ALEX DOWSETT: HELPING OTHERS TO START CYCLING IS MY WINTER-SEASON GOAL
For many cycling professionals, time off the bike can be a premium. Having spent the best part of 10 months a year in an intense training and racing cycle, the winter season is often the perfect time to rest, reset and explore other endeavours.
So apart from catching up on the missed news from the Summer, and spending well-earned time with family, what do pro cyclists get up to out of the saddle? Well, for former UK national time trial champion and new Katusha-Alpecin signee Alex Dowsett, staying busy and continuing to encourage cycling from a grassroots level by investing his time in cycling initiative, Free2Cycle, remains a priority.
Free2Cycle is a new behavioural change initiative that encourages commuters to make a pledge to ride a bike to work. It works by sponsors encouraging team members to cycle to work by funding a bike via commute mileage at a rate of 20p per mile achieved. The brand-new bike is therefore earned by the cyclist using pedal power alone, and as long as they stick to their pledge, completely free.
Whilst other pros head off to sunnier climbs to relax and rejuvenate, as an investor in the behavioural change initiative, Alex spends a large amount of time advising cyclists about commuting by bike, and steps they can take to become healthier and happier. “I love the idea of cyclists paying for their bike by pedal power alone,” says Dowsett, “and the sponsors of these cyclists, typically employers will see real benefits that far outweigh the cost of the sponsorship.”
With no salary sacrifice from potential cyclists, it makes the Free2Cycle initiative extremely attractive to anyone and everyone, regardless of income. Alex adds: “On top of this, we live in a country with a huge population for its size and getting more people on bikes is only going to have a positive impact on the environment and everyone's health and wellbeing, plus strengthening our enjoyment of using the public road system.”
For Alex, having grown up in the home counties, he has always had to deal with cycling in and around major cities. “The current cycling infrastructure is improving, but it could always be better, for example the London hire bikes (Santander Cycle Scheme) are fantastic, it would be good to see more people wearing helmets and cycle lanes need to be user friendly for cyclists in all weathers” adds Alex “I don't think we are in a bad place right now but it could always be better and that's always what we should be striving for.”
Alex’s commute is a little different - his office is his bike - so he racks up a considerable amount of commuter mileage and he is keen to pass tips and skills on to potential cyclists.
For the rest of this year Alex has one more race in China before he starts building for next season with his new team. Alex will also be collecting an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University for his services to science, largely due to his charity work in the Haemophilia sector. Haemophilia is a condition Alex himself has and has learned to compete in elite professional sport with, Alex’s uses his story to inspire others.
Click here to watch Free2Cycle’s CEO explain how the new initiative works:
For more information please visit www.free2cycle.com
Like and follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/free2cycle/
Follow on Twitter: @Free2cycle
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Notes to editor
Growing the wellbeing and wealth of Great Britain, Free2Cycle is a behavioural change initiative that sets itself apart from other cycling business models.
There are no upfront costs and a simple, online registration and management process makes the whole concept of Free2Cycle as easy as riding a bike.
Free2Cycle is not a part of the current cycle scheme offering which provide a tax attractive option to buy a bike particularly for higher earners. It is an initiative which is focussed on encouraging people acquire a bike by riding it rather than pay for it with money.
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