A CHALLENGE to encourage more people to cycle to work will get under way today.
By signing up to the Love to Ride Portsmouth challenge people can earn points for their company by spending time in the saddle until July 27.
Challenge manager Lee Reynolds said the scheme was designed to be ‘fun, sociable challenge’ with ‘no lycra required’.
He said: ‘The challenge encourages people to rediscover the joys and benefits of cycling.
‘We want as many businesses from the city of Portsmouth as possible and have them compete against each other to see how many people they can get cycling.’
Mr Reynolds said people could sign up at any time and participants didn’t have to cycle to work every day to take part.
He said anything above 10 minutes in the saddle during the three-week period could be logged and added to a businesses’ tally.
He said: ‘Cycling results in fitter and healthier staff, increased productivity and less demand on company car parks.
‘It also helps businesses to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.’
Among prizes are tickets to events including the Victorious Festival, Avenue Q at the Kings Theatre and an annual family pass to the Historic Dockyard. The grand prize is a £500 Giant hybrid bicycle.
Mr Reynolds said a similar competition was run last year among Portsmouth’s schools, colleges and the university, which proved a success.
He said: ‘Our statistics show that a lot of non-cyclists signed up for the challenge last year and then kept on cycling after the challenge was over, so we’re hoping for the same effect this time around.’
Drayton’s Paul Giles, a keen cyclist and member of the Portsmouth North End Cycling Club, said the competition was a great idea.
He said: ‘I think any scheme that encourages people to leave the car at home can only be a good thing.
‘Just imagine how pleasant the rush hour would be if everybody that has a commute of less than five miles used a bike or walked?
‘Not to mention the health benefits and reduction in pollution.’
People can register at lovetoride.net/portsmouth.