Reasons to Join a Bike to Work Scheme
So you’re looking to get into cycling; maybe start riding your bike on the commute to work in exchange for the cramped train. The only question is, do you buy yourself a bike outright or do it through a bike-to-work scheme? Decisions, decisions…
Choosing whether to join a cycle to work scheme is a choice many commuters are faced with when they decide they’d like to try cycling. Do you pay for your bike on a monthly basis or bite the bullet and buy the bike yourself, without any strings attached? While it all depends on your own circumstances and what you’re hoping for, joining a cycle scheme – whether that of your employer or a third party – can actually have more benefits than you might think.
No hefty initial payout.
When you first join the scheme and have signed your hire agreement, your employer will take care of the initial payout for the bike and accompanying accessories – usually up to the value of £1000. This means no large sum of money for you to worry about, and no dent in your cash flow.
The option for additional accessories.
You have the option to buy any additional accessories yourself, if they won’t fit within your £1000 allowance. Although they’ll remain the property of your employer and won’t be eligible for tax exemptions, it does allow you to get the most out of your cycling experience from get-go.
You likely won’t be alone.
If your employer offers the perk of a bike to work scheme, the chances are you won’t be the only one giving it a try. A scheme will increase the chances of your colleagues getting into cycling too, which can only bolster your efforts and will provide the opportunity for social commutes and support.
No maximum or minimum repayment period.
Unless your employer decides to instate one, there’ll be no max or minimum repayment period for your bike. So you can pay it off as slowly or as quickly as you’d like.
You won’t be forced to buy your bike at the end.
Lots of people worry about having to buy their bike at the end of the hire period, which can sometimes offset the savings you’ve made up to that point. But this isn’t the only option available – some schemes allow you to rehire the bike for another agreed period for just a small returnable deposit (no more salary sacrifices!). Or, if you don’t want it, you can simply return it to the scheme provider. It’s always best however to check with your provider or employer first.
Handy tip: rehiring the bike means lowering its HMRC-determined fair market value to 3% or 7% (depending whether the bike cost more or less than £500), often leading to more savings.
Get money off your next bike.
Your bike scheme will give you between 16 and 42% off your next bike, should you wish to find a shiny replacement for your steed at the end of its hire period. (The savings made will depend on how your scheme was implemented and how much you’ve spent). If you want, you could have a new bike every year!
Make the most of your bike.
Only 50% of your bike’s usage needs to be for work purposes, so it’s totally cool if you want to use it on weekends. Commuters aren’t expected to keep a log of their mileage, so while its essential that you play by the rules, we say get out there.
Finally stay motivated.
If you need motivation to stick to your cycling habit, then a cycle scheme is it. According to figures from the Cycle to Work Alliance, 72% of participants say they would never have bought a bike if it weren’t for the scheme, and 54% said that joining the scheme got them cycling to work in the first place.
The truth is, if you’re paying for something on a weekly or monthly basis, you’re much more likely to use it. One of the reasons a bike scheme has such a profound impact on employee health is because it provides them with a way to keep fit on the way to work and make financial savings. Who can say fairer than that?
Anything I Should Know?
If you’d like to know more about how our bike scheme works, head to our FAQs to get the full lowdown on what it could do for you. For those concerned about how much they might really save, an online calculator (like the Bike 2 Work calculator) can help give you a better idea.