Skip to main content

Good for business

Why travel by foot and bike makes business sense

Internet shopping and the ability to have food delivered to your home has moved the goalposts on visits to the local high street in recent years. It means that when people choose to go to their local high street, they are looking for an experience.

That means that local high streets need to become destinations – places where people can shop, eat, drink and relax, getting something that they can't enjoy at home.

Part of that experience is the journey – and it turns out that arriving and leaving on foot or by bike is what customers like to do.

There have been lots of studies on this – one found that high street walking, cycling and public space improvements can increase retail sales by up to 30%.

Over one month, people who walk to the high street spend 40% more than people who drive there.

this means

Cycling and walking routes, bike parking, plus improvements to the public space – trees, dropped curbs, pedestrianised areas – all make for a thriving high street, and one that will tempt customers back regularly.

"Local bike deliveries have boosted our business"

Chorlton Cheesemonger Chris says zero carbon, car-free deliveries have been helped his business gain a loyal customer base

Opening a new business just after the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, doing things differently is something that Chorlton Cheesemonger thrives on. Trialing customer deliveries by bike is something the shop recently took a punt on - and it has paid off massively.

Today, Chorlton Bike Deliveries typically delivers cheese to 20 customers per week on Wednesdays and Fridays. Chris tells us that customers really enjoy receiving their orders by bike and that it is a unique offer that has helped them gain a loyal following, not just locally but Greater Manchester-wide.

Switch things up and deliver by bike

Invest in a cargo bike or partner up with Greater Manchester's growing group of bike delivery organisations

2020 saw the creation of two local bike delivery organisations in Greater Manchester.

Chorlton Bike Deliveries, established in April 2020, currently has a 20-strong fleet of riders and counts local supermarket Unicorn Grocery, a cheesemongers, a wine shop, a bakers and even local GP surgeries among its growing customer-base.

Following on its heels, Urmston Bike Deliveries, set up in autumn 2020, has a growing fleet of riders who deliver bread, cocktail kits, brownies and even items for a local secondary school.

Interested in setting up your own bike delivery company or trialing a cargo bike to use for your own business's deliveries? TfGM can help support you, or speak to Manchester Bike Hire.

How are we helping businesses in Greater Manchester?

All of the cycling and walking routes and Active Neighbourhoods that are being delivered across Greater Manchester will have many benefits for businesses.

Research repeatedly shows that making streets more pleasant for walking and cycling can lead to increased footfall, customers visiting more regularly, and ultimately, increased sales.

In Altrincham, improvements to the public spaces to make them more walkable and planting trees has played a part in huge year-on-year increases in footfall.

The Council's Leader Andrew Western has said: "Altrincham has really turned itself around in recent years and our investment in making the town more accessible on foot and a nice place to be have definitely paid off for residents, businesses and our burgeoning local economy."

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to several retail and leisure areas in Greater Manchester running trial pedestrianisation schemes. Sections of Deansgate, Thomas Street and Ducie Street in central Manchester have been successfully closed to motor traffic, while additional areas have been created in local town centres such as Oldham for people travelling on foot and businesses have been enjoying using their streets for seating and retail, creating a more pleasant environment for customers. Plans are now in place for some of the changes to be made permanent.

To see what’s planned where your business is located, put the postcode into our interactive map.

Cycle parking delivers five times the retail spend per square metre than the same area of car parking.

Transport for London, 2013

"As a trader and resident, I believe that the cycling and walking route in Chorlton will make the area a more attractive destination, increasing footfall and benefitting local businesses."

John Crawford, owner, Electrik Bar, Chorlton

I'm a business owner

If you're a business owner and want to know how you and your staff can start benefitting from cycling and walking, we can help. Our team can provide expert knowledge and support to help you encourage your employees to travel to work by bike or on foot, such as the Cycle to Work scheme, bike parking, cycle champions and providing shower facilities. We can also develop a plan with you to include more sustainable travel in your wider business practices.

Stay in the loop

Sign up to receive our cycling and walking newsletter