Commuters should get incentives to use electric bikes to get to work, cycling giant Halfords has said.

Research commissioned by the firm found six in ten UK workers are not able to work flexibly - meaning millions face a return to full-time commuting.

Meanwhile, with Covid-19 infections rising, one in three workers said they are apprehensive about returning to public transport.

The retailer has called on ministers to increase subsidies for e-bikes - which they say now represent 17% of bike sales in the EU - but just 5% in the UK.

Electric bikes are regular bikes with a motor and rechargeable battery.

The motor provides power assistance to reduce the effort required to pedal, and give riders the "oomph" they need to get up hills.

Halfords also called on ministers to investigate a scrappage scheme for e-bikes, similar to ones introduced to encourage people to buy new cars.

“E-bikes can fill a huge hole in our national commuting strategy,” said Paul Tomlinson, Halfords Cycling Director.

“We’ve seen demand for e-bikes grow 76% in the past year, but we’re still behind other countries where e-bikes are already making a major contribution to commuting.”

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Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, who sells her own range of hybrid e-bikes through Halfords, said: “Cycling has seen a massive renaissance over the past 18 months but for people who are less confident or face a tougher commute, an e-bike really is the perfect solution, especially with people reluctant to use public transport now.

"I truly believe e-bikes will be a massive part of commuting for the future.”