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Around The World In 21 Days By Bicycle

Hundreds of workers from Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch have cycled over 74,700 miles during the Momentum Cycle Challenge – the equivalent of cycling over three times around the world.

Among those who took part were almost 150 people who had not ridden a bike for at least a year - and in some cases decades.

The three week competition between workplaces aimed to encourage people back onto bikes and in the case of those who already cycle, get them doing some more miles. Over 1,400 people from 98 local employers competed to clock up the greatest percentage of staff taking part, with cyclists’ trips being logged on a website and calculated in real time, so teams could watch their participation rates increase as more staff took to bikes.

As well as the competitive element to the challenge, participants were incentivised to take part with the chance of winning some great prizes donated by local companies, including new bikes, spa days, outdoor activity sessions and cinema tickets.

Gill Cook, who works at St Edward’s School in Poole, was typical of the many people who were encouraged to cycle more as a result of the challenge: "I already cycle to work regularly but the Challenge made me think about other regular journeys I could make by bike rather than by car - and I'm still doing some of them now even though the Challenge is over."

Among the teams who took part were some great success stories. Local cleaning company The Gleam Team organised a bike ride for staff and managed to get 16 people on bikes who hadn’t ridden for more than a year.

Business Development Manager Nikki Littlefair said: "As a company the Gleam Team are very keen to encourage staff to be both healthier and environmentally conscious. We were delighted how many of our staff entered the challenge, and it was particularly pleasing to see the smile on the face of our 70 year-old cleaner, who hadn’t been on a bike in 30 years, as he cycled around Poole Park with his colleagues.  We were thrilled to have won such a fantastic prize and it was great to be part of such a well organised event, with the added benefit of it being a good team building exercise."

Nikki and her colleagues were rewarded for their efforts by winning the prize for the team that got the most new cyclists involved - a fabulous day of abseiling and climbing for ten staff members donated by local outdoor activities firm Appetite for Adventure.

Councillor Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, who attended the prize giving event, Borough of Poole, said: "I am delighted that so many local businesses took part in this challenge and I hope it has reminded many people of how much fun cycling can be. Cycling is a great way to improve fitness, reduce your carbon footprint and make the most of the fabulous scenery that Poole has to offer."

Participating employers were divided into six categories according to how many staff they have. The winning teams were:

500+ Size Category – Bournemouth University
200 - 499 Size Category – CIB Banking International Tech – J.P. Morgan
50 - 199 Size Category – Transportation Services – Borough of Poole
20 - 49 Size Category – Dorset Prosthetic Centre – Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
7 - 19 Size Category – Sales Dept – Oceana Hotels
3 - 6 Size Category – Two Blue Hats consultancy

There were lots of other winners – all results and prize winners are available online.