If you’re like me then you will have been inundated with messages in recent days letting you know how organizations have been affected in unprecedented ways by the current coronavirus outbreak. As a team, we have taken time to think through how we will weather the storm, and want to share that with you.
We are taking this situation very seriously for the health of our own team, our partners, and, most importantly, all of you who we were looking forward to meeting at bike shows and events in the coming months. As you will have already heard, events like the London Bike Show, VELOBerlin, and Fully Charged Live have been postponed until after June, or are cancelled outright, in line with public health guidelines.
At FLIT we will also follow guidelines for social distancing by adapting our usual test ride appointments to follow strict hygiene standards that are being recommended for all bike shops, or cancelling test rides altogether when advised to do so. This means that, until the outbreak is over, we ask that test riders use the hand sanitiser or disposable gloves that we offer, and bring their own helmet. In turn, we will clean all touch points on the bike with disinfectant before and after each test ride, and ensure that we keep an appropriate distance to minimize the risk of infection. We also ask that anyone in an at risk group avoid requesting test rides until guidelines changes.
Luckily, we have not been impacted as severely as some other companies. Our team has able to adapt our working patterns appropriately, and we manufacture our ebikes in Taiwan, one of the countries that has had the greatest success in containing this coronavirus over the past few months. This means that the manufacturing of our bike frames has been relatively unaffected.
However, we can only build finished bikes as fast as the slowest component, and suppliers elsewhere in the world have been understandably impacted as factories seek to protect their staff by running at reduced capacity. We have been told that some of our components (eg. lights, motors, brakes) will now be delivered in July - two months later than anticipated. In addition, due to travel restrictions, our technical team is currently unable to go to Taiwan to oversee the final stages of manufacturing and sign off on shipments. Although we will continue to find ways to adapt to the current situation, we are now expecting our first shipment of bikes to reach the UK in September 2020. This is because it takes 6-8 weeks for a container to transit from Taiwan to the UK.
This coronavirus looks set to stay with us for at least a few more months. It’s times like these that companies need to reaffirm why they do what they do. We still believe that regular cycling is a great way to move around quickly, maintain good health, and make our cities more human places to live. We also believe that bikes and ebikes will be part of the solution in getting cities moving again once this is over. In short, we continue to believe in what we do and will work with our partners through this period of uncertainty to give our customers the best possible experience when we deliver bikes to them later this year.
Finally, I’d like to personally thank all of you who have sent us messages of support over the past few days. Thank you for sticking with us, and feel free to get in touch at any time.
Best wishes from our team to you and your families,
Alex, FLIT Co-Founder