Love to Ride is an online platform that encourages people to cycle, primarily to and from work. It grew out of the Workplace Cycle Challenge programme in 2007. Since then more than 400,000 people have joined the Love to Ride community, logging more than 200 million KM's.
Many were new cyclists when they began but soon caught the bug: 31% of newbies are still cycling to work at least once a week. It’s a lifestyle change that hasn’t just improved the health, wealth, and productivity of individuals; the benefits have rippled out into wider society. Congestion has been cut. The air is cleaner. More than a million kilograms of CO2 emissions have been saved by Love to Ride participants.
What is it?
Love to Ride offers comparative ride logging plus the cycling tips and support you need to keep riding. Social media for the commuting cyclist? Sort of, but there are no cat videos or arguments with strangers on Love to Ride. It’s more Weight-Watchers-meets-Strava than Facebook. It’s a supportive environment where you can measure your progress against your own cycling goals and the rides that others are doing.
Leaderboards show who is doing the most miles and the most rides, both for individuals within clubs or organisations and for organisations relative to others. Also logged is a record of how many other people you’ve managed to get to try cycling; spreading the word about cycling earns you points!
As well as the kudos involved in climbing leaderboards, there are prizes such as bikes to be won. Love to Ride runs year round, on top of which there are headline events with their own prizes across the year. Ride to Work Week, a workplace challenge, takes place at the end of March. In June it’s Bike Week, where the challenge is to ride seven times and share your experiences. In July it’s the Tour de l’Amour: can your team log 2,150 miles – the distance of the Tour de France – in the same month as cycling’s biggest race? Cycle September is Love to Ride’s flagship, month-long workplace challenge, in which organisations compete against each other. Finally, in December, Winter Wheelers encourages cyclists to keep riding during the countdown to Christmas.
First, you need to go to the Love to Ride website and sign up. It’s free to register and takes only a minute or two. Any time after that, whenever you go for a ride that takes a least 10 minutes, you can log it on the website.
There are two ways to log your rides: manually – just type in what you’ve done – or automatically with an app. There’s a Love to Ride smartphone app, which uses your phone’s GPS to track your mileage, or you can link popular cycling apps such as Strava and MapMyRide to Love to Ride so that rides recorded there are ported over. However you choose to do it, once you start logging rides you’ll be entered into the prize draws.
There’s more to Love to Ride than logging your rides. You can also set goals, share your cycling stories and photos, and encourage others. You’ll get support and encouragement too. When you register on Love to Ride, there’s a short questionnaire that asks what stops you from cycling more, such as ‘too hilly’ or ‘don’t know a safe route’, and what motivates you to cycle, such as ‘get fitter’ or ‘live more sustainably’. You’ll then receive targeted suggestions to inspire you to ride more.
If you want to ride more, shout about cycling and win prizes - you're in the right place.
Log journey, Celebrate success, Get rewards
Involve your workplace or club
If you wanted to log your rides in isolation, you could do that with an old-fashioned pen-and-paper cyclist’s training diary. Love to Ride is much more than that: it’s a community. Sharing the information to inspire more cycling is what it’s all about.
As soon as you register and start logging rides, you’ll have a profile on Love to Ride. Your rides will show up. You can start climbing leaderboards. But while competing with and congratulating strangers offers a certain amount of satisfaction, it’s not the same as a friendly competition with colleagues or clubmates.
By registering your workplace or club, you can have your own social circle on Love to Ride. This will show how many miles and trips your group has made, and it will break it down into leaderboards for your group alone. How is Amy from accounts doing? Is John still racking up more miles than you? Who is the best at getting others to try cycling? Having your own group page on Love to Ride lets you see the information that matters most to you. You can exchange messages and photos with the group, and ‘high five’ group members for their rides.
When it comes to workplaces, there are different size categories depending on the number of staff. It’s fairer because businesses with a workforce of 100 aren’t then competing to log the most miles and trips with those with half a dozen staff. There are global leaderboards, so you can see how your workplace compares around the world, as well as nationally and locally. That last one is key. Who doesn’t want a bit of friendly rivalry with a business composed of people you know in the same town?
Beyond the website
And it doesn’t only exist in the digital realm. Love to Ride is, fundamentally, its riders, groups, and workplaces. Expanding that base – increasing the numbers of people cycling – involves engaging with businesses and local existing riders, and using cycle challenges and marketing materials to encourage as many people as possible to get on their bikes and ride.
You don’t need to look like a racer for the journey to work. Normal clothing is fine – as long as your bike is properly equipped.
It’s colder, darker, and wetter, but cycling to work can still be the highlight of your day if you have the right equipment and attitude.
Cycle commuting improves your physical and mental health, as well as boosting productivity at work – so long as you do it right.