Sustrans links key workers with bikes and services via new online map

Cycles for Key Workers is a new map designed to make cycling easier for key workers for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Showing bike and equipment offers as well as repair and maintenance services available to key workers in their local area, the map should be of particular interest to the bike shops, workshops and service providers that have remained open during the lockdown.

All bike stores that have remained open – as per the government’s classification that cycle shops are essential retailers and are allowed to stay open if they wish – are listed on the Cycles for Key Workers map, which goes live today (Thursday 16 April).

The map was compiled by the walking and cycling charity Sustrans to make cycling easier for key workers as they travel to and from work each day during Covid-19.

A single repository of information, the map displays four different types of pins for each kind of offer, including: access to a bike; repairs and maintenance; equipment and gear; and for bike stores that remain open across the UK. The map has a function to view and search offers and schemes by a location name and postcode areas.

Currently, around 40% of the UK workforce are classed by the UK Government as key workers, including NHS employees, cleaners, carers and supermarket workers.

A significant movement within the industry has seen businesses offer special offers on cycles and services to key workers to say thank you for their invaluable work and support in these difficult times.

Susie Dunham, Development Director at Sustrans, whose husband works for the NHS, said: “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 supported by the transport sector and the Department for Transport.

Rachel Aldred, Reader in Transport at the University of Westminster, said: “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.”

Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner, said: “Many of the UK’s key workers rely on public transport at a time we need them to stay safe, so it shouldn’t surprise us thousands are turning to the bicycle to get to work.

“I’m so pleased Sustrans, with the backing of all major bicycle organisations, came together to help turn the small acts of kindness from those in the industry, into a national movement to aid key workers. Be it for exercise or essential journeys, the bicycle is playing its part in helping us through this crisis and beyond.”

Walking and Cycling Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris 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.”

The information resource also features links to cycling and walking tips, and other useful content.

Key workers who want to find out about cycling related offers or need access to a bike to get to work during the pandemic should visit Cycles for Key Workers: www.sustrans.org.uk/keyworkers

If you have an offer for Key Workers or your bike store is open during the pandemic and it’s not listed on the Cycles for Key Workers map, fill in the form https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/cycleoffers.