Case study: workplace

Bristol workers beat the traffic with electric bikes

Bristol City Council’s Travelwest Business Engagement Team wanted to help businesses encourage their employees to make sustainable travel choices for work journeys. So, they created the electric bike loan scheme, through which businesses can see how an electric bike could be useful for their staff. RSK staff collecting their new E-bike from Bristol Bicycles
“Our E-bike is ideal for fleet use in a Bristol workplace because it’s good at hills, user-friendly and reliable, and looks understated and business-like”

Vicky Stone, Business Engagement Support Officer, explains: “Travelling to meetings by car or taxi in Bristol can be time consuming, expensive and adds to the air quality issues in the city. People can feel the need to drive to work because they need to get to meetings by car, but providing workplaces with an electric bike gives them another option.” Electric bikes were chosen over standard bikes, so that workers can get to meetings easily, quickly and conveniently – even if they are novice cyclists. The scheme has been running since early 2014, with Jake’s Bikes managing maintenance of the council’s E-bike fleet.
Partly because of this experience of what works well on the existing E-bikes and what doesn’t, Jake Voelcker, founder of Bristol Bicycles and Jake’s Bikes, created the Bristol Bicycles electric bike. “The council’s existing E-bikes were a huge success in getting employees cycling” says Jake, “but the feedback we received was that they were too heavy, and weren’t always as reliable as we might have expected. So when developing our own model, we decided it was crucial to overcome these issues.” The council’s loan scheme was proving a success and there was a waiting list for businesses to obtain a bike. So, impressed with the new Bristol Bicycles E-bike and keen to expand the scheme, the Travelwest Business Engagement Team purchased 6 to add to their fleet, and then another 10. “Our E-bike is absolutely ideal for this kind of fleet use in a Bristol workplace because it’s good at hills, user-friendly and reliable, but also looks understated and business-like,” says Jake. Vicky Stone added, “Bristol Bicycles build good quality bikes that are also suitable for Bristol’s topography. Jake is really helpful and great to work with, and we’re happy to be supporting a local business. “We have just ordered another 10 new electric Bristol Bicycles – expanding the scheme so that even more people can benefit!” The scheme has proved hugely successful. Businesses report a reduction in ‘grey fleet’ usage, therefore improving the rate of vehicle mileage claims from staff. Finding the e-bikes so useful, businesses are now buying their own fleet of pool bikes for their workforce to use through the Travelwest match funded grant scheme. Eric Downey, Senior Engineering Geologist at RSK/Structural Soils, has recently taken delivery of a Bristol Bicycles electric bike for business use: “We are so excited to have been successful in our grant application for our own e-bike. The service from Jake’s Bikes has been first class. Our brand new e-bike has already started to earn its keep when a colleague undertook a local site audit by bike rather than take a vehicle. We are expecting the e-bike to be used weekly for local business meetings and site visits.” Interested in finding out more? Contact the Travelwest Team at Bristol City Council to discuss E-bike loans for businesses, or contact Jake Voelcker to discuss Bristol Bicycles.