Our Swapfiets Colleagues Biked 6396 km to Work in Two Weeks.
At Swapfiets, we are dedicated to leading the movement towards more liveable cities and believe that a more bike-friendly city is a more liveable city. Fortunately, active transport modes, such as cycling, have seen growth in Europe, with cities announcing over 2300km of extra cycling infrastructure. Additionally some cities are leading in bicycle modal share: Copenhageners on bikes account for over 50% of trips within the city center; in Amsterdam, it’s 48% in the urban core.
Although this is a great start, at Swapfiets we believe there is even more room for improvement. Getting cars out of cities and citizens on bicycles has become an international focus. And necessarily so: one Danish study reveals that for every kilometer cycled, society enjoys a 23 eurocents profit, while driving the same distance produces a net loss of 16 eurocents.
But city officials, planners and citizens still do not have a clear, evidence-based answer to the question: what works to reduce car use and promote cycling in cities? One strategy mentioned is the gamification of sustainable mobility: for instance by setting up challenges and competitions to track mobility. Inspired by this example, we launched a bike-to-work initiative for our Swapfiets colleagues. Because how to lead the movement to more liveable cities better than to lead by example?
Presenting: The Rise & Ride Club
This initiative, called the Swapfiets Rise & Ride Club, aimed to not only encourage our colleagues to adopt sustainable commuting habits but also to track our collective impact on the environment. To motivate our team members and create a sense of community, we set a collective goal of biking 10,000 kilometers together. The rules of the fame were the following: (1) create a free account on Strava, (2) join the Rise & Ride Club, (3) log your #biketowork rides. Our most competitive participants had the chance to win prizes in the categories Longest Distance, Biggest Streak, Speed Devil, Bad Weather Champion and Best Team. No matter how far or close to the office our colleagues lived, everyone could join and log rides, no matter the distance.
The Swapfiets heroes that joined the challenge
We are incredibly proud of 120 of our colleagues who decided to join the challenge. Spread across nine countries, including store staff, Swappers, mechanics, and logistics personnel they biked 6396 kilometers to and from work. Take Jeroen, who left home at 4:30 am and cycled 109 km from his hometown Arnhem to our Headquarters in Amsterdam. Or Edwin, who logged a ride with an average speed of 36.0 km/h, on a pedal bike!
Why did they join this challenge? Hear from Nina & Jörg:
Role: Retail Improvement Specialist
Office: Swapfiets Headquarters, Amsterdam
Distance to work: 75 km
Why did you join the bike to work challenge? Mainly because I like biking a lot and it seemed like a nice way to share this with my colleagues. Also, it was an excuse to come a bit late to work since it takes me more than 3 hours to bike to work ;).
Did it change the way you look at the impact of your commute? Not really – I live a bit far from the office but I always take the train which is think is the most sustainable option – biking 3 hours every day might be a bit long. But generally I think that these kinds of initiatives are great to keep reminding us of our climate footprint. Repetition is key to raise awareness which might eventually lead to the policies we need as a society.
What was your key takeaway? Once again how fun biking is and that in the future I will commit to longer commuting distances on the bike (about an hour is my max I think). Oh and how great it is to have an office with showers!
Would you join again next year? Yes for sure! I joined quite late in the challenge but if I had more time I probably would have done the trip more than once.
Role: Logistics Team Munich
Office: Swapfiets Warehouse, Munich
Distance to work: 112 km
Why did you take part in the “Cycle to Work” competition?
It was fun to cycle together with co-workers from the other sites.
Did it change your perspective on the impact of your commute?
I cycle to work every day anyway, in all weathers. By the end of the year I’ve cycled 19.000 km.
Would you take part again next year?
Yes, very much so!
Next year’s challenge
We do not plan on stopping here. Next year we will host the challenge again. Objectives: make the 10.000 km objective ánd have any company join who would like to! Is your company interested in joining? Or learning how we set up this challenge? Reach out to [email protected]. And don’t forget to rise and ride.