A bike shop in London is lending e-bikes for free to NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fully Charged, which operates out of premises at London Bridge and also has a branch at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, will be renting the bikes to doctors and nurses in the capital for three months at no cost.
It is also calling on other operators within the cycling industry to help key staff travel to their work as public transport provision in the capital is reduced, resulting in severe overcrowding.
The initiative starts today, Monday 30 March, with 20 bikes available immediately through a partnership with Gocycle, which is providing its GS model, usually retailing at £1,999.
NHS staff in the capital can sign up here, and Fully Charged mechanics will assemble the bikes as well as carrying out pre-delivery inspections.
Dan Parsons, director of operations at Fully Charged, said: “Bicycle stores have been excluded from the Government’s list of mandatory closures amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“This is a reflection of the importance of cycling as a viable alternative to using public transport, as well as the benefits it offers to people’s health and wellbeing, particularly at a time of self-isolation and social distancing.
“At Fully Charged, given we’re able to remain operational, our focus is on supporting the country’s key workers – namely NHS staff who are going above and beyond to help those suffering at the hands of COVID-19.
“With cycling exhibitions cancelled, many demo bikes are going unused. Fully Charged is grateful to our business partners for enabling us to get these eBikes into the hands of NHS workers for their use during such difficult times.
“We hope NHS staff will seize the offer and, moreover, we are calling on the rest of the industry to help provide more support for doctors and nurses in this way.
“We are grateful to Gocycle as our first partner in this project and hope that other suppliers follow their example and generous commitment, allowing us to increase the offering to NHS workers in due course.”
Richard Thorpe, founder and designer at Gocycle, commented: “We’ve all seen the images of packed tubes in the capital in the last few days.
“With far less traffic above ground, and the reduced number of trains being made available, eBikes are probably the best solution for essential NHS workers to move around the city.
“The last thing frontline staff need after a long day saving lives is being confined within a crowded train carriage or bus or to be stuck standing in a long queue.
“Bicycles are part of the solution, but tired legs will appreciate the benefits of an electric motor to assist them home with less effort.
“It’s a tough time for everyone being on lock down and very hard for small businesses everywhere,” he added
“We really appreciate the chance to help London’s frontline NHS staff, however small our role might be.”