Doncaster Sheffield Airport cycles to victory

Firefighters from Doncaster Sheffield Airport beat off competition from all over the UK to top the table in the national Love to Ride: Cycle September cycling challenge.

“Our Fire Service Department are a great example of a tight knit team and also know the importance of fitness,” said Steve Gill, Chief Executive at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. “I think it’s a combination of the two which has driven them to do so well. Taking 1st place in the overall UK rankings is simply brilliant and very well-deserved.”

Well over half the 35 staff of the Rescue and Fire Fighting Service at the airport took part in the competition, which saw 1,991 people from 169 companies and organisations around South Yorkshire gaining points for encouraging friends and colleagues to cycle more often up to the end of September, and for clocking up over 461,000 cycling miles between them.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport’s  firefighters topped the national table for organisations with under 50 staff, while the airport as a whole also won the local South Yorkshire table for companies with under 500 staff, coming in at number 7 nationally ahead of organisations like the Environment Agency and the Scottish Parliament. (The national Cycle September competition saw over 3,000 organisations taking part).

Steve Gill said: “Placing first in the South Yorkshire category is a fantastic achievement and it’s due to the enthusiasm and dedication of all taking part that we’ve accomplished this.

“A number of staff cycle to work on a regular basis; it’s not only a fantastic way to keep fit but our cycle to work scheme means that employees at DSA can take advantage of tax-free cycling equipment. As an employer we have found the Love to Ride challenge to be a great incentive not only in helping employees to improve their fitness levels, but also encouraging a positive team ethos across all DSA departments.”

All nine members of the airport’s Red Watch firefighting team rode to victory in Cycle September, part of South Yorkshire’s inMotion! programme of Sustainable Travel initiatives funded by a £7.5m Access Fund for Sustainable Travel grant from the government.

The winning team included 53 year old firefighter Keith Dee who regularly cycle commutes 28 miles to work from his home near Castleford.

“I started off on a mountain bike, and although I'm not the fastest I wanted to see if I was up to it,” said Keith, who says the two hour commute saves him having to think about doing something to keep fit after his shift is over.

Aidy Gosnay was the airport’s top cyclist for the Love to Ride challenge, with 1,111 miles under his belt.

“We’re absolutely delighted with our achievement,” he said. “Staff from DSA covered over 4,600 miles in September, which is a pretty impressive feat! The Love to Ride challenge provided not only myself, but the entire team, with the motivation to get to the top spot – whenever we saw the other teams increase their points we’d be straight back out there to get in front!”

“The Doncaster Sheffield Airport firefighters should be very proud of themselves,” said Rosie Frazer of Love to Ride. “Their staff, of all ages, have shown how cycling to work makes a lot of sense for people these days, and I think they’re a great inspiration for anyone in South Yorkshire who’s thinking about how to fit cycling more often into their lives.”

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