By Squadron Leader Simon Nelson-Kirby
Photos: Major Bjørn-Erik Solli and Lieutenant Colonel Dave Ethell


STAVANGER, Norway – The annual International Bike to Work Day (BWD) aims to promote the many benefits of cycling to work. The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) participated in this year’s event by organising a number of routes with over 30 personnel who rode to work on May 21. Experienced and novice riders used a variety of cycle types, including electric bikes and even a tandem made an appearance.

A few of the JWC Bike Club members volunteered to lead routes into work from Vatne Kamp, Sandnes, Madla, Hundvåg and Gausel.

The BWD aims to highlight the many benefits to be gained from not using a vehicle to commute into work; for example, the American Adventure Cycling Club reckons that if everyone in the United States left their vehicles at home and took an alternative mode of transport to work, then 700 million to 1.6 billion gallons of fuel could be saved per year. 

This would also massively reduce the carbon emissions and provide cleaner air for everyone. Less fuel used on the daily commute also means more money in the bank for cyclists, along with reduced maintenance costs and wear and tear on your vehicle – which in Norway can result in significant savings. 

Prior to joining the JWC, a lot of people probably completed the daily commute by car and it was rarely an enjoyable experience; hopefully, people now have the opportunity to cycle along a very scenic route, by a fjord of course, into work and this should also help to boost/maintain mental and physical fitness.



This growing interest in cycling to work also needs the support through road safety for both cyclists and vehicle drivers who share the road. Another key aim of the BWD is to address this safety concern. As more cyclists take to the road, better cycling infrastructure is required to be built by local councils and governments; fortunately, for the JWC riders, Norway has an excellent cycling network already in place.

I spoke to Lieutenant Commander Kevin Carter about this year’s event. "I used my electric bike to ride in from Hundvåg," he said, adding: "In my group, there were 10 of us, and it took 40 minutes to arrive at the JWC at a nice steady pace. What was great is that there were a couple of riders that had never ridden in before and they really enjoyed the experience. It was a good ride and not to forget the coffee and cakes on arrival, that was a very nice touch by the Bike Club."

Although the BTW event originated in the United States back in 1956, there are now a wide variety of similar events around the world, such as the UK’s Cycle to Work Day (5 August this year).

Final fact, the Netherlands is the world leader in bicycle usage, with a quarter of all journeys carried out by bike and there are around 22.9 million bicycles in a country of 17.2 million inhabitants, as last reported in 2020 by the Brussels Times

The growth of electric bikes is really helping to get more people into the saddle and take away the need to be a Tour de France style rider. This begs the question, “What’s stopping you from taking yourself out of the car and onto the bike?”