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Community / Council signs up with project to encourage more folk to cycle

Photo: SIC

SHETLAND Islands Council is partnering with the ‘Love to Ride’ initiative to help more people enjoy cycling.

In a year-long project, the partnership aims to encourage more people in Shetland to make more daily journeys by cycling. 

The Love to Ride online platform is free and features tips, articles and courses to learn skills and increase cyclists’ confidence.

Registering with the online community allows individuals to also join with friends, family or work colleagues. 

Increasing the number of people walking and cycling is an objective of the Shetland Active Travel Strategy, which runs from 2021 to 2026.

Love to Ride’s year-round platform is supplemented by four annual cycling challenges, beginning soon with Cycle September – a global bike riding event, bringing together cyclists of every level. 

This challenge aims to help individuals and workplace teams to work towards their health, wellness and sustainability goals.

Prizes will be on offer from Shetland businesses, along with national ones too, and anyone who logs a ten-minute ride during September will be in with a chance of winning.

A range of bikes is now available for all abilities, including adapted bikes, e-cargo bikes and tandems.

Chair of the SIC’s environment and transport committee Moraig Lyall said: “Love to Ride is all about giving folk the support they need to get on a bike and to help them change their habits so that the bike becomes the first option for getting places regularly.

“Cycling is great for your physical and mental health, it reduces your carbon footprint, saves you money and helps create a more pleasant environment – not many things benefit you in so many ways.”

Shona Park, community engagement manager at Love to Ride, said: “We’re inviting everyone to join us this Cycle September. We’ll be sharing the many benefits of cycling – for physical and mental health, for the environment – and the fun and freedom that is so easily accessible when riding a bike.

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“It doesn’t matter if it’s for fun, fitness or transport – all rides count and you don’t have to go far or fast. We want everyone to experience the joy of cycling.”

Help is also available for people who do not currently have access to a bike, with options to borrow locally from cycling charity Cycling UK, or to purchase a bike through a workplace scheme.

Cycle hire is also available locally from the Shetland Community Bike Project, Eric Brown’s Cycles/JRJ Shetland, The Cornerstone Café, Hillswick Shop, and Unst Leisure Centre.

Meanwhile the Lerwick Summer Cycle event is taking place in the heart of the town – on closed roads – this Sunday between 2pm and 4pm.

More information and a link to register can be found here.

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