Cyclescheme is the UK's most popular cycle to work benefit, creating more cyclists than any other provider.

Whether they’re working from home or on site, access to bikes and equipment can help preserve your employees’ health and wellbeing.

When the Covid-19 lockdown was announced on 23 March, cycle retailers were exempt from the Government’s instruction to shut up shop. Like food shops, pharmacies, and garages, bike shops have been designated essential retailers. There are two very good reasons for this.

As a form of transport for those travelling to work or shopping, cycling is accessible and resilient. It’s accessible because bikes are affordable and seven out of eight adults know how to ride them. It’s resilient during an epidemic or pandemic because it promotes social distancing. Public transport users are much more likely – six times more according to research from 2011 – to pick up acute respiratory infections. Riding a bike minimises exposure, while simultaneously making public transport less busy and thereby less infectious for those who have to use it.

Cycling is also one of the permitted forms of daily exercise during the lockdown. For employees working at home, it’s a valuable opportunity to get some fresh air, reduce stress, and stay healthy. Regular cycling even boosts the immune system

Bike shops being open means that those who don’t have a bike can get one, and those who do can obtain parts, equipment, and repairs. While all bike shops are allowed to remain open, and most online retailers are, many bricks-and-mortar shops have reduced opening hours. There may be other restrictions in place too, such as opening only by prior appointment or to key workers, or having only a certain number of people in-store at once. So it’s best to phone ahead before visiting a bike shop.

Cyclescheme is still open for business. Companies signed up to Cyclescheme can thus continue to make cycling even more accessible to their staff. As usual, your employees will save 23-39% of RRP and they’ll be able to spread the cost. They can apply in minutes online, and once you’ve approved their application they’ll be sent an eCertificate by email, which they can exchange in-store or online with a Cyclesheme retailer. What’s different now is that more of your employees who hadn’t considered cycling will be thinking about it. It’s worth e-mailing your staff to remind them of the scheme.

If any of your employees have certificates that they haven’t yet exchanged – perhaps their chosen shop is now closed – it’s worth noting that the certificate remains valid. It can be exchanged when the shop reopens. Alternatively, it can be validated for use at another store by Cyclescheme.

Cyclescheme is offering to finance public sector schemes in order to make it even easier for public sector staff to get bikes. If you’re an eligible employer, all you need to do is review and approve your employees’ requests. Cyclescheme will send out their eCertificates straight away. To find out more about this, contact Cyclescheme or your account manager.