Back in 2020, there was a huge  45% year-on-year increase in the number of miles cycled in the UK, as much of the population had to stay local and exercise outdoors.

Taking advantage of quieter roads or looking to avoid using public transport, many people dusted down their old bike, adapted what would have been their daily commute, or hunted for an elusive new bike.

Numerous organisations and businesses looked tcapitalise on this growing trend, including manufacturers and retailers. But many of these cyclists, both experienced and new, were still looking for a sense of community. Aiming to bring people together and encourage even more people to cycle was online platform – and Triodos customer – Love to Ride.

Love to Ride applies behavioural change theory to encourage more people to get on their bikes. It does this by engaging with individuals, employers and public bodies to establish localised campaigns, competitions and community building, giving people advice to overcome barriers to cycling. It is also the creator of Cycle September, the global bike challenge that takes place every year.

The platform was launched in 2015 and has over 550,000 users, with more than 387 million miles of cycling logged.

Advice is tailored towards each user and the benefits that they associate with cycling – whether for mental or physical health, saving money or the environment. Users can register online for free and are encouraged to record their rides, set goals, share their experiences and engage with the community.

“We want to make Love to Ride the global platform for getting more people riding. While the pandemic presented numerous challenges for the business, the boom in cycling means that we’ve never felt more relevant,” comments Thomas Stokell, CEO of Love to Ride. “At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Love to Ride naturally saw a drop in commuting trips being logged, but a significant increase in recreation riding, particularly from new and occasional riders.”

It’s not just the pandemic that’s turned more people towards cycling, the climate emergency has also led many people to consider their modes of transport. Thomas adds: “We only have one planet and, as we all look towards net zero and trying to improve the air quality in our cities, cycling has a huge role to play, so it’s a great opportunity for us to grow and reach more communities.

The lending from Triodos Bank will allow Love to Ride to grow further, as it looks to increase staff and further improve its technology to reach wider audiences.

“We’re always looking to support businesses that are actively pushing towards a greener future, says Phill Bate, business banking regional manager for the South West at Triodos Bank UK. “Encouraging more people to cycle – and examining the barriers to them getting on their bikes, particularly in urban areas  – is key to this. We hope that this finance will help Love to Ride to expand and create an even wider impact.”