Bikes for Key Workers - and other Coronavirus stories
It will have escaped no one that a lot has happened over the past few weeks! Like all small charities, we are no stranger to working with uncertainty and rapid change. Needless to say, Coronavirus has been by far our biggest challenge as an organisation.
Keeping up with the situation
Things escalated quickly, and before we knew it we were in lockdown. The safest move was to close all of our services at first – and work on adapting so we could support those most in need, whilst protecting everyone’s health.
We knew group activities could not continue during the lockdown and we were very worried about the impact this would have on the people we work with. For many, “social distancing” in some form was already a reality before Coronavirus. It’s been our priority to make sure people do not become even more isolated.
Launching online bike sales
Whilst Government guidelines allow bike shops to stay open, we decided to adapt our service to protect our staff and customers: Our teams worked flat-out to move bike sales online. This was a big step for us, as we have only ever run public bike sales.
We are delighted to launch eBay storefronts for our Bristol and Derby workshops. Special thanks must go to our fantastic volunteer Hardy, whose expertise made it all possible.
Browse and buy refurbished bikes online:
Bikes for key workers
As public transport became risky and roads emptied of cars, we knew that front-line workers would benefit hugely from accessing bikes: Not only to get to work safely whilst social distancing, but also to stay mentally and physically well during these difficult times.
Thanks to funding and support from local authorities (through the Wheels to Work scheme) we are now giving key workers £100 off our refurbished bikes in Bristol – and free bikes in Derby.
Bike servicing coming soon
Exciting news for anyone whose bike needs some TLC!
Our Derby workshop has been servicing bikes for years, but due to the lockdown, we were forced to suspend this service. However, thanks to funding from Foundation Derbyshire and Derby City Council we are now able to offer 100 free bike services for key workers.
We are also set to launch bike servicing in Bristol for the first time, with the additional offer of 37 free bike services for key workers, thanks to Cycling UK.
We are putting the finishing touches in place before we can launch these offers and we’ll be in touch shortly with details of the big launch.
Want to be the first to know? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Group rides update
Following the Government's decision to continue lock-down for another three weeks at least - Life Cycle's group rides and activities will be suspended until the end of May. Obviously, this isn't a decision we take lightly, but as ever we continue to follow Government guidelines and put the health and safety of our riders first.
We will be reviewing the situation at the end of May and will update you then.
A technical solution
In these tough times, the important thing is to stay in touch. As face to face contact has been swapped for video calls and online interaction, we set up Facebook groups so our inclusive cycling participants could connect, chat – and share stories, photos and advice. We are working on setting up online coffee meetups and we share a “Ride of the Week” for those who are still able to cycle.
We also send out a fortnightly email, signposting people support, activities and light entertainment. It’s been great to see counselling, exercise classes and even bike maintenance courses move online – often for free or a very small cost.
Of course, we also work with people who aren’t able to connect online, so we have some wonderful volunteers who are checking in with people by phone.
Update on our staff
At the time of writing, we are pleased to report that all our staff are safe and well. As many of our services are temporarily closed, we have placed 12 people on furlough to access government support. This was a tough decision, but one we had to take to sustain the charity in the long term. We would like to say a huge thank you to those staff who agreed to be furloughed.
All in all, we are so proud of everyone who pulled together and worked so hard to make the best of a bad situation. We are still working hard to adapt to the new normal – and make sure we can provide support to the people that need us. Our staff, volunteers, freelancers and participants have all been fantastic. Despite this being a difficult and worrying time, it has been touching to see people come together and show so much kindness and generosity.
What happens next?
We also want to reassure you that, whilst lockdown has inevitably caused our income to drop, Life Cycle UK is still in a stable financial position, and we are looking forward resuming our life-enhancing services as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.
On behalf of everyone at Life Cycle, stay safe, stay well and look after each other.