Cambridge cycling companies add wheel benefits to community
Cambridge’s cycling community is working hard to keep the city’s wheels turning, with free services and e-bike use options from Outspoken Cycles and Cambridge Electric Transport.
With the government recognising bike shops as an essential service during lockdown, Outspoken Cycles is now offering free repairs and cycle hire for all NHS workers.
The Cowley Road-based cycling franchise - which is also delivering the Click It Local service for £3 per food order anywhere in the city - “has restructured to prioritise the workshop and offer a free bike repair service for NHS workers, including a free courtesy bike while theirs is in the workshop”. For those NHS workers who might normally get public transport but want to cycle, Outspoken is also offering free cycle hire.
With Cambridge having the highest level of cycling in the UK with 57 per cent of people riding at least once a week, Outspoken Cycles’ general manager, Mark Searle, felt it was crucial they remain open to offer a repair service especially for NHS and other key workers who might otherwise struggle to get to work.
“As a team we’re immensely grateful for all the work NHS staff are doing, and we know first hand how critical a bike can be to get to and from work, especially in Cambridge. As a team we feel it is important to remain open and help in any way we can.”
As with every essential service still open, safety is key and Outspoken has reduced to a skeleton staff on its site near Milton, with social distancing measures in place keeping staff and customer interaction to an absolute minimum.
To book any repairs contact the team on 01223 789606, email firstname.lastname@example.org or book online.
Cambridge Electric Transport, which runs the Campus Cycle Hub opposite the Deakin Centre at Addenbrooke’s, has also made 20 of its e-bikes available to NHS staff as courtesy bikes.
“We are offering NHS staff free use of an e-bike for commuting,” says CEO Sean Moroney, “ available through Richard Hales, energy and sustainability manager for Cambridge University Hospitals.
“Hopefully we can convert people to using electric bikes more frequently. We’re discussing putting docking stations in at Addenbrooke’s in conjunction with our Norwegian partner.”
The company’s e-bikes are assembled in Norway. Its Addenbrooke’s repair service is sub-contracted to The Bike Man, which is run by Edvin Press.
“Edvin is there from 8m to 5pm every day for bike repairs,” notes Sean.
Cambridge Electric Transport also has a site at Cambridge North station.
“The hub at Cambridge North is operating where people request it,” says CEO Sean Moroney. “We’re still here for all subscribing companies: there are some companies still running with a skeleton staff , we still get requests. We talk through the procedure on the phone. Staff contact us, we organise a bike to be at the hub and they pick it up from there.”
Meanwhile Newmarket Road-based Electric Transport Sales is also continuing to deliver services.
“We’ve tried to remain positive,” says director Eddie Kehoe. “It is certainly a very different start to what would have otherwise been a beautiful spring but we're not in this situation alone and we’ve been trying to find our place and play our part to support our community. So we’ve found a way to safely serve our customers and community via an appointment system and offer free services and discounts to key workers. We’ve also given an e-bike on loan to a nurse that had her bike stolen.
“It seems that lots of people want to cycle electric bikes during lockdown. Having outdoor time restricted seems to help people appreciate the outdoors.”
Cycling is a great way to get your daily exercise, or travel to work, while observing government regulations on social distancing. It’s good for both mental and physical health, while avoiding public transport, and enjoying the spring sunshine and making the most of the quiet roads with reduced traffic.