Hartlepool companies are being urged to encourage their employees to get on their bikes as part of a new initiative.
Ride to Work Week, which is taking place from March 13 to 19, aims to promote sustainable travel and encourage workers to get active on their commute.
The initiative is a free-to-enter fun competition between workplaces to see which one can get the most staff riding to work instead of driving.
Organised by Love to Ride Tees Valley, with support from the Hartlepool Active Travel Hub, participants who enter the scheme are in for the chance of winning a range of great prizes.
The draw includes a trip to Cuba, new bikes and handmade cycling luggage.
Tony Davison is Hartlepool Borough Council’s sustainable travel officer who co-ordinates the work of the Hartlepool Active Travel Hub to promote sustainable travel.
He said cycling would create a healthier workforce by increasing the amount of exercise staff do each day.
“Companies that encourage more of their employees to discover the joys and benefits of cycling will themselves begin to benefit in terms of a fitter and healthier workforce that takes fewer sick days,” he said.
“They will also experience increased productivity and there will be less demand on their car parking and less pollution.
“Ride to Work Week is open to all employees and it doesn’t matter if they haven’t been on a bike for years.”
He added: “They only have to ride for ten minutes or more for their participation to count.
“They can ride wherever they feel comfortable and whenever they like during the week. We hope that when people discover just how beneficial and fun cycling is they will continue to get on their bikes.”
Benefits of cycling include improving emotional health, increasing their fitness levels for a healthier lifestyle and saving money on fuel and parking.
The finding comes from savings website Pound a Day which says the average commute in the UK is an 8.7 mile car journey, costing £2,250 a year or £6.16 every day.
Those wishing to take part in the scheme can go online to the official website to find out more of the benefits and learn some helpful cycling tips to help them make the sustainable change to their routine.
To sign up for Ride to Work Week or to register a ride companies and individuals should simply go to: https://www.lovetoride.net/teesvalley