Enabling sustainable modes of travel in Cambridge


Cambridge, UK

Reading time: 4 minutes


By Ceci Yip

Cambridge is a vibrant and young university city where one third of the population commute by bikes 5 days a week. The young population are generally more open to use cycling as a way of transport as it is more economical and convenient for them. Despite the intense competition for the bike business in the city, Decathlon Cambridge strives to get closer to the community and improve the product life cycle sustainability to enable more people to adopt a sustainable travel mode.

Sustainable travel initiative in Cambridge

David MARTIN and his team cooperated with smartjourneys and TravelPlan to launch a sustainable initiative to 340 enterprises in Cambridge in March 2020. The employees of these companies could benefit from a Gift Card worth 10% of the value of the purchased bike and a 50% discount of Workshop service. The aim was to deliver incentives to the community to adopt a sustainable travel mode, and to increase the exposure of Decathlon Cambridge and bring more customers to the store. 

Although the campaign was bogged down by Covid-19, the team is confident to relaunch it in 2021 as it is closely linked with the TranSport, Health and Regenerative targets of the Vision.

Getting into the community since 2018

The team already has 2 years of experience running this initiative. When it first started with the Northstowe community of around 200 residents, the impact was not so big and it did not drive much traffic to the store. However, it gave an idea to the team that they were on the right track. 

Having learnt from the experience, the team reached out to a new group of users – new students of Girton College of the University of Cambridge. To prepare for the new school year, bike catalogues were sent to the students during the summer holidays so that they were able to choose their bikes before arriving in Cambridge. Starting from September, students came to the store to pick up their bikes and use the Gift Card to buy accessories worth 10% of the purchased bike’s value. The campaign result in 2019 was satisfactory with the ROI reaching 3.84 times.

The project was considered a great investment because it aligned with the company’s Vision, principles and had a positive impact on the society. In 2021, the campaign will continue to expand to the enterprises and clubs in Cambridge.

Help change travel modes by providing an one-stop solution

Being a passionate cyclist, David wants to share his passion and encourage people to be more active, healthier and happier. He is also very convinced by the fact that cycling can help improve mental and physical healths of the population. Therefore, he contributes his expertise to his job.

With his team, they want to provide a sustainable product lifecycle to the customers. Rental, Recycle and Repair services will be the 3Rs to focus on. Bike rental will be made available to the students in the city, accompanied by the recycling service. Mobile workshop service using cargo bikes will also be developed. It will allow more convenience and flexibility when technicians can go to customers’ places to repair their bikes. This one-stop shop of bike products and services will help and equip customers to change their travel mode into a more sustainable way. 

In the future, the team hopes that Decathlon Cambridge could be known for its sustainable strategies, and become the first place to go when customers want to get bikes, accessories, and repair services. They will also work with the city council to build a more bike-friendly city. By starting these initiatives aligned with the Vision, the team intends to develop successful strategies and share them with other cities in the UK.

“What we really need is to go deep in the heart of our customers, so that they identify with us and internalize our mission and purpose.”

David MARTIN, Business Leader in Decathlon Cambridge

Project initiators
David Martin

David MARTIN  

Business Leader in Decathlon Cambridge