In June 2019, the government updated the 20-year old Cycle to Work scheme, so employees can choose to hire out bikes and cycling gear over £1000, which would not have been possible previously. The main advantage of this change is that employees will have access to e-bikes, meaning that people that are less fit or elderly can also enjoy the benefits of the programme.
The benefits of the Cycle to Work scheme
According to a NICE report, illness as an outcome of physical inactivity costs the NHS up to £1 billion per annum, with further indirect costs calculated at £8.2 billion. Cycling not only has clear physical health benefits for yourself: it could reduce the cost of medical interventions due to a sedentary lifestyle. Cycling improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and helps keep weight under control. Regular exercise is also beneficial for mental health and recent studies have shown that intense exercise such as cycling can help alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Cycling could also be a safer way to travel to work since you avoid crowded public transport journeys. “In fact, every essential journey undertaken by bike makes public transport and petrol stations are less busy and thus safer for key workers who have to use them,” says the Cyclescheme website. On top of that, the environment will also be cleaner.
How it works
Many employers around the UK offer the Cycle to Work scheme through various providers. This is a handy step-by-step list of how to get started with the scheme from Cycling Weekly’s website:
- Find out what scheme your employer is enrolled in and therefore where you can buy your bike from, and do some window shopping
- Speak to your HR department and request a certificate
- Receive the certificate, take it to the relevant bike shop
- Redeem the certificate against the cost of the bike and equipment
- Salary sacrifice commences from your next pay packet
If you want to understand more about how the scheme works, have a look here.