One of Britain’s largest construction, property and engineering firms - BAM - has confirmed Britain’s current love-affair with cycling as it prepares to send over 100 of its employees on a nine-leg 900-mile trip of the UK in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. The firm has several regional offices forming the separate legs of the challenge which raises funds to support Macmillan nurses. A different team of cyclists set off each day over a nine day span with each team raising funds from suppliers and supporters in their areas.
“Cycling appeals to contractors like us as a charitable challenge for a variety of reasons”, says Ellie Jenkins, BAM’s Community Engagement Manager. “We have some very fit men and women who think nothing of cycling 100 miles. But the event also encourages people to test themselves, everyone loves a challenge! Last year we had a man enter who didn’t even own a bike when he signed up. It’s part of a real spirit of engagement.” Cycling seems to appeal universally across the firm. In 2012, one team cycled across Death Valley in California; another team cycled continuously for 24 hours. While building the new retail balcony for Network Rail at Waterloo station BAM set up two static bikes and invited the public to cycle a mile for charity. Even the local policeman took part over the two days. So popular is cycling proving in the Midlands that its division has set up a cycling club and a fifth of the company’s 2000-plus employees say they have raised money for charities through cycling. Ranked in the ‘Britain’s Best Companies to Work For’ list, BAM has capitalised on the interest shown by employees by having a green travel plan for each of its offices and its one hundred or so construction sites, and by running a discounted cycle-to-work scheme.
It has also sent six of its Kings Cross based HGV drivers on a training course offered by developers Argent and Camden Council to create "cycle awareness" and showing them what it is like to be a cyclist on London’s busy streets. It’s an important initiative: The construction industry operates some 30,000 lorries. In 2011 alone, construction lorries were involved in seven of 16 fatalities to cyclists in Greater London, even though HGVs comprise only 5% of motor traffic. Some of BAM’s own cyclists have been knocked off their bikes. Now the construction industry’s Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) is placing its first ‘industry spotlight’ on safer cycling. Edward Hardy, Chief Executive of the Scheme, said: “The initiative asks the industry to consider a number of issues currently affecting them. Through our focus on cycle safety we hope that by raising awareness of this important issue, sites across the UK will consider how their activities may impact upon cyclists.” Ellie Jenkins says the company’s knee-crunching efforts are also reaping big rewards for their community partners. “We’ve raised over £80,000 for four charities in the last two years through these cycling-related events and challenges. It’s allowing us to promote a healthier lifestyle, community engagement, and health and safety. And it really proves how much the British love getting on their bikes.” The ‘BAM bikes for Macmillan’ challenge commences on September 2 from Exeter and concludes in Glasgow. Along the way it also takes in Bristol, London, St Albans, Wellingborough, Coventry, Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle. It involves staff from each aspect of the company’s multi-faceted business: property developers, facility managers, contractors, plant experts, architects and engineers. ENDS MORE INFORMATION: Sponsor a BAM cyclist: http://www.justgiving.com/company/bam
CCS spotlight on cycle safety: http://www.ccscheme.org.uk/index.php/spotlight-on-cycle-safety