In a move to can the car and promote pedal power, ASDA yesterday unveiled plans to give all 100,000 colleagues the chance to buy a cost-price bike.

ASDA will make bikes available on a profit-free basis to all colleagues early next year. If the take-up mirrors the national average for numbers of work trips made by bike (3 per cent) it could mean at least 3,000 ASDA colleagues ditch the daily drive and let the cycle take the strain.

In addition, on Monday ASDA will also unveil Britain's first ever "supermarket cycle-pool" at its brand new store in Long Eaton which opens tomorrow. A pool of fifteen cycles will be available to any colleague who lives locally and wants to try pedal rather than petrol-power for their journey to work.

"The idea came to us during the petrol crisis" said ASDA chief operating officer, Paul Mason, "In spite of empty petrol tanks, colleagues made it into work with pedal-power proving the most popular choice. We wanted to make it as easy and cheap as possible to get colleagues out of cars and on bikes and today's announcement is the result."

The move is also a demonstration of ASDA's commitment to creating a Green Travel Plan for each of its 240 stores. The plans, drawn up by store colleagues, will become a blueprint for cutting down car usage.

The move was also welcomed by Stephen Joseph, executive director of Transport 2000, who said, "We are keen to see companies like ASDA make it as easy as possible for colleagues to use cycle transport instead of cars. We welcome their announcement and urge other companies to follow suit."

Supporting the launch is Olympic bronze medal-winning cyclist Brian Steele who, fresh from Sydney, will be at ASDA Long Eaton to present the cycle-pool bikes.

"I'm delighted to see ASDA encouraging their colleagues to cycle more." said Brian, "I cycled everywhere when I was younger and look where it got me! It's a fantastic way to keep fit, is great for the environment and is far less stressful then driving a car. I hope more employers follow ASDA's example."

Notes to editors
Long Eaton Cycle Usage
  • An average of 8 per cent of people in Long Eaton cycle to work - more than double the national average.
ASDA's Green Travel Plans
ASDA's Green Travel Plans are created when store colleagues audit their commuting regime and take simple steps to ensure as many of them as possible can car-share, walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work. Changes could include: shift swapping to accommodate car-sharers; the addition of more cycle racks at stores and working with public transport providers to ensure adequate services were available.

Cycling Facts - source: DETR Transport Statistics, Cycling in Britain (Dec 99)
  • Census statistics show that, in Great Britain as a whole, the proportion of people cycling to work fell from 4.4% in 1971, to 3.7% in 1981 and 3.2% in 1991. This fall was much greater for women. In England and Wales for example, the proportion of women cycling fell from 3.6% in 1981 to 2.7% in 1991. For men, the equivalent decline was less, from 4.2% to 3.9%;

  • The Labour Force Survey asked questions on how people usually travel to work. In autumn 1998, 829,000 people cycled to work in GB, 3% of those in employment;

  • The three main reasons for a cycling journey were for work and business (39% of cycling trips), for leisure or social purposes (34%), and for shopping (14%);

  • Over the last ten years the number of journeys made by bicycle has fallen by 36%, from 25 journeys per person per year in 1985/86 to 16 in 1996/98. About 2% of journeys are by bicycle;

  • In 1996/98, 7% of males and 3% of females in the National Travel Survey sample used a bicycle at least once during the survey week. This is a decrease from the1985/86 levels of 8% and 5%, for males and females respectively.