On your bike! Why cycling to work is your next power move
Fed up with the daily grind of traffic jams and overcrowded buses or trains? Cycle to Work Day (yes, that’s a thing) is just around the corner, and we’re looking at reasons to don the Lycra and hit the road with the Cycle to Work scheme.
The rise of ‘pedal power’ across the UK is seeing over 2 million people cycle at least once a week. Every 1 in 3 bikes sold in the UK are bought from Halfords – and sales of pricier models are booming. If you work in a bustling city, especially London, you’ll definitely have noticed a rise in bike riders. Initiatives like Cyclescheme are giving them a definite boost.
So, what is Cyclescheme?
It’s a ‘green’ government initiative to reduce car emissions, sweetened with tax exemptions on bikes and gear. To sum up, your employer buys the commuting package, then hires it out to you. Then, you pay a monthly fee out of your salary to ‘hire’ a brand-new bike, usually over a 12 to 18-month period. Both you and your employer make National Insurance savings.
How does it work?
You can opt for a package that suits you: either the standard package that comes complete with the bike and safety equipment, or just the bike alone, or you can mix and match.
After the agreement ends you can opt to buy the bike to keep, continue hiring through the scheme, or just give it back.
That’s it in a nutshell, but there are finer points to consider. Also, not everyone is eligible – you’ll need to be getting paid through the PAYE system, and earning more than the National Minimum Wage after deductions from the fees per month. But if you are able to sign up, consider this…
How does it benefit you?
Firstly, cycling keeps you trim. Sitting at a desk all day – then on a train, bus or in the car – can let the daily calories build up, potentially leading to weight gain. Brisk cycling can burn up to 500 calories an hour, helping to keep those calories at bay!
Secondly, low-impact exercise offers health benefits such as reduced cancer and heart disease risk, and it’s easier on your joints. It’s great for mental health too – regular cyclists report feeling a sense of readiness for the day ahead after their morning bike commute.
Thirdly, cycling opens a whole new world of events and get-togethers. If you fancy a trip to the south of France, you could sign up for a charity ride; British Cycling is chock-full of events listings.
As a bonus, you can use bike rides to expand your professional networks, or hop on as an escape from the pressures of work.
How does Cycle to Work save you money?
Cycling to work doesn’t just save you money on those expensive train or bus fares every month, but, as we mentioned, Cyclescheme offers savings on both your National Insurance and Income Tax. Your company can also benefit from tax savings, and it’s free for you and your employer to opt in.
Is your company doing this?
If the Cycle to Work scheme contributes to healthier and more motivated employees, the potential to win new business, tax breaks and helping to save the planet, then why aren’t they signed up already?
Pass on the Cyclescheme website URL for more information on how to register (which only takes 10 minutes!), and even more reasons why the Cycle to Work Scheme is a good choice for the business and your colleagues.