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Cycle to work explained

You might have heard of the Cycle to Work scheme, but how does it work and can you really get a new commuting bike without having to pay for it up front?

If you’ve decided to get fit and save money by starting to cycle to work then a brand new bike isn’t essential.

Maybe you’ve got a trusty old bike in the shed or can arrange to borrow one from a friend so you can try commuting by bike.

But once you’ve tasted the freedom of cycling to work you might want to buy a better bike that’s more suited to your commuting route.

That’s where the Cycle to Work scheme can come in handy.

What is the Cycle to Work scheme?

The Cycle to Work scheme is designed to help you save money on a new work bike and spread the cost of the bike over monthly tax-free instalments through your employer.

How does the scheme work?

There are a few different scheme providers out there each with their own variations but the basic idea is the same.

It’s a simple process:

  1. Your workplace registers with a scheme provider
  2. You choose the bike you want
  3. Your employer pays for it
  4. You pay your employer back through monthly instalments taken through payroll.

Salary sacrifice periods are for a minimum of 12 months (but can be for longer) and your employer can advise on the spending limit.

Green Commute Initiative allows for the repayments to be spread over 12-48 months (as agreed with the employer), and they are registered with the FCA for Consumer Hire.

How does the tax-free bit work?

Monthly payments for the new bike are taken from the employee’s gross salary i.e. before any tax is deducted.

You’ll be paying less tax and National Insurance every month that you’re paying off the bike.

This means that at the end of the scheme you’ll have saved up to 32% of the actual cost of the bike for basic-rate taxpayers.

And even more for higher rate ones (and you’ll have spread the cost into manageable monthly payments too). 

With most providers, there is an end-of-scheme payment, as technically you have been loaned the bike and you have to buy it at what HMRC call a fair market value.

This usually works out around 7%, though the Green Commute Initiative only charges £1.

The scheme is easy to access and won’t take up much administration time for your employer.

There’s a financial benefit for your employer too.

They end up paying less employer national insurance contribution so they save about 13% on the cost of the bike.

So your employer pays for the bike from you in monthly instalments, and saves 13% in the process and gets a healthier, happier more productive staff member who doesn’t need a parking space.

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I'm thinking about starting
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I PLEDGE TO FIND A BIKE AND RIDE IT

Pledging your support for #BikeIsBest adds another voice to our campaign, helping the needs of cyclists get heard nationally and in your local community. We will provide you with regular updates on our campaign work and further ways to get involved, plus hints, tips, and advice from our cycling community.

I'm thinking about starting
I haven't ridden in ages
I've just got my first bike
I only really ride (or plan to) for my commute
I'd like to turn it into a regular activity
I'd like to get my young family into it
I want to encourage others & champion cycling causes

I'm happy to receive advice, tips and other great stuff from #BikeIsBest via email.

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+ A CUSTOM PLEDGE OPTION

Pledging your support for #BikeIsBest adds another voice to our campaign, helping the needs of cyclists get heard nationally and in your local community. We will provide you with regular updates on our campaign work and further ways to get involved, plus hints, tips, and advice from our cycling community.

I'm thinking about starting
I haven't ridden in ages
I've just got my first bike
I only really ride (or plan to) for my commute
I'd like to turn it into a regular activity
I'd like to get my young family into it
I want to encourage others & champion cycling causes

I'm happy to receive advice, tips and other great stuff from #BikeIsBest via email.