Park staff cycle to new challenge

The winning Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust team celebrate their success with Emma Spence and Lynn Cramman from Cobalt (middle row).
The winning Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust team celebrate their success with Emma Spence and Lynn Cramman from Cobalt (middle row).

STAFF at Cobalt have beaten records this summer by completing more than 2,500 journeys to work by bike.

More than 500 staff based at the North Tyneside office park swapped their car for two wheels as part of the Big Bike Challenge 2011.

Over the 20-day challenge 1,500 kg of CO2 was saved – the equivalent of 654 filled balloons.

The team from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was crowned overall champions by completing more journeys to work by bike per person than any other occupier.

Emma Spence, active travel co-ordinator for UK charity Sustrans, works with the travel team at Cobalt.

She said: “This year more staff than ever before took on the challenge – we have seen a huge number of people cycle to work instead of bringing the car.

“Each year competitors tell us that taking part in the Big Bike Challenge has helped them change their journey to work.

“Not everyone is able to cycle each day but we do encourage people to cycle when they can.

“We even have some people who bring their bike to work and cycle in their lunch break in the 39 acre countryside park at the heart of Cobalt.

“The health benefits to cycling are undeniable.

“In fact our cyclists have collectively burned over 800,000 calories – which is the equivalent of 3,500 Mars bars.”

The winners have been awarded a guided bike ride in Kielder Forest with Gosforth-based Steel Cycles as well as adult cycling lessons for those who want to boost their confidence on two wheels.

Jean Cawkwell, challenge champion for the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Big Bike Challenge was an exciting and fun initiative to be involved in and we are delighted to have won.”

“As one of the largest providers of health and social care in the region, we are committed to encouraging our staff to take part in healthy activities and cycling to work is an excellent way of incorporating exercise into everyday routines.

“We are pleased that our staff took part and would like to thank them for their efforts.”

Lynn Cramman, travel and community coordinator at Cobalt, said: “We have a vibrant community at Cobalt and organisations really get involved in activities.

“I am delighted this year’s Big Bike Challenge was a success – not only to have so many people enjoying the competition, but to reduce our carbon footprint at the same time.”

The Cobalt community has grown to over 10,000 employees who benefit from top discounts across the region with the MORE community card as well as over 40 on-site events including football and netball tournaments, pilates classes and boot camps.