Cycle to Work
Active Travel Roadshows – 2024
Come along and speak to Translink & Sustrans about how you can use the glider, bike, bus or train while travelling to and from work.
We will be coming to the Royal Hospital on the dates below to help you with any queries you may have about using the glider, bike, bus or train. Sustrans will also be available to talk about the FREE initiatives on offer for Belfast Trust staff.
Stalls will be based at Spoons Restaurant between 12pm and 2pm on the dates below:
- 23rd January
- 9th & 20th February
- 5th & 26th March
- 9th & 23rd April
- 7th & 24th May
- 4th & 21st June
January is always a good time to start a new resolution, so why not try Public Transport to get to and from work. Or even try cycling!! The Royal Hospitals is at the centre of local public transport routes.
There is a FREE Park & Ride bus for Belfast Trust staff that travels between the Royal Hospitals and Black’s Road regularly – Service 646
We also have a new Cycling Hub at Elliot Dynes to support staff cycling and walking to work.
If you want to hear more please come along to find out the best deal for you even if you are already a user of public transport or a regular cyclist.
FREE promotional merchandise will also be available!!
OVER 4000 MEMBERS OF STAFF HAVE ALREADY SIGNED UP
WILL YOU JOIN THEM?
To encourage a healthier lifestyle and reduce our carbon footprint, the Trust operates a Cycle to Work scheme. The scheme enables staff to sacrifice part of their salary with savings of up to 42% in return for a brand new bike and safety accessories to be used for cycling to work.
How it works
Through the scheme, the Trust buys the bicycle and accessories selected by the employee. Then, over the next 12 months, the Trust hires the bicycle to you, charging you through a salary sacrifice arrangement for the duration of the hire period.
At the end of the hire period, the Trust may transfer ownership to you at a minimal cost, therefore, you would be receiving a benefit in kind which is taxable.
How to Apply
Applying is simple just go to www.cycle2work.info to register your interest.
Alternatively, you can call 08450 778850.
You’ll need our employer code which is BHSCTC2W
Secure Bike Parking
Once you have your lovely new bike we want to make sure it stays safe while you are at work. That’s why we have secure bike compounds at the following locations:
- Children’s Hospital x 2
- School of Dentistry x
- Elliot Dynes x 1
- Plenum x 1
- Kelvin x 1
- Pharmacy x 2
- CDU x 1
- Elliot Dynes Hub (rear entrance) with 32 spaces including shower and change facilities in the adjacent building
Belfast City Hospital
- Security Carpark x 2
- Loading Bay x 1
- Cancer Centre x 1
Wellbeing & Treatment Centres
- Shankill x 1
- Beech Hall x 1
Musgrave Park Hospital
- Rheumatology Car Park
- Main Hospital Car Park
Knockbracken Healthcare Park
- Admin Building Car Park
Each compound holds on average 10 bikes and access is gained by entering a key code on the door. For further details contact Travelplan@belfasttrust.hscni.net
MORE BENEFITS FOR STAFF
To further enhance the benefits for staff cycling to work, Belfast Trust has teamed up with Halfords to bring you cycle2work.
From 2nd April 2013, Halfords have administered the Trust’s Cycle to Work Scheme allowing us to free up resources to promote and administer other travelling to work initiatives focused on sustainable travel.
Halfords have set up partnerships with around 25 local suppliers across Northern Ireland to ensure that staff can select a bike from a store that is convenient to them and purchase brands that Halfords may not stock.
As well as the tax savings on a new bike and accessories, this partnership with Halfords has the added benefits of a first 6 week service, a 1 year bike care plan and various discounts available to staff.
- 2,000 people have already signed up
- Select the bike that suits you
- Choose from over 40 local bike retailers
- Various additional discounts available
- Change to partnerships with 40 plus suppliers, 3000 plus people already signed up
“I CYCLE TO WORK EVERY DAY”
Consultant nephrologist, Peter regularly Cycles to work, and between the Royal Victoria and Belfast City hospital sites.
- Do your bit to reduce pollution
- Reap the health benefits
- First 6 week service free!
- 1 year bike care plan free!
Personal Story on Electronic Bikes : Sarah Foster Jarden (BHSCT)
My name is Sarah, I’m in my late 50’s and very unfit but fortunately have no arthritis or rheumatism, just age-related aches and pains! I live 15 miles outside Belfast down the Lagan Valley, and work in the North and West of the city in Day Centres, so my bases are fairly static.
I learnt to cycle when I was very small, forcing my favourite uncle to run up and down the garden holding the bike up until I got my balance, (thanks Uncle Bob, you gave me a gift that has lasted me a lifetime!) I was a keen cyclist when I was younger, cycling to and from school, friends, groups and sports for many years. Starting on a bike that had 12” wheels (do you remember E.T.?) and progressing up to a ‘real’ bike with 26” wheels. My school friend said I was like the wind on the new bike as I was so used to pedalling like a maniac to keep up with her! I progressed to college and to motor powered transport and the cycling fell by the wayside.
Then the work internet advertised a ‘Try an E-Bike’ taster session courtesy of the Leading the Way programme with Sustrans and I signed up………well……….
IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!!!
I had genuinely forgotten how much fun cycling is, this little taster session re-ignited my desire to cycle again, and I started looking at how I could do this.
I live in a hilly area, and I knew that this would be a problem for rickety 50+ knees, but the E-Bike option was something that could overcome this. I decided that in future I would like to use a bike for work, going to the local shops to improve my fitness and leisure to enjoy the local countryside more.
Being in the Health Service I was able to take part in the ‘Borrow an E-Bike’ scheme and borrowed a full-size e-bike with Mid Drive (take note of ‘Mid Drive’ oh best beloved), this was a total success. This bike has Mid Drive (did you remember this oh best beloved?) which feels just like cycling as normal with added strength, it feels absolutely natural. I was able to cycle round the local area (it makes the hills easy peasy) AND cycle to work 3 times. My first route took me up and over the hills and was a possibility with the e-bike. My second choice of route was through the Lagan Valley and the roads are quite busy this way, though when you get nearer to Belfast there are bus lanes to cycle in, these made it feel much less scary. This is a round trip of about 30 miles and I chickened out of the return 15 miles by cycling down to the train and getting it to Lisburn giving me a manageable 23-mile round trip. The weather was beautiful, which helps, and I don’t have a problem rising early so the bit earlier than normal start was grand.
This is fine in summer, looking at longer term I wondered if using a bike/train to and from work would be better in the winter weather. I asked Translink, they don’t allow full sized bikes on the trains before 9.30, I start earlier than that, so it doesn’t suit, but a folding bike is allowed at any time.
So Sustrans to the rescue, they have a folding e-bike that I could try, so off I whizzed to swop my transport. I received the folding e-bike, it has small wheels and Hub Drive (do you remember the Mid Drive oh best beloved?) and requires two or three turns of the pedals to kick in (Oh boy!) and is very swift and nippy round town and handy enough on the train, but for my longer run home it was not as much fun as the bigger bike, feeling rather slow and small on the country roads.
I found that riding on the roads after so many years was certainly an experience. The traffic in general was pretty good and gave me the 2m, for which I thank those drivers. In town pedestrians are a bit of a shock, some tend to just walk out in front of you, which is a surprise, and I wasn’t quick enough to use the bell, a high-pitched shriek seems to work just as well though! (Note: if you are a pedestrian, please look out for silent traffic too!)
If you are considering an E-bike Cycle to Work or a bike for leisure or fitness here’s what I have learned.
- Hub drive and Mid Drive (remember this oh best beloved?) are different, very different, I would recommend you try both, and consider where, how and when you’ll be riding
- E-bikes take the awfulness out of hills, but there will be some effort, they aren’t mopeds.
- Don’t underestimate yourself – 5 miles on an e-bike is really achievable, even your first ride.
- Be careful not to run out of battery power, not so awful on the full-size bike but really not good in the countryside on a wee wheeled bike L
- Be prepared to enjoy your bike, the E-bike really opened the world up for me. I never thought I could cycle 15 miles in one go, well, I can!
- Cycling has progressed since I first had a bike, look carefully at what you want and make a list, then try lots of different bikes to find your perfect fit for you and your lifestyle.
My mission now is to find myself an e-bike and panniers to do the run from home to work then work, train, home. For me this works best, and due to commitments, I’d expect to do this maybe 2-3 times a week, perhaps less in winter. At least this year’s Christmas present requests will be easy – buy me bike stuff!
If you are inspired by Sarah’s story and would like to give an e-power a go, contact Dianne.firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07812 470791 to arrange. A wide variety of bikes are available for free short term loan through the ‘Borrow a bike’ scheme.
The Leading the Way with Workplace Active Travel project funded by PHA aims to encourage staff in some of Belfast’s largest workplaces* to encourage and facilitate active and sustainable travel. I*Belfast Trust, Department for Infrastructure, Public Health Agency & Belfast City Council)
Read Anne’s story to find out how she got into cycling.
Anne Ramsey, BHSCT
I am the senior ophthalmic photographer based in the Royal hospitals. I have had a varied employment background. I am an experienced road user, ex Citybus driver and motorcyclist. I worked as a bicycle courier to fund myself through college. I have always been happier on two wheels.
Life changed for me after my divorce, a new home and trying to get by day to day. I bought a bicycle for £10 and started cycling to work as public transport in my area was slow due to heavy traffic. This was 10 years ago, and I have cycle commuted since then. I moved to a new house 6 years ago which meant a hillier commute, so I got my first bike through the cycle to work scheme, it was an electric bike.
I rode the ebike every day for everything shopping, commuting and pleasure. After 2 years I discovered that I had to register the ebike and have it road legal as you would a motor vehicle. I got the bike road legal with a number plate and motorcycle insurance. Then in May 2020 the law changed to relax the regulations. By this stage the ebike had done a lot of miles and had gone through both wheel rims and the battery cells failed. I decided that it was time for a new bike and due to my fitness levels increasing because of years of cycling I bought a non electric standard bicycle.
My new bike was a specialised tourer, I put panniers on and used it as my main mode of transport. Cycling has improved my health. Commuting by bicycle and eating a healthier diet has helped me shed 5 stone within a year. I am 53 but feel as fit as I did when I was in my 20s. I have type 2 diabetes and I am hoping to put my diabetes into remission when I return to a healthier weight.
I became a transport champion just before the pandemic. I want to help encourage others to discover the joys of cycling. Most barriers are in the mind, my wife cycles, she is registered disabled and finds it easier to cycle than to walk. I bought her an ebike and she was able to cycle a year after spinal fusion. Colleagues ask me all the time about my cycling and are keenly interested in doing the same but traffic and lack of safe infrastructure puts them off. There has been an increase in segregated cycle lanes due to an uptake in cycling because of covid, I am hoping they will build on this as I know the need is there. I have noticed that the cycle sheds in the Royal are now at full capacity with the increase in cycle commuters, something I have never seen in winter before. I wonder what spring and summer shall bring.
|Guest blogger Sarah Foster Jarden shares how an e-bike loan from Sustrans’ Leading the Way project in Belfast, changed how she commutes to work. Hear Sarah’s experiences, after more than 30 years of not riding a bike. And discover her top tips for returning to cycling with an e-bike.
The Leading the Way programme is open to all Belfast employees of:
Belfast Health & Social Care Trust
Belfast City Council
Business Services Organisation
Department for Infrastructure
Public Health Agency
|Cards, gifts and festive cheer! Find a Christmas present for the cyclist or walker in your life here. Every purchase supports Sustrans’ mission to help people walk and cycle.
Great stocking filler or Secret Santa gift for the commuter cyclist, Translink’s Bike Fob for cycle shelters at bus and train stations across NI.
Thinking of a new bike for 2023 check out Sustrans one-stop shop guide on how to choose the right bike for you.
The Leading the Way team would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how your workplace can keep supporting your Active Travel journey. Would you like to see different events or activities, advice or information? Click the button below
|Share your thoughts
|All activities are FREE, bikes/helmets can be provided on request. Terms & conditions apply. Please feel free to share with colleagues too!
Coming in 2023; Reset your Steps Challenge (Jan), Step Back in Time Belfast City Centre led walks (Feb). Women into Cycling programme (Mar)