Inspired by a London key worker, charity Sustrans has created a new website – Cycles4KeyWorkers – to make cycling easier for key workers during covid-19
Key workers across London can now find stores that offer deals on cycles and equipment as well as bike repair and maintenance services available in their area, with an online map.
The map provides details about on offer cycles and equipment; free or discounted repair and maintenance services; free and discounted bike sharing schemes; and the bike stores that remain open. It also features links to tips on how to cycle and walk to work for new riders and other useful information.
As the lockdown carries on, one of the notable things on Croydon’s less-busy streets is how more people have taken to their bikes, whether for their daily exercise or – especially for NHS and key workers – as a reliable means of travel while maintaining physical distancing.
Currently, around 40 per cent of the UK workforce is classed by government as key workers, including NHS employees, cleaners, carers and supermarket workers.
Bicycle shops were one of the few retailers listed by the government allowed to remain open during the lockdown, if they wish to, to ensure transport for key workers and last-mile deliveries can be maintained.
As Inside Croydon reported, one enterprising cycle business has even loaned out a delivery trike to help with food deliveries to staff working at Croydon’s Mayday Hospital.
Since the outbreak of covid-19, the cycling industry has come together to provide vital assistance and offers on cycles and services to key workers to say thank you for their invaluable work and support in these difficult times.
“It’s wonderful to see so many organisations offering free cycles, repairs and support,” said Sustrans’ Giulio Ferrini.
“The government has recognised the role cycling can play in helping key workers travel in these challenging times, and we hope this can inspire local authorities to implement temporary or permanent changes to our streets, improving the safety of everyone making essential trips by foot or cycle in London.”
Will Norman, the Mayor of London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “It’s great that Sustrans have put together in one place all the information that critical workers need to start cycling or get their bikes back on the roads.
“City Hall is working with CycleHoop to install more cycle parking at hospitals and with bike shop Fully Charged to provide free ebikes to NHS workers. I encourage critical workers to visit the Sustrans online map and I’d also like to remind NHS, care and police staff that they can access free Santander bike hire.”
The idea for the website originally came from Georgie Eastell, a respiratory physiotherapist currently supporting a critical care team at a hospital in East London.
“Cycling to and from the hospital has made a huge difference to me personally at a really difficult time,” she said.
“Fitting exercise and a daily dose of fresh air into my travel time really lift my spirits, making me feel better both physically and mentally. I’m recharging myself during the commute on the bike. And it’s quicker – a huge bonus when I’m working long shifts. Not only that I am saving money on fares.
“But the thing I value most is the time to mull through the stress of the day and unwind before I get home. I can’t imagine not cycling now.”
Sustrans is calling on all organisations offering free or discounted bikes and related services to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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