A Bristol-based online platform that aims to encourage more people to cycle has secured an undisclosed sum to expand the business and hire more staff.
Love to Ride, which received the cash injection from ethical green bank Triodos, said it would also use the money to improve its tech and reach wider audiences.
The platform was launched in 2015 and has already grown to have more than 550,000 users, with more than 387 million miles of cycling logged.
The company’s platform applies behavioural change theory to encourage more people to cycle.
According to Love to Ride, it does this by engaging with individuals, employers and public bodies to establish localised campaigns, competitions and community building, giving people advice to overcome barriers to cycling.
The advice is tailored towards each user and the benefits that they associate with cycling – whether for mental or physical health, saving money or the environment.
Love to Ride is also the creator of Cycle September, the global bike challenge that takes place every year.
Thomas Stokell, chief executive of Love to Ride, said: “We want to make Love to Ride the global platform for getting more people riding.
“While the pandemic presented numerous challenges for the business, the boom in cycling means that we’ve never felt more relevant.
“We only have one planet and, as we all look towards net zero and trying to improve the air quality in our cities, cycling has a huge role to play, so it’s a great opportunity for us to grow and reach more communities.”
At the start of the pandemic, Love to Ride said it saw a drop in commuting trips being logged, but a “significant increase” in recreation riding, particularly from new and occasional riders.
Its main income is from local authorities and businesses – both large and small – that engage the platform’s services to encourage cycling in communities.
Phill Bate, business banking regional manager for the South West at Triodos Bank UK, added: “We’re always looking to support businesses that are actively pushing towards a greener future.
“Encouraging more people to cycle – and examining the barriers to them getting on their bikes, particularly in urban areas – is key to this. We hope that this new finance will help Love to Ride to expand and create an even wider impact.”
The loan was issued as part of the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), set up to provide financial support to SMEs. The scheme closed for new applications on March 31 and was replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme.
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