Been bitten by the cycling bug? Inspired to make cycling a part of your everyday life? Why not use two wheels to commute to work, helping your arrive fitter, happier and healthier! What could be better?
Not having to pay for all the gear up front, that's what.
Getting a bike through your employers cycle to work scheme means they cover the cost initially, and you have low, manageable, monthly repayments. Not only can you get a bike with the scheme, but also your lights, locks and helmet - the works.
What is the Cycle to Work scheme?
Although the ins and outs are quite complicated, the scheme essentially sees your employer buy you a bike, and you pay them back over time via salary sacrifice. The idea is that both you and your employer make a tax saving, promote greener travel and save money.
Why use the scheme?
Although the deal isn’t as good a money-saver as it once was, it’s still a great way to get a bike and all the associated bits and pieces like helmets, lights and locks, without making the initial outlay yourself. You will still also save a good percentage of the cost of the bike too. Perfect for getting kitted up in one fell swoop.
There will be a bit of variation between organisations, but generally the process goes as follows;
- Contact your HR department to see which scheme they’ve signed up to, and which bike shops they have an arrangement with. The bike shops your employer has an arrangement with are those which you need to buy your bike and accessories from. There are several schemes out there, like Ride 2 Work and Cyclescheme. This information may be listed on your company intranet.
- Work out how much you want to spend. Most schemes require a detailed quote, stating which bike and accessories you want, which any bike shop will be able to produce for you. Other schemes just need you to estimate how much you want to spend.
- Take the quote to your HR department or apply for your voucher online.
- The cycle to work company will then confirm your eligibility, and invoice your employer's company for the cost of the bike etc you have requested.
- Once this is processed, the cycle to work company will send out your voucher. This can take several weeks, so factor that in if you are planning on getting one for a particular occasion.
- Take the voucher to the bike shop, and exchange it for the bicycle of your dreams, and any other accessories or parts.
What can the voucher be spent on?
Anything that facilitates your safe ride to work. This obviously means a bike, but also covers helmets, lights, locks, reflectives, jackets, mud guards, pannier racks and bags, etc. You can just get a voucher to cover these ‘safety’ items, if you already have a bike. There is usually a minimum value for this of £100.
- You can’t get change back on a voucher, so spend up to the full amount. If it looks like you are going to have a bit left over, why not stock up on essentials like inner tubes and chain lube.
- If your employer isn’t signed up, you can encourage them to join one of the schemes.
- The voucher limit is usually £1000, though some employers can provide certificates to a higher value.