Nantes Métropole is involved in the Bike2Work project which aims at promoting the choice of cycling for commuting trips.
In this context and parallel to the reception of Velocity in 2015, it has tested a new version of its support to local companies involved in company travel plans with the launch of a bike challenge from 18 May to 3 July 2015 .
Named the world’s fifth-most bicycle-friendly city and European Green Capital 2013, Nantes also held the 10th ECOCITY World Summit for Sustainable Cities in 2013, for the first time in Europe. Situated at the crossroads of Eurovelo bike routes 6 and 1, two major cyclo-tourism routes, it hosted the European edition of the Velocity conference in June 2015.
With the launch of a second cycle plan (2016-2020) , Nantes Métropole pursues its objective to achieve a cycling modal share of 12 per cent by 2030. The promotion of cycling for commuting is a major focus of this strategy, supported in particular by company travel plans, contracts between local companies and the Metropole (a total of 470 companies involved in 2016).
The first bike challenges were launched from 2009 to 2012 and then turned into carpooling challenges and mobility challenges in 2013 and 2014. These allowed employers to stimulate the most relevant modes of transport according to their location.
In 2015, as part of the Bike2Work project and during the cycling / Velocity year, it was decided to revive a 100 per cent bike challenge at larger scale, with the following objectives:
- convince employees that the bicycle is often an effective mode of commuting that's positive in many ways;
- show commitment of employers in promoting cycling and value the practices of their employees who cycle;
- focus the challenge on the value of togetherness.
In practice, during the 6 weeks of the challenge, the employer could choose his package à la carte, both in terms of duration and type of activities, theme, evaluation process, the aim being that each company could define the tools that best fitted its profile and its objectives.
Continuous support was proposed by the Métropole with the help of his subcontractor Transway, to give advice, provide and customise tools (quiz, surveys, communication material, etc.), connect employers with mobility operators and finally organise and make available a range of activities and services: picnics, bike demonstration, bike forum.
Lastly, Nantes Métropole directly organised three events to promote togetherness with cycling. During these three inter-company picnics, participants were offered free coffee and access to a maintenance/revision workshop and an information and bike testing stand (electric and foldable bikes).
Ninety-three companies participated (20 more than at the last edition in 2012) , representing 27 000 employees. A cycling ambassador was identified in each company and received personalised assistance to organise the challenge. Some examples of activities organised:
- Picnics: five held during the period including three at the initiative of Nantes Métropole and two at the initiative of companies, with a total of 490 participants.
- Two breakfasts and two apéros (drinks).
- Two quizzes.
Picnics between companies have been particularly acclaimed.
Despite the interest of the idea, the proposed pooling of resources and activities between large companies and smaller ones (principle of sponsorship) did not work well. However, the adjustable follow up system has allowed for a closer support to companies, focusing the level of support where it was most needed.