The principal focus of the Foundation Rides is to raise money for the Up and Under Foundation. A secondary, but still important, aim is to engage with local businesses and promote sustainable transport and, it was with that hat on that I presented at the ‘Travel smarter for healthy staff and a healthy business’ event at Crewe Alex earlier this year.
Cycling is an inclusive activity that is a great way to see an area and, for the most part, it’s a healthy pursuit. OK, you need a bike. But, while you can spend £15,000 (and probably more) on a bike (Pinarello Bolide Dura Ace Di2 Wiggo 889) you don’t have to. There is more choice now than there ever has been and with the cycle to work scheme and local groups such as Community Recycle Cycles and St Paul’s Cycles, who service and refurbish pre-loved bikes you can get a bike for a very sensible price and see if you like it or not.
Commuting can easily allow you to build up the miles and counts as training as well as being a cool way to get to and from work (without the hassle of having to search for a parking space). I try to cycle to work at least 1 or 2 times a week, not because I am especially environmentally minded, because I really enjoy it. When I cycle, I arrive clear-headed and ready to get stuck into work. I have learned to pace myself so I don’t get sweaty and I get things ready the night before, so its almost as easy to hop on the bike as it is to jump in the car.
If you’re looking to commute by bike and perhaps feel a bit unsure, check out this article (Cycling to work for beginners) or do a quick internet search.
If you think having an event to aim for would encourage you to commute, why not try the Foundation Rides event? There are three distances to choose from, ranging from a very do-able 50 km (30 miles in old money) to 160 km (with a 100 km ride for good measure).
The rides cost £16 and, because the ride costs are covered by local businesses, all your entry fee will go to the Up and Under Foundation.
And, if you are still short of reasons, 2017 is the 5th running of the Foundation Rides, the 10th anniversary of the Up and Under Foundation and the 200th birthday of the bicycle – come and help us celebrate!
New for 2016, a limited edition range of Foundation Ride t-shirts. So if you are doing the ride on May 8th (or have done one of the last three year’s rides), then why not get the t-shirt?
These great quality shirts, available in three different colours, are available from tboom. They cost £10 each (+ £2.95 p&p) and £3 of that goes to the Up and Under Foundation.
The shirts will be available until June 8th.
To enter one of the rides: www.foundationrides.co.uk
There are 4 rides again this year, but some new routes. There are some other changes too, but the Chatwin’s gingerbread men will still feature.
Challenge Ride 25 km
This is a great introductory ride, or perhaps one to tempt you back into cycling. It will be signed and will take is some of the local lanes around Weston, Barthomley, Hassall, Winterley and Haslington. The start time is a leisurely 10.30 and, as with all the rides, there will be free refreshments at the end of the ride as well as a certificate for all finishers. For a map of the route check out:
Foundation Ride 50 km
A firm favourite and one we thought it best not to mess with. Takes in some lovely gentle Cheshire Lanes and never gets too hilly. There is an optional brew stop in Audlem, with the choice of a couple of cafes. All entrants will get a route sheet and finishers will receive free refreshments and a certificate. This is a great family ride and, in the past, the age range has been from 7 to 80 something! So, there really are no excuses, especially with a 9.30 start.
Foundation Ride route: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/2712475
Feisty Fifty 50 km
This is a bit of a brute and ideal for those looking for a challenge, but not looking to spend all day on a bike.
As the ride starts on the Cheshire Plain and we wanted to make it challenging we went into Staffordshire looking for every hill in the vicinity, and we have found some crackers! For a close up look at the route: https://www.strava.com/routes/3679013
The only question is – are you tough enough?
Three Counties Ride 100 km
Starting from Up & Under HQ at 8.30, this ride takes in lovely lanes from Staffordshire and Shropshire as well as Cheshire. There are possible cafe stops at Eccleshall and Market Drayton, if you are looking for a leisurely ride. And, of course, our (nearly) world famous refreshments at the end of the ride.
For a closer look at the route: https://www.strava.com/routes/3775555
All rides cost £16 to enter.
To enter: www.foundationrides.co.uk
I’ve set my self a goal this year. I’m not going to say what, exactly, as there is evidence that telling people about your goals means that you are less likely to achieve them – suffice to say it is a fundraising goal.
This has got off to a pretty good start with a number of companies coming on board to support this year’s Foundation Rides, which will be on May 8th from Up and Under HQ.
This enthusiasm has been helped by PurePR and the promise of some publicity and good fun along the way.
For those of you who have done the rides before, the support from Chatwin’s Bakery means scrummy gingerbread men at the end.
The banners are starting to go up and I love this picture of the Challenge Ride banner with Crewe Municipal Buildings in the background.
We have some new routes and more surprises in store for 2016, but you will have to wait for the next installment for more information. If you can’t wait, you can always get your entry in:
The first thing to do is enter!
Information about upcoming rides can be found on the audax website: http://www.aukweb.net/ and, of course, if you haven’t yet entered one of the Foundation Rides you can still do so (for a few days more) via:
Other than a road worthy bike, you basically need four things to ride an audax:
- Some means of measuring your distance;
- The route sheet (sent out by the organiser – if a postal entry – or downloaded)
- Some means of carrying your route sheet (so you can see it!); and
- A small pencil
The simplest way of measuring distance is with a cycle computer that, once it has been set up to your bike, measures wheel revolutions and converts this to the distance ridden. There are all sorts of fancy alternatives (including gps), but the humble bike computer does a good job.
You need to know distances because that is how the route sheet describes the ride.
Thus, after 1 km or 0.6 of a mile you should be turning left at a set of traffic lights onto Weston Road. Life gets VERY tricky if you don’t know how far you have traveled. For a more detailed look at reading a route sheet, check out:
This brings me on to the next requirement – some means of carrying your route sheet so that you can actually see it (that rules out your back pocket). There are a couple of options here – a handlebar bag that has a map holder on top or a bespoke route sheet holder.
Route sheet holders are available commercially or can be easily made at home. The example in the picture was made with a takeaway lid.
And the pencil? That is for writing answers to the ‘Info Controls’ on your brevet card, that you will receive when you get to the start of the ride.
As well as benefits for the riders, encouraging people to cycle (and cycle to work in particular) also has benefits for the employer.
Obviously, if cycling is good for you, then a cycling workforce should be a healthy and fit workforce and studies have shown that those who cycle to work suffer less absenteeism than non-cycling employees and workers arrive fresh, relaxed and motivated.
Reduced pressure on parking
With today’s restrictions on parking, encouraging employees to cycle can reduce pressure on those limited parking resources – bikes take up a lot less room than cars. There is a good chance that your cyclists will be at work earlier as they haven’t had to queue in traffic and spend ages looking for a parking space.
Good for green credentials
Cycling is good for the environment (uses less resources and creates no pollution) and in many cases is the ‘smarter way to travel’. Having a cycling workforce helps to lower your carbon footprint and ‘tick the green box’.
How can I encourage staff to cycle?
Cycle to work scheme
Sign up for a Cycle to Work scheme (http://www.cycletoworkalliance.org.uk/) this enables employees to save up to 40% on the total cost of a new bike. The scheme is a Government initiative to encourage commuter cycling and, to date, over half a million people have obtained bikes in this way.
Safe, under-cover bike storage
Nobody wants to leave their bike out in the elements all day. An indoor or under-cover bike store will solve this problem. The capacity will depend on the number of staff likely to cycle and it doesn’t have to be fancy – just effective.
Organise work-based events
Work-based bike events are aimed at encouraging cycling but are also likely to improve morale and help team building, ideas include:
- A weekly (or occasional) bike to work breakfast: where staff who cycle to work are provided with (for example) a free bacon butty.
- Cycle maintenance/bike check sessions: help your fledging cyclists understand how to maintain their bike- many bike shops and other organisations offer these at a reasonable price.
- Cycle treasure hunt: this is a great way to have fun and encourage family and friends as well as staff members, different distances could be offered to encourage a range of participants.
Encourage employees to take part in a cycling event
This is where the Foundation Rides can come in. Entering an event often provides the necessary focus and motivation for good habits (in this case cycling) to take hold. With three distances to choose from (50km, 100km or 160km) there should be something to appeal to everyone and encouraging staff to raise money for the Up and Under Foundation can help to strengthen the resolve to get out and ride.
We are encouraging local businesses to enter teams into the Foundation Rides, to get a bit of local friendly rivalry going. A team consists of 2 or more riders, with the emphasis being on ‘the more, the merrier’. To enter as a team member, simply enter the business or team name under ‘club’ on the entry form.
Check out: www.foundationrides.co.uk to enter
We are also looking for local businesses to join Up and Under and Mornflake in supporting the rides. Could you make a donation towards the cost of putting on the event, sponsor a medal or a T-shirt for riders or contribute to the post-ride refreshments? If you are interested in getting involved please email: email@example.com
I think I should also have mentioned the chance of having a good laugh. Last year we were honoured to have Postman Pat riding the 100km Good Stuff. It was truly a sight to behold (check out the video below), especially when he was forced to take a rest at Audlem. Who knows who will turn up in 2014!
Cycling has so many benefits that I am just going to touch on a selected few, but sometimes knowing how great something is isn’t enough – entering an event is often the perfect way of giving us the nudge we need to get on our bikes and ride.
Good for you
Cycling is good for you. I suspect that we all kind of know that, but I was surprised by how wide-ranging the benefits are. Cycling regularly can help you lose weight, it reduces stress, helps you sleep more deeply, improves your immune system and (surprisingly) exposes you to less pollution than driving. It is lower impact than a lot of forms of exercise and so is easier on the joints. Overall, regular cyclists enjoy the health of someone approximately 10 years younger.
A great way to see the countryside
Cycling is a fabulous way to get around and see the countryside; you can cover more ground than walking and see over hedgerows at the same time. What’s more, cycling puts you in the range of far more cafes and is a great excuse to stop half way around for a guilt-free snack.
Saves money (and time)
If you use a bike to commute to work it can save you both money (no fuel costs or parking fees) and, depending on where you commute, even time – as a bike can often nip past long queues of traffic.
So what are you waiting for?
All these are great reasons for cycling, sometimes, however, it helps to have goal to aim for – a reason to get on the bike when maybe you don’t feel like it. Why not make one of the Foundation Rides your reason for getting on a bike?
Next time: What’s in it for me? – part 2: employer