British Cycling is looking to re-energise its Social Cycling Groups initiative by rebranding it and launching a new social media campaign to support it.

The online Social Cycling Groups scheme aims to improve grassroots participation by connecting cyclists to each other and enable them to create and join groups and rides in their own geographical areas. Launched in 2012, the social network has so far attracted SKy Ride Cyclingaround 19,000 people to sign up and British Cycling estimates that more then 2,500 bike rides have been organised using the website Go Sky Ride.

The Governing body has appointed marketing agency Ear to the Ground to devise the new brand and campaign for the service.

Ear to the Ground is currently undertaking a research project which will be used as a basis for a brand refresh and campaign that will be promoted across the major social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Website and so on.

One year on since the launch of British Cycling’s Social Network, Social Cycling Groups has helped thousands of cyclists across the UK to get out on their bikes. Over 19,000 people have joined the network, forming over 500 ride groups, creating and taking part in 2,500 social bike rides. Cycling UK SOCIAL

Now with the new website, they’ve changed a few things to make it easier for you to find people to ride with in your local area, can now message buddies directly to organise a bike ride, can create and join rides more quickly and easily and can get live updates on new rides, groups or buddies that are near you.

Emma Bates, British Cycling Social Cycling Officer, said that, ‘The new improvements make it even easier for people to chat online, organise rides and get out riding- which is what it’s all about!.’

They will also be sending out more regular updates to users to let them know whats happening on their profiles- including who wants to be your cycling buddy, and who’s invited you on a social next week.

In relation to Cycling Ireland, they created a new programme, Bike for Life, which makes cycling more accessible to everyone, regardless of age, gender or ability. This new move see’s Cycling Ireland engage with both the casual cyclist and the more avid peddler. It was launched on the 10th June 2013 and is a 10 week programme that hopefully will turn into a permanent thing.

The focus of the 10 week programme is on instilling confidence in cyclists by teaching them skills for all situations, while having a majorBike-for-Life-Logo focus on fun and social interaction. Through meet and spin groups, led by a qualified cycling coach, cyclists will be brought through topics like nutrition and goal-setting, along with learning skills like group cycling on the road and bike maintenance.

One of the main aims of Bike for Life is to close the gender gap in cycling, where 85% of the Cycling Ireland membership is currently male. It also aims to communicate with all people who want to cycle more, but are unsure where to begin.

Sponsored by the HSE, “Get Ireland Active”, initiative, Bike for Life will be instrumental in developing a strong cycling culture in Ireland, where we are experiencing a cycling boom. Head of health promotion in the HSE, Nazih Eldin said, “Cycling is a non-weight bearing activity that is easy on your joints, making it an inclusive health enhancing physical activity.”

The Irish Sports Council, who also supports Bike for Life through their Women in Sport initiative, recently confirmed cycling as one of the 3 accessible means of physical activity, along with walking and swimming.

Read More Here (Social Cycling Groups, UK)

Read More Here (Bike for Life)