Beast of burden

Here in the UK, and in many other places that aren’t Denmark or the Netherlands, bikes tend to be thought of as a piece of sports equipment. Sure, if you cycle regularly, you’re probably a fine physical specimen with the constitution of a strapping young ox. But it’s a mistake to think of bikes as a mobile bit of gym equipment, when they can do so much more.

Load carrying bicycle by Carrie Kellenberger on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Load carrying bicycle by Carrie Kellenberger on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.

If you’re a busy person, the humble bicycle can actually be a big time saver. Steve Jobs famously said that a computer is a bicycle for our minds. Well, to turn that around, a bicycle is like a pair of seven-league boots for your legs. Need to pick something up in town? Got an errand to run? On a bike, you can slip silently through the city, dodge the traffic jams, lock up outside your destination, get what you need and then be on your way, often in less time than any other mode of transport.

A couple of panniers can hold a whole lotta shopping.

I still can’t believe how much shopping fits in a couple of panniers. Having to lug it all home also discourages impulse buying…

Bicycles are great for shopping too, in a different way to cars. Rather than one weekly visit to the soulless out-of-town megastore, bicycles encourage browsing, flitting from shop to shop like a wheeled butterfly. There’s good evidence that shopping by bike keeps money in the local area, and people on bikes spend more of it than your local trader’s association might imagine. Small, frequent shopping trips mean less waste, fewer impulse purchases, less hassle.

Bicycles foster spontaneity. They’re not constrained by timetables, and you’ll never miss your last bike. Cycling is sociable too. You see more of the world, and it’s easier to pull over for a chat.

If you’ve bought a new bike, it may need some extra bits before you can get the most out of it. A rack and panniers, for example, make carrying shopping or possessions a joy, rather than a sweaty-backed chore. Mudguards, touring pedals and chain cases make riding in everyday clothes easier. Lights – why don’t all bicycles come with these? And a decent D-lock, sadly, is more or less essential if you want to use your bike around town. The ease with which bikes can be stolen continues to be one of the few rubbish things about owning one.

If you can get a bike that’s got all of these, chances are you will never use it for sprinting to a gold time in a sportive. Instead you’ll have something much better – a truly enabling bit of technology which is equal parts pack animal, your own private taxi, and a companion for life.

New Behaviour Change Framework

Behaviour change has always been at the core of what we do. We’ve recently developed a new behaviour change framework to ensure that our programmes are as effective as possible.

We’re currently building new features into Love to Ride and we’ll be launching Love to Ride 2.0 in May 2014.

Check out this video explaining our new behaviour change framework:

More info at our website here.

Or get in touch – together@lovetoride.net

 

Get Love to Ride in your area

Love to Ride

Love to Ride has been designed to have bike loads of local sites within it.

We can set up your local Love to Ride site for your town, city or region, which will have information on where people can ride, top tips, links to other initiatives and local photos (uploaded by the local community). People will take part in our global cycling programmes by logging trips, setting goals, going on virtual rides and using the new app.  Anyone can be a ‘supporter’ and help grow their local Love to Ride community. Help spread the love!

If you want to promote your own local cycling initiatives, send targeted emails to the Love to Ride community in your area, give your announcements and events a big push on your local Love to Ride site, then you can become our ‘Official Local Partner’.

You’ll also have your logo and branding on the website and we can link the site to the other projects you’re doing to promote cycling and sustainable transport.

Check out our website for more information or simply get in touch and have a chat with me – Sam Robinson.  You can also call me on +44 (0)7734 833 451.

Love to Ride Rebrand

 

Love to Ride has a new look!

In Spring 2014 we’ll be rebranding www.lovetoride.net with this new brand and launching it to our 100,000 users.

We wanted a brand that was engaging, fun and encouraging and that is what we got.

Love to Ride Rebrand

Left: New icons – cool! Right: Targeted email example

Some examples of our new  targeted emails

Some examples of our new targeted emails

A big thanks to the team at our design agency – Hello.  They nailed it!

Check out our newly branded company website:  www.lovetoride.org

 

Riders on the storm

Stormy bike

November Rain, by revolution_ferg on Flickr (licensed under Creative Commons)

The results from our Winter Goal Setting Challenge are in, and we’re pleasantly surprised.

Over 1,400 members of the Love to Ride global community signed up to the simply-structured challenge, which invited users to set a goal and try and complete it within 3 weeks. There were very few constraints on what target you aimed for, and if munching some miles didn’t appeal, you could see your riding target as slices of cake, chocolate bars, or pints of beer.  Participants seem to have responded well to being given the reins, while the goals set ranged from just a single ride to a thoroughly epic 1500 km.

For our users in the UK, the timing of the challenge couldn’t have been worse, with record rainfall and high winds all through the challenge period. Some of our participants were bested by the weather – one user wrote “My 100 mile in a week goal could not compete with the gales and floods thrown at us last week” – but many more pushed on through, with over 400 UK users hitting their goals.

Bad weather is often invoked as a reason not to cycle, so it was great to see a wide cross-section of people just getting on with it. It didn’t hurt that there were some pretty decent prizes on offer, including vouchers for local bike shops (because we like to support the little guys).

We’re now looking forward to launching our next Love to Ride promotion this spring, as well as a busy programme of workplace cycle challenges. We’ve weathered the storm, and it seems like 2014 is going to be a great year for Love to Ride, and for cycling.