Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has achieved a 100% cycle to work rate on some of its watch shifts.
The service has operated a cycle to work scheme - provided by Cyclescheme - since 2007, purchasing almost 800 bikes over that period for its workforce of 1,500 people.
The scheme has been run by assistant chief fire officer Paul Hill, who has constantly pushed to engage people with it. Most of this has been done through regular communication, sending out short articles to firefighters and other staff with information and data on the scheme.
"We've concentrated on the number of miles we've done, the watches that are now 100% ride-to-work where no one drives to work, and all the good news stories," he says. "So Bob has cycled 70 miles, used up 24,000 calories and he's been able to eat another 60 burgers as a result. We have complete visibility on what is going on and we make that available to everyone."
This also extends to shouting about achievements individuals have accomplished with their bikes.
"When someone has just done something good on their bike, such as cycling to Land's End and back and raising money for a hospice, he or she is probably really proud," says Hill. "There are so many wins there for the organisation and the individual, so why would you not shout about it?"
Hill has also been proactive in speaking to people in various stations, which has highlighted particular issues people were having. "One thing that came up was that if everyone cycled to work we hadn't enough parking, so we had to provide secure parking facilities for bikes at a number of locations," he says. Changing facilities are less of an issue, he adds, as stations have these anyway.
But he also believes his own personal commitment to the scheme - and particularly in helping people understand it and responding quickly to requests for information - has helped create momentum.
"I've been promoted twice since we took this on and I've never handed it over, only because I understand the scheme completely," he says. "It's as much about how you engage and respond to requests for help as it is about the scheme itself. If you respond immediately while they're thinking about it they're very keen, but two days later they've lost interest."
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