Support London Cycle Instructors through Covid-19

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Hundreds of cycling instructors in and around London have lost their livelihoods to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We all need to do our part to help each other through this,” says Claire Bowler, a cycle instructor based in Newham. “I signed up as a volunteer at the Nightingale Covid-19 hospital and I’m waiting for my shift details now. I need our Mayor to do his part for me, too, and honour our existing contracts so I don’t end up homeless. I’m losing the majority of my annual income over this lost summer and I’m already struggling with rent and utilities. How am I supposed to find another job in the middle of a pandemic?”

Without costing London boroughs and Transport for London (TfL) an extra penny, honouring existing contracts will protect the city’s cycling instructors from destitution so they can focus on staying safe and getting us back on our bikes after the lockdown. Please sign and share to show your support!

Summer is the busiest time of year for London’s cycling instructors and losing their income over the coming months will be devastating for the gig economy workers teaching us to cycle the city and making it safer and greener for future generations. That’s why cycling instructors working for London local authorities via contracted companies are demanding that Mayor Sadiq Khan honour existing commitments to pay them through the pandemic, using funds already ring fenced for that purpose.

“Like many precarious workers, London cycling instructors face destitution with little to no support from the government during the Covid-19 pandemic. Falling through the cracks of the self-employed job retention scheme, many can’t pay their rent.

Over the past ten years, we’ve brought the number of people on their bikes each day from 60,000 to 800,000. If Sadiq Khan wants to see that work continue, reducing road deaths and London’s carbon footprint, then he must honour the city’s existing commitments and make sure its cycle instructors get paid through this crisis. After the lockdown, we want to get more people on their bikes than ever - but we can only do that if we keep our jobs.”


  • Michael McSherry, chair, IWGB Cycle Instructors Branch


What members are asking for

The Cycling Instructors Branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) demands that:

  • TfL compel all London Boroughs to use the TfL budget - already allocated for cycling instructors - to pay the full wage they were due for the delivery of all instruction up to the end of the school summer term in July.

  • Where instructors accept bookings on a flexible basis rather than in advance, an average based on the last 12 weeks of invoicing should be paid instead.


Why isn’t existing government support enough?

The government’s scheme to support the self-employed is based on annual averages but the months between March and July are the busiest for cycling instructors. Most instructors will receive just 40 percent of their earnings for the three months covered by the scheme. Some will get as little as 25 percent and some none at all.

Cycle instructors, some of whom have given up to ten uninterrupted years service for TfL, will be given a single one off payment of £800-1500 and will then have no access to other benefits or support save for £95 a week Universal Credit - if they qualify.

Even before the Covid-19 crisis, the Cycling Instructors Branch of the IWGB were challenging poverty pay and poor conditions. Flat wages have resulted in real-terms pay cuts at most companies, with some rates falling as low as £12.50/hour - £7.50 lower than 10 years ago. But cycle training is vital not only for the Mayor's own targets in reducing road deaths and injuries, but also to tackling the rising congestion and emissions crisis on London's streets.

What can I do to help?



To: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
From: [Your Name]

The Cycling Instructors Branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) demands that:

TfL compel all London Boroughs to use the TfL budget - already allocated for cycling instructors - to pay the full wage they were due for the delivery of all instruction up to the end of the school summer term in July.

Where instructors accept bookings on a flexible basis rather than in advance, an average based on the last 12 weeks of invoicing should be paid instead.

Why isn’t existing government support enough?

The government’s scheme to support the self-employed is based on annual averages but the months between March and July are the busiest for cycling instructors. Most instructors will receive just 40 percent of their earnings for the three months covered by the scheme. Some will get as little as 25 percent and some none at all.

Cycle instructors, some of whom have given up to ten uninterrupted years service for TfL, will be given a single one off payment of £800-1500 and will then have no access to other benefits or support save for £95 a week Universal Credit - if they qualify.

Even before the Covid-19 crisis, the Cycling Instructors Branch of the IWGB were challenging poverty pay and poor conditions. Flat wages have resulted in real-terms pay cuts at most companies, with some rates falling as low as £12.50/hour - £7.50 lower than 10 years ago. But cycle training is vital not only for the Mayor's own targets in reducing road deaths and injuries, but also to tackling the rising congestion and emissions crisis on London's streets.