Alice has always cycled on and off, over the years, both as a child and as a student. However her recent return to cycling has been closely linked to her workplace and her job as an architect at Nicoll Russell Studios, Dundee.
Back in 2016, things actually began with running and the creation of a log to encourage some friendly competition within the office. Shortly after a cycling category was added (indeed, other activities like gym time, football, yoga and even sometimes gardening are now a part of the initiative) and small prizes have always been awarded for achievement at the end of each month - brightening up a person’s day as they sit working at their computer.
While this initiative started out as a health drive, Alice is part of the studio’s environmental group, so she also saw the positive link to improving the practice’s carbon footprint through encouraging active travel. There is now a plan to improve the facilities at the office, with proper bike racks and a shower facility. It's also having an impact on the community outside of the workplace. "Our strategy is reaching staff families as well. There are examples of a schoolchild cycling in with her mother and leaving her bike stored safely here, near the school, and often other family members join in the mountain bike training."
While Alice is keen to recognise the colleagues who have contributed all the effort and kilometres to bring the idea alive, she's being recognised as the initiator and the driving force behind the organisations desire to encourage cycling. "Alice has inspired her colleagues to cycle, promoting the approach through our work and profile. She recently wrote a blog post for the Archivelo website which explains the journey she has inspired those around her to take from the grass roots up."
Alice’s own cycle commute is very short, however she finds that cycling to work does make a big difference to how she feels. "That bit of very fresh air blasting up the River Tay is always welcome, it seems that the cycling is good for mental wellbeing as well as physical health".
"I love cycling for the fresh air, the views, the sense of freedom, its ease of jumping on and off, its zero environmental impact…… and for the fun."
Alice has tried the odd site visit by bike which works quite well. However, she thinks the main benefit to both staff and the organisation is in commuting. While the practice has one cyclist who travels in from Carnoustie, it is the multiple short commutes from staff which really add up. One colleague, having changed from driving to walking to work almost every day over the last year, and winning a number of prizes on the way, has decided to give up her car altogether. For those who need a bit of a push to start, or are worried about what to wear if choosing to cycle to work, she has advice. "From my experience the trick to actually getting out the door and avoiding the lazy car option is to have everything ready to hand, making cycling the easiest and quickest option. And - a cycle commuters handy hint – the architect’s uniform of black jeans is pretty good for hiding chain oil!"
What is 100 Women in Cycling?
Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling is an annual list celebrating inspirational women who are encouraging others to cycle.