Walking and cycling provides a practical, cost effective, healthy and environmentally friendly alternative when travelling to and for work. Bicycle User Groups (BUG) and Walking Groups establish a voice and represent the views of cyclists and walkers in your organisation to work together to achieve shared goals.
What is a BUG and Walking Group?
A BUG or Walking group are made up of individuals who are cyclists or walkers that are keen to promote and encourage others in their workplace to do so. They are on hand to actively promote walking and cycling along with being the main point of contact for interested parties.
What are the benefits of a BUG or Walking Group?
Set up in your workplace, a BUG or walking group can help to:
- Make your workplace more cycling and walking friendly by providing a voice for improvements to facilities
- Increase the number of people walking and cycling
- Provide an informal and social opportunity for colleagues to be empowered, leading to improved engagement with management
- Provide support with events that encourage cycling and walking e.g. bicycle maintenance sessions or lunch time walks.
How to set up a BUG and Walking Group?
- Have a purpose for establishing a BUG or Walking group; is it to get more people cycling/ walking, is it to provide a voice for cyclists etc.
- Meet with senior management to explain the benefits and impact that the BUG or Walking Group may have.
- Become familiar with property/ security and reception managers, as they can provide support in decisions and ease the process when pushing for physical changes (e.g. additional cycle parking)
- Promote internally via Posters, emails, intranet, work social media channel
- Hold an initial meeting at lunch time, or preferably within work time, for anyone interested in joining a BUG or Walking group.
- Draw up some guidelines and aims for the group, with realistic objectives for what you want to achieve.
- Set a date for a follow-up meeting, and promote effectively.
Top Tips for a Successful BUG and Walking Group:
- Have a centralised mailbox with more than one member of staff able to access it.
- Have an opt-out system for new starters with a template email that provides a site map/ things you should know (e.g. where the cycle parking is)/ what support is available if you are new (e.g. guidance for new routes)
- Potentially use work Social Media / work intranet for communication, although this would depend on your companies policy
- If your organisation has an open forum where senior leaders are present, have a representative at these meetings.
- If there is potential to link with another group, try to do so (e.g. running clubs)
- Work with Travelwest to provide events/ information for your organisation
Remember, it is important to start small and remain consistent, building on previous successes to make larger changes.