Tour de force from RGU cyclists in national pedal power challenge

Staff at Robert Gordon University (RGU) rode a tour de force recently to log thousands of miles around Aberdeen as part of a cycling competition.

The National Cycle Challenge, which aimed to highlight how healthy and enjoyable cycling is, ran from Monday, June 8 until Sunday, June 28.

In that time 75 RGU employees clocked up a total of 5,481 miles to help the university finish third in the main Scotland category.

Dr Barbara McKenzie from RGU’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences was recognised as the top rider from 678 participants in Scotland. During the three-week challenge she rode 56 times, covered 207 miles and climbed 9,643 feet.

Colleagues Amar Nayak from Aberdeen Business School and Colin Jones from the university’s IT service were also in the top five riders in Scotland. Colin logged 257 miles in 41 trips and Amar 96 miles in 44 trips.

Dr McKenzie, who is a former pupil of Aberdeen’s Harlaw Academy, said: “I absolutely love riding, the sense of freedom it gives is unmatched. I also love tinkering with my bike, and have built my own from scratch. I try to encourage as many people as possible to get out there and explore.

“I am a mountain biker mainly, although I do have a road bike as well. I often ride to work or on tarmac, but my main enjoyment from riding comes when I'm exploring forests and mountains.

“Scotland was recently voted the best country in the world for mountain biking access, and it's easy to see why. Riding is an activity which can be as easy or challenging as you make it, and at the end of the day if you enjoy it, it doesn't matter how fast you go or how many miles you cover. I ride because I love riding.”

Judith Logan, Transport Manager at RGU helped organise the university’s participation in the competition.

She said: “I am delighted that so many staff took up the National Cycle Challenge and the university did so well in the Scotland category.

“Some have taken up cycling for the first time, some have rediscovered the joys of cycling, and those who already cycle have pushed themselves further and encouraged others to do the same. Hopefully this will become an annual event which we will continue to support.”

RGU’s participation in the National Cycle Challenge is the latest of a number of health and wellbeing based programmes at the university following the launch of the University’s ‘Fit for the Future’ initiative which takes a whole systems approach to health and wellbeing for staff and students.

Fit for the Future’s blog provides advice information on healthy eating and exercise from experts at the university.

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