A new map developed by Sustrans with the support of other major cycling organisations helps key workers quickly find bike-related offers and services available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cycles for Key Workers map shows offers on bikes and equipment as well as repair and maintenance services. It also lists all bike shops that remain open in the UK.
There are four different types of pin on the map – one for access to a bike, with the others being for repairs and maintenance, equipment and gear, and bike shops that are still open.
Offers are searchable by both location and postcode, and the map – which you can find here – also has links to tips on cycling and walking and other advice.
Key workers account for 40 per cent of the UK workforce according to government statistics, and many have switched to bikes for their commutes during the ongoing crisis due to factors including convenience, low levels of motor traffic on the roads and avoiding public transport.
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on 23 March that the UK was entering lockdown, bike shops were one of the few categories of retailers allowed to stay open, with the government mindful of the role bikes play both for transport and exercise.
A number of operators in the UK cycling industry have sought to support key workers during the pandemic, including Brompton Bike Hire making bicycles available free to NHS staff, and retailers including Halfords providing free servicing.
— Brompton Bike Hire (@BromptonHire) April 14, 2020
Sustrans development director Susie Dunham, whose husband works for the NHS, commented: “In the COVID-19 crisis, cycling is critical for many key workers to get to and from work each day.
“The online map was created with the needs of key workers in mind and we hope it will prove useful for everyone needing to cycle to work, be it an experienced commuter who may need a spare part or a novice who needs access to a cycle.
“An average commute is 5 miles – a distance that can be easily cycled in less than 30 minutes. It’s fantastic to see how the cycling industry has come together to support the people who are working so hard to get us through this crisis.”
The initiative has been backed by the Department for Transport, and transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris, whose responsibilities include walking and cycling, said: “Many people who cannot work from home cycle to and from work, and it’s important we do everything we can to make their journeys easy, so they can concentrate on their essential jobs.
“Cycles for Key Workers is a great initiative which will help people find nearby cycle shops, bikes and equipment – as well as money-saving deals – so they’re able to travel during these unprecedented times.”
Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, posted the following video to Twitter about the map.
After a lot of hard work, it’s finally here!
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) April 16, 2020
Rachel Aldred, Reader in Transport at the University of Westminster, added: “I welcome this initiative helping make cycling more accessible for key workers and others making essential journeys.
“Cycling is a healthy mode of transport that can serve many such trips while being compatible with physical distancing.
“I’d like to see government and transport authorities doing their bit to enable safer cycling, as in Bogota where a large network of temporary cycle tracks has been quickly put in place to support essential trips.”
Businesses that have offers for Key Workers, or operate bike shops that are currently open, and are not currently listed on the map can fill in this form to be included.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.