Cycling is a fun and accessible way to get healthy, save money and have fun. It's even good for the environment. UniCycle is a new programme delivered by NUS in partnership with Love to Ride and the EAUC who've come together to get more people to ride a bike, if only for ten minutes.
The programme was piloted across the 2017-2018 academic year, funded by the Department for Transport’s Innovation Challenge Fund, at eight universities. At the beginning of the pilot, NUS undertook research into student experiences of and attitudes towards cycling before working with Love to Ride to support the eight pilot institutions in delivering a tailored programme to identify opportunities to enhance cycling on campus through designing interventions using the cutting edge ISM behaviour change tool. Students and staff used the Love to Ride platform to log trips, set goals and compete in both local and national competitions.
We're now collating the results from the pilot and are launching the programme ready for the 2018-2019 cycle.
Why get people cycling?
There's a host of reasons why cycling is of benefit to students and staff in their institutions:
• Reduced sickness absence and healthier, more switched-on staff and students (cycle commuters typically take half the sick leave of colleagues who drive or take public transport)
• Reduced need for car parking spaces and lower levels of student car ownership
• Significant savings on Employer National Insurance Contributions through staff uptake of the Cycle to Work Scheme (typically £100 per purchase)
• Dramatically reduced transport carbon emissions
• A team-building initiative that students and staff can take part in together
• Staff and students who cycle forge stronger connections with the locale, so increased cycling rates will help embed your institution in the local community and support its local economy
• Data about your members’ transport behaviour that will help with travel planning
• Trip data to share with your Local Authority to help improve provision for cycling locally
It’s not just participating institutions that benefit: DfT statistics demonstrate that investing in cycling brings huge economic, social, health and environmental benefits which will help you meet your social responsibility and civic objectives. The average benefit-to-cost ratio of investing in growing cycling is 13:1 and the Gross Cycling Product per cyclist is £230 annually, according to LSE research.