We wrote about what the Cycle to Work scheme is and some of the benefits in a recent article. Today we are going to discuss how you can actually join a Cycle to Work scheme.
First here is a quick recap about what the Cycle to Work scheme is. It is an initiative by the Government to encourage people to cycle rather than drive to work. In essence, you can buy a bike tax free and then pay for it over 12 or 18 months.
How are Cycle to Work schemes run?
Cycle to Work schemes are run by employers. Your employer actually buys your bike for you. You then buy the bike, month by month, by deductions from your salary (salary sacrifice).
The great thing about this arrangement is that you don’t have a large capital outlay for the bike and your monthly deductions are taken before tax and National Insurance so you are buying a bike tax free.
Cycling safety gear such as reflective jackets, lights and reflectors are also allowed under the scheme so not only can you buy the bike tax free, you can also buy a lot of the important gear tax free as well.
How to join the scheme
Many of the large cycle retailers such as Evans Cycles administer the cycle to work schemes for employers, although some of the smaller employers often run schemes themselves.
Once your employer has set up a Cycle to Work scheme they will either buy bikes for their employees via a nominated retailer or allow the employee to choose a bike from any bike shop.
Larger employers negotiate bulk discount deals from large retailers so you are more likely limited to a certain bike retail chain if you work for a large organisation.
Most employers will allow a maximum allowance for the bike and any specialist clothing. As this is normally £1000, you can buy a very nice bike indeed under this scheme.
You should approach your human resources department to see if your employer has set up a Cycle to Work scheme. A lot of companies haven’t, unfortunately, so you may need to group together a number of interested work colleagues and convince your employer that there is real interest in the scheme from the work force.
You will be able to choose your bike and then your employer will buy it for you and start to deduct the agreed amounts from your salary on a monthly basis.
You should also ensure that you have good bike insurance to cover theft and damage to your bike, as well as ensure that you have sufficient public liability insurance should you cause an accident whilst cycling.
Great bike deals are available
Some employers, mostly the small ones, may allow you to buy your bike from any shop you want so you will be in a great position to select the exact bike that you want and then negotiate with the bike shop to get a good discount.
Although the Cycle to Work scheme has provided a very welcome boost to the cycle industry, this sector is very competitive and bike retailers have to work hard for your business.
If several colleagues are interested in this scheme then club together and negotiate a good discount from your bike retailer. Even if it is just you buying a bike, then always try and negotiate a few extras such as a water bottle in the deal.
Here are two good online bike retailers, both with sales at the moment: