Shetland Islands Council is launching a new winter campaign in partnership with the “Love to Ride” initiative to help more people enjoy cycling in Shetland.
Running throughout December, Winter Wheelers is a cold-conquering competition aimed at getting more people riding bikes through winter. The cold, wind and rain can deter people from riding a bike but this cold-busting campaign aims to show that with a little preparation every day is a biking day.
Last year over 25,000 people across the UK took part, braving the breezes, flouting the frost and winning lots of great prizes. This year will be bigger and better and Shetland Islands Council aims to prove that riding in winter is ‘snow big deal’.
For Winter Wheelers, it doesn't matter if you ride every day or if you haven't been on a bike in years, everyone registered with Love to Ride can access the tools they need to build their biking confidence. In September, Love to Ride encouraged 144 people in Shetland to make more of their daily journeys by cycling, as part of the ‘Cycle September’ campaign.
Cycling has been shown to boost mental and physical health, reduce stress and anxiety, as well as saving money on fuel, and reducing carbon emissions. Even when the days are short and the light is low, cycling is an effective way to feel connected with the world and avoid low moods.
Taking part in Winter Wheelers is easy - simply register for free at www.lovetoride.net/shetland and log any bike rides before midnight that day. Each rider will receive hints, tips and tailored emails to keep them cycling safely even as the weather takes a turn. And remember that indoor cycling, at home or at a leisure centre, is a fun alternative when the wind gets a bit too much.
You only have to ride for 10 minutes to be entered into the daily prize draw. There are rewards for encouraging others too, and one lucky winner will receive a text on Christmas Day saying they won a bike. Register for Winter Wheelers to conquer the cold, axe the anxiety and enhance your energy.
The Love to Ride campaign in Shetland is supported by the Paths for All ‘Smarter Choices, Smarter Places’ fund, to encourage more people to drive less and to walk or cycle as part of their everyday short journeys.
Moraig Lyall, Chair of the Council’s Environment and Transport Committee, says: “Keeping riding during the winter can seem daunting but keep your bike ready to go and grab the chance on the days when the weather isn’t so bad. You’ll be surprised how often you get out, even if it’s just for a short ride. My top tips are remembering warm socks and gloves as your hands and toes are the bits that will feel the cold most. And make sure you’ve got good lights to be seen. Most importantly, enjoy your cycling and the feel-good lift it gives you.”
Increasing the number of people walking and cycling in Shetland is an objective of the Shetland Active Travel Strategy 2021-2026.