June 2019

It’s not about Lycra

‘We’re going to be encouraging staff, who haven't cycled since they were kids, to get back on a bike again, even if it’s just a 10-minute journey. (It doesn’t need to be about Lycra.) And we’re going to be encouraging clients to accommodate the needs of cyclists in their schemes. Even if it feels like climbing Alpe d'Huez on a Penny Farthing.’ Chris Atkins, Velocity Magazine, Winter 2019.

On the journey to BCO in Copenhagen, and sitting on a carbon frame bike dressed in Lyrca, I do consider the irony of that previous thought. The challenge still remains, though, on how to encourage people away from cars and onto bikes for short journeys. Looking towards the BCO Conference, whose theme this year is set around designing for wellbeing, we should perhaps consider if we do enough when planning office space to encourage first timers, or returners, to cycling? Does the Lyrca intimidate? Club Peloton and Velocity have been very forward thinking in driving this conversation by encouraging inclusivity with their events, but should we give more consideration to those cyclists who don’t want Lycra and the endurance challenge? Should we be targeting the people who may just want to enjoy a shared experience with their friends and families, or travel short distances locally between home and work, to try cycling to improve their fitness and wellbeing?

The Cycling and Walking Commissioner for London - Dr Will Norman - is certainly driving his agenda forward with the help of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. New infrastructure is appearing almost daily in the Capital and cycling in London has grown by 292% since 1999 (with over 700,000 journeys made each day). The construction industry is so well placed to support and encourage this. For the wellbeing of our workforce and their families, we need to encourage inclusivity in cycling and make those 10-minute journeys a reality. Small steps can make a huge difference – since building a bike rack in our Reception, the number of staff cycling to work has doubled. And, we think, it’s the best bit of art on our walls.

It’s made us think - what other small steps can encourage short bike rides? Let’s get this conversation going.