Environmental activists at the University of Salford will be hosting a month-long cycling challenge later this March.

The university’s Environmental and Sustainability Team are encouraging people to cycle more as part of the ‘Ride It Out’ challenge.

The Environmental and Sustainability Team runs activities to encourage a more sustainable community.

Environmental Management Coordinator Marta Strzelecka said: “Because we want to embed sustainability in all aspects of student life, we want to encourage the community to get active. Ride It Out is a nice framework for that.

“Promoting cycling helps create sustainable communities and cities. In general, a bike uses much less energy than a car.

“The main thing is carbon emissions. It’s about 270 grams of C02 per kilometre for a car and just 20 grams for a bike. As a result, there is improved air quality and reduced noise, which is also another benefit for people.”

Marta added that a bike reduces the costs of managing congestion, pollution, healthcare and public infrastructure.

Photo permission from Marta Strzelecka.

‘Ride It Out’ is hosted by online community Love to Ride.

The organisation aims to motivate people to enjoy the health benefits of cycling.

Love To Ride’s ‘Ride It Out’ poster. Photo permission from Pete Abel.

‘Ride It Out’ is split into four themed weeks: Healthy, Relaxed, Green and Free.

Anyone in the world can register to Love to Ride.

Participants can then record their cycling journeys on the website or using the Strava app.

They can also share their stories and photographs and connect with other cyclists.

There are different prizes and daily giveaways for cyclists who log their mileage for each week of the challenge.

The grand prize is a brand new bike worth up to £2000.

‘Ride It Out’ has a different theme each week for cyclists. Screenshot: author’s own. Taken from https://www.lovetoride.net/gm/pages/info?locale=en-GB

Pete Abel, Local Project Manager of Love to Ride Greater Manchester, said: “Love to Ride is a very simple tool. It’s set up to encourage everyday cycling, so whether that’s to the shops, the park, to see your friends or to work.

“You actually earn more points from being an ‘encourager’ than you do for cycling long distances.

“In previous years, we had a ‘Ride To Work Week’ in March. But now, for a lot of people, there is no journey to work.

“It’s really important to be active, both for your physical health and mental health, particularly if you’re working from home.”

Mr Abel added that workplaces have signed up to the ‘Ride It Out’ challenge to see which department can cycle the most.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is a partner and funding body of Love To Ride Greater Manchester.

This means that cycling schemes like Ride It Out are free for people and organisations to enter.

More than 175 organisations and businesses have taken part across Greater Manchester.

A TfGM spokesperson said: “In Greater Manchester, we have ambitions to become a true cycling and walking city-region. A huge part of this is developing the 1,800 mile joined-up cycling and walking network, The Bee Network, which will enable people across Greater Manchester to leave the car at home for more of their journeys. This is part of Greater Manchester’s wider sustainability plans, which include a target of one million more sustainable journeys everyday across the city-region.

“In order to meet these targets, a range of initiatives will be put in place, one of which is our partnership with Love to Ride. The Love to Ride platform works for those who have never ridden before, to those established riders, giving you prompts and top tips to get you on your bike more, as well as incentives such as friendly competition and prizes to be won.

“It is one of a number of ways in which Greater Manchester residents are being supported and encouraged to include cycling as all or part of their daily journeys.”

More than 2,500 people have taken part in Love to Ride Greater Manchester, of which around a quarter are new to cycling

This adds up to around 19k trips and more than 250k miles cycled.

Register for Ride It Out at https://www.lovetoride.net/gm/user_sessions/new.

A programme of online talks and workshops is planned for UoS’s Go Green Salford scheme, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability.

Follow the University of Salford’s Environmental and Sustainability Team on Twitter and Instagram to find out more.

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