ON YER BIKE: How NHSGGC is helping staff to swap four wheels for two

Scotland’s Climate Week: how NHSGGC is helping staff to swap four wheels for two
As part of Scotland’s Climate Week, NHSGGC has been encouraging staff to swap four wheels for two in its ongoing drive to promote sustainability and lower emissions.

Events such as Dr Bike have been taking place across our main hospital sites in recent weeks. This initiative provides staff with access to a bike expert where they can get repairs done and learns more about bike maintenance.

Through a partnership with OVO Bikes Glasgow, discounted memberships are available for all NHSGGC staff to encourage people to use a more active transport option when in the city centre.

The health board is also committed to installing secure bike storage across all of its main hospital sites for staff, patients and visitors to use, which cuts down on the use of cars, for those who are able to use pedal power.

Claudio Pia, Active Travel Officer with NHSGGC – who runs the Dr Bike sessions – said: “We advertise the sessions to staff and always hold them first thing in the morning – around 7-9am. That way we can reach the maximum number of people – staff getting in for the day shift, and staff leaving after the night shift.

“Anyone who’s on staff can bring their bikes along … we’re just keen to do anything to get people out of their cars.”

Active travel is a growing priority for NHSGGC and was among the key objectives in the Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy which had its official launch this week.

Among those taking up the offer to ditch the car for the bike is Rachel Harris, Research & Development Manager with NHSGGC’s Specialist Children’s Services. She cycles from the west end of the city to her office near Glasgow Green.

“I love my cycle to work,” she said. “I pass through Partick, then onto the cycle path beside the Clyde, along the Broomielaw and into Glasgow Green. The last part is my favourite, no traffic, cycling through the park under the trees, making sure I watch out for squirrels!

“Cycling helps to keep me fit, and provides a great destress on the way home. I hope others – whether they work for the NHS or not – give it a go. The more cyclists, the better it is for everyone.”

Louise Sole, a planning officer at Gartnavel Royal Hospital, has been cycling to work for more than two years. She said: “My journey is about 4 miles each way, which takes me around 20 minutes. I absolutely love cycling to work and it’s genuinely quicker than driving.

“When I first started, I used to commute on a hybrid bike and I was a little nervous about cycling on the road. After a few months, I took the plunge and got a road bike for the cycle to work scheme and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

“I’m so much more confident cycling now and my overall fitness has improved, not just my physical health but my mental health is better when I cycle.

“My journey to work in the morning really wakes me up and gives me the energy to take on the day. I can’t imagine ever going back to driving as I get so much benefit from cycling. I would encourage anyone to give it a try, you’ll feel so much better for it!”

Martin Johnston, Head of Sustainability at NHSGGC, said: “We want to promote and support cycling for everyone, so we’d encourage all staff – and any other members of the public who are able – to take inspiration from stories like Rachel’s and Louise’s.

“Cycling to work is quick, easy, and is a simple way to build fitness into people’s daily routines.

“Many employers offer a Cycle to Work scheme which makes getting a bike and all the equipment more cost-effective than people might expect, so we’d encourage everyone to give it a go.”

For more about NHSGGC’s active travel goals, go to Our Areas of focus – NHSGGC. To find out about NHGGC’s wider sustainability efforts, go to Sustainability – NHSGGC.

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