While the Covid-19 pandemic has sent devastating shockwaves around the world, it has also caused a huge rise in altruistic actions – aimed in particular to assist those combating the disease on the frontlines.
Whether it’s help with transport to and from work, dedicated shopping hours or sending supplies of vital equipment, individuals and industries alike have come together to help frontline workers at this time of global crisis.
Meanwhile, a range of companies and well-known individuals are giving away their services for free in order to help keep the rest of us as fit, healthy and sane as possible while lockdowns are in place.
It’s heartening to see just how many of these positive actions have come directly from the bike industry. Some are straightforward offers of help to individuals in need, while others have seen companies completely alter their manufacturing to produce essential items required to help battle the virus.
While researching this article, we’ve come across so many ways in which the cycling community is helping in the fight against coronavirus that it’s impossible to cover them all.
Here are just some of the highlights – and please share your good news stories in the comments.
Free bike loans to hospital workers
Brompton is lending its existing hire fleet to NHS workers and has launched a campaign to build a thousand more folding bikes specifically for hospital staff, pledging £100,000 of manufacturing costs and launching a Wheels for Heroes crowdfunding page for public contributions to help realise this goal.
Similarly, e-bike retailer Fully Charged and e-bike brand GoCycle have teamed up to provide NHS workers with free three-month loans of their machines. Uber is also giving hospital staff free use of its electric Jump bike fleet for up to 50 trips across London.
Free bike servicing and cycling kit
Milton Keynes-based distributor Madison has teamed up with the Freewheel network of independent bike shops to provide NHS and key workers with free bike servicing and commuting gear worth £100. Each commuting package consists of a Hump jacket, a set of Infini bike lights and a Track helmet.
Meanwhile, Halfords is offering free bike services worth £30 to all NHS and emergency service staff, and Evans Cycles has reopened its shops in key cities to provide all key workers with free bike MOTs.
Changing manufacturing to make PPE
Based in Bergamo, northern Italy (one of the areas worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic), clothing manufacturer Santini has worked with local medics Agenzia di Tutela della Salute (Health Protection Agency) and one of its fabric suppliers, Sitip, to design and produce a washable and sterilisable face mask.
Production has only just begun, but Santini is aiming to manufacture up to 10,000 masks a day for distribution to hospitals and other agencies around the Bergamo region.
Also in Italy, Scicon Sports has shifted its entire production away from making bags, clothing and sports eyewear to manufacturing much-needed filtering face masks and clear eye protection.
In the United States, Santa Cruz Bicycles is working with doctors from Dominican Hospital, California, to design and produce thousands of reusable medical face-shields. All the manufacturing will be done in-house using the 3D printer and cutting table in the company’s carbon laboratory.
Santa Cruz employees have also been designing and making face masks with more comfortable and durable head straps to be used by hospital staff.
Donating vital equipment
San Diego-based eyewear protection specialist, 100%, has decided to donate more than a thousand sets of protective eyewear to Los Angeles’ Fire Department Emergency Medical Services division after learning that frontline workers were being forced to purchase their own PPE due to acute shortages.
100% will also be donating further supplies of eye protection to emergency workers in other cities across the US and are giving away 20 per cent of online sales proceeds to the CDC Foundation, an independent non-profit that supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Back in the UK, Muc-Off recently diverted production of its bike care products to increase manufacturing of 5-litre bottles and pumps – usually made for tyre sealant. Three hundred bottles were then filled with hand sanitiser produced by a local distillery, Conker Spirit, and donated to Dorset’s NHS and police force.
Muc-Off is also providing smaller plastic bottles free of charge to any manufacturer that is able to fill them with sanitiser for frontline staff.
Supplies of the brand’s Luxury Chamois Cream have also been delivered to paramedics at Poole hospital and intensive care staff at St George’s Hospital, London, who are using the cream to help guard against face mask chaffing and on their hands after constant hand washing, sanitising and glove wearing.
Passoni, based in the Italian region of Lombardy, had originally planned to launch the new bike at the Milan-San Remo one-day Classic in March. The frame being auctioned is equipped with a Campagnolo Super Record groupset, THM x Passoni finishing kit and Passoni P42CC carbon wheels with Vittoria Corsa TLR tyres.
All proceeds will go to CESVI, one of Italy’s biggest humanitarian organisations, to fund the purchase of equipment for the intensive care unit of Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, and to support vulnerable over 65s in the Bergamo and Milan regions.
Free subscription services, discounts and supporting local bike shop
To help stave off lockdown fever, online cycling simulator RGT Cycling has waived its usual subscription fees for everyone. A premium subscription to the Zwift rival usually costs £12.99 / $14.99 a month, but is currently completely free to use with no strings attached. (Not familiar with RGT Cycling? Here’s everything you need to know).
Bike and componentry manufacturer and distributor, Planet X, is offering NHS workers 10 per cent off its usual online prices. Contact the company’s customer service department before making your purchase and they will arrange the discount.
Finally, Lauf, the Icelandic bicycle brand best known for the True Grit gravel race bike and Grit 30mm suspension fork for drop-bar bikes, is supporting local bike shops, currently in the US, who may be missing out on custom from bicycle sales.
Lauf has launched a scheme whereby if you would have bought a Lauf from your local dealer but are now unable to, that shop can still get their margin on a bike if you buy direct from Lauf.
Lauf has given its dealer network individual codes, which can then be entered into your online shopping cart, to make sure the shop gets the money it otherwise would.