The Big Northumberland Gear Change | How To Get Involved

This is an advertisement for August 2021. Any edits / reshares beyond this date have not been asked or paid for. 

The Big Northumberland Gear Change is a campaign hoping to inspire more walking and cycling across my home county of beautiful Northumberland and I am delighted to be involved. 

Over the past year or so, our car usage has been at an all time low (for obvious reasons) and the money we have saved along with the environmental and health benefits is something I am keen to continue and we hope to leave the car at home and use public transport, walk and cycle more often than we previously would have.

You may have already noticed an increase in us doing this on my Instagram Stories. I will be honest when I say that I am not ready to go completely car-free but every little does help and this campaign is all about making small changes which when combined, have a big impact. 

Did you know that 1/3 of all journeys made in Northumberland are only 5km (that's just over 3 miles)? This distance should be achievable by most to walk / cycle and making this simple switch has lots of benefits including improving physical and mental health and reducing carbon emissions. Northumberland hopes to achieve a net zero emissions target by 2030 and we can all play a small part in helping to reach this goal. 

Free Challenges To Try 

Northumberland Gear Change has set a series of FREE challenges for residents of all ages and abilities to get involved with. The aim is to increase walking and cycling in the region this summer (and beyond) and help to collectively reduce car emissions and improve our overall health and wellbeing. I am going to be taking part in various challenges over the next few weeks and sharing how I get on across Social Media - I hope I inspire you to join in and try some yourself too. 

Sign up to the FREE Northumberland Gear Change Six Week Challenge here and check out the various mini challenges to try which are nice and simple but when combined, will make a big difference across Northumberland. Please don't feel pressured to complete them all if some of them aren't for you or to complete them all within 6 weeks. This really is a case of every little action will make a difference. Of course, if you are able to, completing the full six week challenge is quite an achievement and a brilliant goal to aim for too. 

Here are some of the challenges available: 

Challenge One - The Big Co2 Swap 

If every Northumberland resident swapped 1 mile of car travel for walking or cycling per day, collectively we would save over 26 tonnes of car exhaust Co2 across one month. That's incredible! The Northumberland Gear Change website includes a handy chart so you can keep track of your progress and share your results online. 

Challenge Two - 10 Minute Challenge 

For one month, ditch the car for all journeys that would take less than 10 minutes or less (this would usually be less than 1 mile round trip). I am guilty for jumping in the car to my mam's house sometimes of to the local shops - both of which are within a mile so this is a challenge I am keen to get involved with. 

Did you know? An extra 20 minute walk per day would walk off an additional 36,500 calories across the year? 

Challenge Three - The Weekly Walk 

I love the idea of this challenge. Once a week for six weeks, challenge yourself to find a new local walk to try in Northumberland. I am definitely up of this as I love finding new places to explore. Watch this space! 

Did you know? A brisk 10 minute walk racks up an impressive 2000 steps and can burn off 100 calories? 

Challenge Four - One Journey Less 

For a month, think of one journey per week that you usually take by car that could be completed on foot or by bicycle instead. Or maybe the journey is unnecessary and could be cut out altogether? I definitely think I could reduce the number of trips I have to the supermarket with a bit of forward planning.......

Challenge Five - The Sustainable 7

Challenge yourself to completely ditch your car for a whole 7 days.

Did you know, studies have shown that regular cyclists enjoy the general health of someone 10 years younger? 

Challenge Six - Switch & Save 

Challenge yourself to save £50 on fuel as quickly as you can and save this £ for a rainy day or to treat yourself. 

I used this website to calculate that switching the car or not using the car for 100 miles per week would save us £11 per week or £47 per month which works out at £572 per year. Not to be sniffed at! 

The Northumberland Gear Change website has lots of resources, printable downloads and advice for getting involved. I think these mini challenges are a brilliant way to get the whole family involved and the kids will enjoy it too. You could even challenge your friends / family / neighbours to join you and make it an extra group effort. 

Find out more over on the Northumberland Gear Change Six Week Challenge here. 

If these challenges aren't for you but you still want to get involved with increasing your walking and cycling around Northumberland, or perhaps you have completed the challenges and are looking for more ways to switch, check out the 'Starting Out' section of the Northumberland Gear Change website which includes information and links to the following: 

  • Northumberland Walking Groups 
  • Northumberland Health Walks 
  • Northumbria Short Circuits Walking Group 
  • NorthWalk 20-30s Walking Group 
  • Northumberland Cycling Groups 
  • Apps to Help with Walking / Cycling in the region 
  • Ways to Get Started 
  • Habit Maker Downloads and Charts 
  • Northumbria Family Walking Group 

More than a beginner? That's no problem there are resources for taking things to the next level too. 

I am joining in with the six week challenge and using some of the resources available on the Northumberland Gear Change website. I will be sharing how we get on over the next few weeks using #TheBigNorthumberlandGearChange 

If you get involved, please use the hashtag too - you may just inspire someone else to take part and the ripple effect will start to take place. 

Look out for my posts over the next few ways sharing my experience with the challenges and simple ways you can reduce your car usage whilst still exploring beautiful Northumberland and going about your daily life too. I would love you to join me too. 


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