extensive knowledge of commuting by bike in the local area to point out existing infrastructure that can make cycle commuting a more pleasant experience.
“Due to WWF’s forthcoming move I’ve offered to cycle with the staff from the existing office in Godalming, and various locations between Guildford and Woking, in order to show them the best routes to use”, says Andrew. He also discussed rail integration in journey planning, making use of Surrey County Council’s free cycle route guides and added various commuting tips for their reference.
As usual it was the perceived danger of cycling on roads that tended to form the majority of the staffs’ concerns. Many said they didn’t wish to cycle with high volumes of traffic, however, these same individuals were unaware of the existing routes and infrastructure that would avoid the areas they were concerned about. This proves that education and personalised travel plans are key to travel behavioural change.
Quotes from the attendees are as follows:
Sue: "Really worth doing. Even if you are used to cycling a bit, the beginner’s course goes over the things you should remember and is really useful. And you practise in an empty car park so you can wobble away without any cars around !!"
Richard: "The training was very good, especially for a beginner like myself! It’s encouraged me to get back on the bike & give it a go."
Lorna: "It was really good. I definitely want to do level 3. Great thing to offer through work and if i do complete the whole course it’s very likely I’ll cycle in to work some of the time."