Olympic cycling success inspires commuters

Nicole Cooke motivates workers to get on their bikes

A Welsh company providing subsidised bicycles to commuters says the number of people using its service has soared since Bridgend cyclist Nicole Cook claimed gold in the Olympic road race in Beijing.

Over the last four weeks, Swansea-based Cycle Solutions has supplied over 1200 bikes to workers – an increase of 25 percent on the previous four week period and 150 percent higher year-on-year. More tellingly, the number of road bikes supplied through the scheme has risen 400 percent.

“The impact that Nicole’s success has had on the scheme is incredible,” said Steve Edgell, director of Cycle Solutions. “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.

“It’s fantastic when people have a real role model to look up to, someone who can help to inspire ordinary people to follow in their footsteps, and that is exactly what Nicole is,” he added. “People have seen her fantastic road racing efforts in Beijing and have realised that while they may never match her phenomenal feats on the road, they can certainly enjoy a healthier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly daily commute.”

Nicole took time out from her celebrations and the promoting of her new book Cycle for Life to give the Cycle Solutions scheme the thumbs up. "By commuting to work by bike, people can have a great work out that really kick starts the day physically and mentally,” she said. “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.”

Cycle Solutions launched its Cycle to Work scheme in 2005 on the back of the Government’s Green Transport Plan. Under the terms of the initiative, tax incentives allow employers to offer their staff bicycles and cycling equipment with savings of up to 50 percent on the retail value through a flexible benefit scheme. 

Over 700 organisations and businesses across the UK have already signed to the scheme, including the Eden Project in Cornwall, London Fire Brigade, the Football Association and the Royal Opera House. More than 15,000 workers have signed up to the scheme, 7,400 in this year alone.

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