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Participants from the Active Travel Challenge 2019 discuss what the Challenge means to them.

Amy Law, Department for Infrastructure, Belfast

“The Active Travel Challenge really got me logging. The minute I got on the bus, I logged my journey and kept checking our work leader board. I found this really encouraged me. Seeing the Permanent Secretary of the Department encouraging staff to get outside during lunchbreaks really created a positive culture towards active travel.

I then went out on lunchtime walks with Sustrans and found out about cycle training. It was these lunchtime activities that got me exercising more and helped me lose weight for my wedding. I brought in a pair of trainers, which I kept under my desk.

By the end of the challenge I lost a stone and managed to keep it off. I also saved money, which I was able to put towards my wedding. The car hardly gets used anymore.”

Karen Moison, Libraries NI, Limavady

“I enjoyed participating in the 2019 Active Travel Challenge. When considering how else to reduce my carbon footprint – I am an avid reducer, re-user and recycler – I realised that I should reduce short car journeys, by increasing the number of days I walk to work. The Active Travel Challenge reminded me of my commitment and encouraged me to do better.

My mother, who is 93, lives 65 miles away, so I take the train to visit her, reducing my CO2 emissions and giving me time to read my library book! It’s so much more relaxing than driving.

I would encourage everyone to take part in the Active Travel Challenge this year. Having targets motivates us to do that little bit more. Reducing emissions, improving physical and mental health and saving money – it’s a win, win, win situation!”

Michael Cunningham, Public Health Agency, Belfast

“I have taken part in the Active Travel Challenges in the past and would encourage anyone to take part this year, as I found it a great encouragement to log journeys, measuring my personal achievements with the chance of winning prizes and a sense of competitiveness and team spirit across the participating workplaces”.

Before lockdown I cycled on a daily basis travelling to work and other leisure cycles. Over the past year I have been able to work from home and have kept up daily exercise, whether that is simply walking to the shops or walking or cycling for exercise along the greenways.

I found that getting out of the house and getting some exercise and fresh air has helped me with benefits to my mental and physical health and using my car a lot less over the past year.

I have recently used the train for leisure purposes, taking my bike on board to Mossley West, cycling back home along Newtownabbey Way and once to Larne cycling around the town and the cycle lanes.”