You can increase the numbers of your staff cycling to work by making cyclists feel more welcome when they get there. Here are ten ways to do that.
By offering Cyclescheme to your staff you’re already making a solid commitment towards being a cycle-friendly employer. Staff will be better able to afford bikes and equipment because they’ll save at least 25% on the recommended retail price and spread the cost. So more of your employees will have access to a good quality bike and kit.
After the bike and equipment, cycle parking is one of the most important amenities. But there’s more you can do to encourage staff to ride – and lots of good reasons to do so, not least the financial and productivity benefits.
Even cyclists who ride to work in normal clothes are likely have more paraphernalia than those who drive or use public transport – a backpack or panniers, for example, and a weatherproof jacket. Those who commute partly or wholly in cycling gear will also need to stash bike shoes, a helmet, and lycra, and perhaps a towel and toiletries if showers are available (see below). Invest in some good size lockers; tall ones, typically in two tiers, like you get at the gym. They’re not expensive.
2. Shower & drying room
Cyclists who travel shorter distances at a modest pace won’t need a shower to be presentable as they won’t work up a sweat. Cyclists who have to ride further or like travelling faster will appreciate one. So will potential cyclists who imagine that a post-ride shower must be necessary. A ‘drying room’ might be nothing more than some clothing rails and a dehumidifier in a closet, where cyclists can stash wet rain gear.
3. Bike fixing essentials
Being able to tighten a loose bolt or deal with that just-discovered slow puncture is a big deal for cycle commuters about to head home. You don’t need to devote a lot of space to a floor-mounted pump and some essential tools. Having them bolted down confines bike maintenance to a specific area and prevents accidental or deliberate borrowing.
4. Vending machine(s)
Cyclists are more likely to want snacks to top up energy levels. These needn’t be crisps and chocolate; healthy options are available. A vending machine will be used by non-cycling staff too, and its overheads are low. You needn’t stop with food and drink. How about an innertube vending machine?
5. Pool bikes
The business’s bike fleet, owned by the employer but available for all staff to use while at work. The primary roles will be for business meetings, travel between sites, and errands. Cycling is time-efficient for shorter journeys – and cost-effective to boot. A handful of compact folding bikes, e-bikes, or cargo bikes could solve many of your transport needs. Transport for London has a useful good-practice guide.
6. Pay staff to cycle
There are few more tempting incentives than cold, hard cash. This isn’t a mileage rate for commuting to work (although HMRC does allow a tax-free rate of 20 pence per mile to be claimed for cycling during the course of work, such as cycling between sites). Instead, it’s a flat payment of, for example, £1 per day for cycling to work. This accumulates and can be spent on cycling equipment or accessories. The practice is not widespread in the UK but it is offered by companies both large (GSK) and small (Islabikes).
7. Back a Bicycle User Group
A Bicycle User Group (https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/community/how-to/how-to-form-a-bug-bicycle-user-group), or BUG, is what it says on the tin. It’s a way for those of your employees who commute by bike to: share information with each other; tell you what they’d like in terms of facilities: swap tips on routes, kit and maintenance; and ‘buddy up’ to support new cycle commuters. A BUG can be a short in the arm for workplace cycling. You need do little more than provide a room for meetings and offer free use of the noticeboard/website/photocopier for BUG business.
8. Support Cycle to Work Day
It’s a great way of publicising the benefits of cycling to work and encouraging your staff who don’t to give it a go. It also celebrates those who already cycle to work. Making the effort on one specific day provides focus; it’s Thursday 8th August this year. Employees can pledge cycling miles to win prizes. You could offer a complimentary breakfast – coffee and a croissant? – for those arriving by bike, and perhaps ask your Bicycle User Group or a local shop to host a ‘Dr Bike’ session to check and tweak people’s bikes. There’s more on the Cycle to Work Day website.
9. Staff training
There’s a big difference between being able to ride a bike – and let’s not forget that some adults never learned – and being confident to cycle in traffic. It’s arguably the number one reason why more people don’t cycle. You could find a Bikeability instructor to do workplace cycle training or offer staff a bursary to do it in their own time.
10. Get accreditation
As well as providing tangible benefits for those who do cycle to work, being demonstrably pro-cycling shows that your company is forward-thinking and both socially and environmentally responsible. Don’t hide that light under a bushel! Get Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation so the message is clear: cyclists are welcome here.
Ready to add Cyclescheme as an employee benefit?