Cycle Solutions, a Swansea based company that specialises in providing salary-sacrifice bicycles to employees of organisations that sign up to their ‘Cycle To Work’ scheme, says that the number of people using their service has soared in the month since Nicole Cooke started the Olympic gold rush.
Over the last four weeks, over 1200 bicycles have been supplied to cyclists through Cycle Solutions, an increase of 25 per cent on the previous four week period, and 150 per cent higher year-on-year. Sales of road bikes via the scheme have risen 400 per cent.
Steve Edgell, director of Cycle Solutions, said:
“The impact that Nicole’s success has had on the scheme is incredible, not only in terms of sales of bicycles, but in the fact that the coverage she has received seems to have made people far more aware of the difference between mountain bikes and road bikes, and how road bikes are far more suited to the requirements of the daily commute."
Naturally, there's no way of knowing whether the road bike bought are actually being used to ride to work but Edgell claims many new cycle commuters are opting for road bikes because they're quicker through town.
"People have seen Nicole Cooke's fantastic road racing efforts in Beijing and have realised that while they may never match her feats on the road, they can certainly enjoy a healthier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly daily commute to work on a specialist bicycle that can make the journey that little bit quicker.
"Road bikes have been designed for speed. Whilst mountain bikes can be used on the road, it’s like comparing a Land Rover to Porsche, as they will get nowhere near the speed you can attain on a road bike.
On cycling to work, Cooke said: "By commuting to work by bike people can have a great work out which really kick starts the day physically and mentally, this helps concentration and productivity in the work place and then helps to clear your mind as you ride home after work and you can also turn any frustrations into speed so that you can relax when you arrive home. By cycling you miss the traffic jams that come with commuting by car and you have the flexibility to begin your journey at any time, which is not always possible with public transport.
"Cycling to work helps the environment too, there is less pollution and bikes are a lot cheaper to maintain and run compared to other modes of transport. If you decide to commute all year round you will also be treated to seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling first hand the changes in the seasons as cycling brings you a lot closer to nature too."
Cycle Solutions is one of a number of third-party Cycle to Work facilitators. ‘Cycle to Work’ is the Government's salary-sacrifice, bike buying scheme for employees. Tax incentives on offer allow employers to offer their staff bicycles and cycling equipment with savings of about 40 per cent.
Cycle Solutions clients include the Eden Project in Cornwall, the London Fire Brigade, the Football Association, the Royal Opera House, and LOCOG, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
Rob Clarke, Head of Reward, Policy and OD at LOCOG, said:
“We introduced our bike-to-work scheme at LOCOG in Spring 2007 and have had a very high level of interest from our staff. This is not surprising when you consider the savings available, as well as the environmental and health benefits of cycling to work."