HUNDREDS of people are starting to feel the benefits after switching driving their car alone for either a bike, walking or car sharing.

The Let's Go Tees Valley Challenge saw hundreds of people, including staff from EE in Darlington, ditch their motor for a more sustainable way of getting to work.

Figures released by the group show that 15 per cent of those who took on the Commuter Challenge switched to riding a bike to work.

Nick Dent, 54, from Middlesbrough who used his bicycle to get to work during the week-long challenge, said: "Cycling is brilliant – it takes me about 35 minutes to cycle to work compared with 20 minutes in the car, but I get exercise and fresh air and generally just a buzz.

"My car journey is usually along the A174, the A19 and the A66 which are generally not bike friendly, so I plotted a route from home to the River Tees and then once at the River Tees there is a dedicated cycle path to work. This is the route I used during the Let's Go Tees Valley Commuter Challenge.

"Plus, I don't get caught in traffic jams and I can prepare for the day ahead or just watch the rowers on the river."

Laura Duncan, from Hartlepool, was another of the participants who took to cycling. The keen rugby player, who works at a local leisure centre, found the five-mile round trip each day helpful for maintaining her fitness.

The 34-year-old said: "I've really enjoyed the journeys to and from work on my bike. The benefits from riding to work just make me feel mentally and physically more prepared to face the day.

"I have really enjoyed being out on my bike and it's something that I've kept up as it's also helping with preseason rugby fitness. I'll be looking forward to the next challenge in September."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has also praised the scheme. He said: "The Challenge has seen a fantastic turnout and it's great to know people like Laura and Nick are seeing the benefits of getting more active to and from work.

"In the past two years, we've invested almost £4million to improve travel for pedestrians and cyclists across Tees Valley. These include the new Parkgate Bridge in Darlington and refurbishment of cycle infrastructure along the Brenda Road in Hartlepool, making these safer, smoother and quicker than ever.

The Challenge will be returning for another week in September.

To find out more about getting you and your workplace involved, visit the Let's Go Tees Valley website at

To see a full breakdown of national cycling statistics, visit the Cycling UK website at