Saddling up for sustainability

9 November 2021    

Retailers to tackle climate change

If humanity is going to hit the necessary carbon reduction targets to mitigate climate change – more consumers are going to have to get on their bike.

At present, infrastructure for people on bikes leaves much to be desired in some areas, but Cycling Scotland is stepping in to improve facilities amid a pedalling boom.

We are offering retailers grant funding to provide secure and covered bike parking for staff and customers, cycle training for staff and information and guidance on sustainable pedal-powered deliveries – as well as access to bikes.

More and more Scottish consumers are taking to the saddle. Earlier in 2021, we revealed statistics showing a 47% increase in cycling journeys across the country between March 2020 and March 2021. This means a growing number of retail customers and staff are heading to stores on two wheels.

Better facilities for people on bikes

To entice people on bikes into stores, we’re encouraging retailers to introduce cycle parking.

The advantages to retailers go beyond environmental benefits – as Kath Brough, Head of Behaviour Change at Cycling Scotland, explained: “Customers arriving at shops by bike spend more than those coming by car.

“Official research has shown that areas boasting cycle parking for customers deliver five times more retail spend than the same space for car parking.

“Covered, secure cycle parking is a brilliant way to attract people on bikes to shop with retailers. Put simply, customers will pedal past and spend their money elsewhere if they can’t see a convenient space to park their bike.”

Staff benefits

Bike parking doesn’t just offer bottom line boosting potential, it can also help to keep staff healthy – raising morale in the process.

Kath Brough continued: “Introducing bike parking and a cycling friendly culture for staff has many benefits, too.

“Cycling supports good physical and mental health for employees, has been shown to increase productivity, and is often the quickest way to get to and from work.”

Sustainable deliveries

Convenience store deliveries, which boomed under lockdown and continue to provide additional revenue for many Scottish stores, could also benefit from pedal power.

“Since 2008, van mileage has increased by a fifth due to online shopping. Vans make up 15% of motorised vehicle miles in Britain, and in large cities this figure can be up to 25%.

“The Bicycle Association has reported that up to 30% of van delivery trips are replaceable by e-cargo bikes – electrically assisted bicycles with purpose-built cargo-carrying capacity which can be used to transport a variety of goods.

“E-cargo bikes are more efficient compared to vans – they can take shorter routes through cycle lanes, take up less road space, and be parked more easily. They cost less to buy, insure, and repair than a delivery van. Crucially, e-cargo bikes are emissions-free – making them much better for the environment.

“In 2018, Sainsbury’s trialled the use of five e-cargo bikes at an urban London store and found they could fulfil 97% of orders to local online customers and make up to 100 deliveries a day per bike. E-cargo bikes are the future for short journey logistics.”

Become Cycling Friendly

Helpful guidance and funding exist to support the transition for retailers to embrace the future and become cycling friendly – because every journey cycled makes a difference.

Retailers interested in the support offered can visit the support for retailers page, and contact

This article was published in the Scottish Grocer on 1 November 2021.