VICTORIA -- A local bicycle rental shop in Victoria is offering free bike rentals to local healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cycle BC Rentals is one of many local businesses that has shut down due to the novel coronavirus, leaving its fleet of bikes sitting idle.

Ander Gat, manager and co-owner of the shop, thought the bikes could be better used by health-care workers who want to maintain physical distancing on their daily commutes, or who want to stay active during their time off.

Gat say he got the idea from a bike rental shop in the U.K., which is offering long-term bicycle loans to healthcare workers.

“I think everyone is a little bit ‘idle hands’ right now,” Gat told CTV News.

“We’re all working behind the scenes doing what we can with our business, but I think every business right now is saying to themselves, ‘How can we contribute to the healthcare crisis?’”

Gat says that this time of year is usually an indicator for how the rest of the tourist season will go, so having to close down on March 12 was difficult. But, Gat says it was worth it to keep employees and costumers safe.

“Everybody right now is day by day. We don’t know what tomorrow is going to look like, we don’t know what two weeks is going to look like – what a month is going to look like, so I think it’s just important to do what we can today and worry about tomorrow when we get there.”

Gat says the shop has a number of great commuting bikes to loan out and that it is offering to drop them off for healthcare workers who are interested.

Each bicycle will come with a lock and lights and the shop will also provide free maintenance for the rental period, says Gat.

For those interested in taking up the free offer, Gat says to email the shop at