Oxford employers embrace bikes

Oxford employers embrace bikes

Young woman in midwife uniform and cycle helmet riding bike on a wooded path. She is shrieking with enjoyment, both feet lifted high off the pedals

By Anna Railton

Anna is the City Council Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford and Labour’s Councillor for Hinksey Park

Oxford city is at the forefront of tackling climate change, but we need everyone – individuals, businesses and institutions – to help with this. We know that our biggest carbon emissions are buildings (60%) and transport (23%) , and we know that a lot of people spend time stuck in traffic.

Three very different organisations have started trialling ebikes to help their employees travel around the city in a more efficient, greener and cheaper way.

Estate agents on ebikes

The Oxford branch of estate agent Strutt & Parker has started using its first ebike. George Hughes, Head of Sales, said:

“The team’s feedback so far on the ebike has been fantastic. They say it’s fun to cycle and that they get to clients quicker. As a business, we need to get around the city in the most efficient and sustainable way possible, and we think having ebikes as well as cars will give us more options. We’re also really excited to partner with our car-leasing firm Arval on this: they take care of all of the hassle for us.”

Two white men standing in front of reception desk in estate agent office. In the foreground is a smart pink ebike

As a business, we need to get around the city in the most efficient and sustainable way possible

Call the midwives

The Florence Park Midwives have even got a name for their ebike – she’s called Betty. They’ve had her since October and use her to do home postnatal visits around East Oxford. Amanda Crudgington, the Community Midwife Team Lead said

“It’s already been brilliant to have another option to quickly get around the city and we’re thinking about a second one. We lease her from Bainton Bikes and they deal with the servicing and setup – they’ve even fitted a custom basket to carry our baby-weighing scales around to the newborns. It all feels very Call the Midwife.”

Caregivers on cycles

BelleVie, an Oxfordshire-based social impact company, specialises in bringing care directly to the homes of those who need it. Its mission goes beyond providing care services – it’s about making a meaningful impact on people’s lives and on the community as a whole.

The company is leasing a small fleet of “sit up and beg” manual bikes, customised with panniers and kit, also from Bainton Bikes. CEO and founder Trudie Fell says they realised that people needing support were being turned down in Headington because of transport difficulties. Potential caregivers were also being lost because they didn’t drive. A quarter of UK adults don’t have a driving licence.

To tackle these two challenges BelleVie set up a walking and cycling team in Headington. This caring initiative quickly grew, and soon the Headington team became so big that it had to split in two. The approach has expanded to West Oxford, allowing the company to overcome difficulties like the Botley Road closure and parking.

Trudie says “I’m delighted that we’ve found a way to support people who were previously hard to reach, and been able to recruit some amazing carers who don’t drive but live BelleVie’s values.”

Julie, a BelleVie Wellbeing Support Worker says “It’s so much easier by bike. I can get through the traffic, it’s easier to park a bike. It’s just much more efficient these days.”

It’s so much easier by bike. I can get through the traffic, it’s easier to park…

White woman in cycle helmet and blue coat posing with one foot on the pedal of sit-up-and-beg bike with basket on the front. Residential street in background

By embracing the bicycle, BelleVie is providing more support to local people, when and where they need it. The company is reducing stress for caregivers, providing more job opportunities, and solving traffic challenges, all in a sustainable way.

Oxford has many bike-based businesses including cargo-bike delivery firms Velocity and Pedal & Post, SAMS Window Cleaning and the Park Town Gardener. Now other organisations that need to move individuals around the city are switching to bikes. Who will be next?

Image credits

Main image of midwife: Peter Haken
Strutt & Parker: Tim Hammond/Bikeflex
Wellbeing support worker: Julie/BelleVie