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Kits include locks, lights and high-vis gear, as well as repair tools

South Gloucestershire firms have grouped together to create emergency bike first aid kits - that they hope will encourage staff to cycle to work.

More than 20 firms along the A4174 ring road - which represent around 40,000 staff members and 30,000 students, have cooperated to deposit specialist kits at workplaces.

These include essential cycle maintenance tools and spare equipment such as lights, locks and high-visibility jackets, to help out riders who might otherwise be stranded when they forget something.

The employers involved include Airbus, HP, Mitie, Friends Life and the Bristol & Bath Science Park, as well as the University of the West of England and NHS Blood & Transplant.

The scheme was introduced by North Bristol SusCom, which stands for 'Sustainable Commuting' and is a partnership between local businesses.

SusCom Director Ann O’Driscoll said: "We all recognise the importance of sustainable transport, such as cycling, as a way of reducing congestion and promoting healthy lifestyles.

"Cycling to work is a great way to get fit and save money and this scheme aims to make it as easy as possible for staff to do this.

"Flat tyres or forgotten locks can be a big nuisance for cyclists and this scheme aims to encourage people to bike to work in the knowledge that help is at hand should it be needed."

SusCom also operate a pool bike scheme for businesses.

The National Composite Centre at the Bristol & Bath Science Park is one of many local employers to have recently taken delivery of a kit. Chief Executive Peter Chivers said: “The NCC is fully committed to providing our employees with sustainable and healthy travel to work alternatives.

“As a keen cyclist myself I had the misfortune of two punctures on my way to work by bike this summer. I can understand the impact and challenge that making a repair can make and the additional time which can impact on the working day.

“The NCC is therefore really pleased to participate in the scheme because it gives a win all round, benefitting the environment, the employee and the business.”

Cllr Brian Allinson, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council’s planning, transportation and strategic environment committee, said: "Many people live within three or five miles of their workplace, making cycling an ideal means of getting to work.

"And with recent investment in cycle routes in South Gloucestershire, there has never been a better time for people to get on their bike – especially with the added reassurance that any minor maintenance problems can be resolved when they get there, thanks to this excellent emergency kit scheme."

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.