Recently I had a fantastically silly idea — I’ll start cycling to work. After looking around on a few websites I found a bike I was happy with, a Specialized Hardrock. However, I then found out about a government funded Cycle Scheme which allows you to get a bike tax free.
The Cycle Scheme works in saving you money in a few ways. Firstly, your company buys the bike VAT-free. Secondly, the bike is paid for over a period of twelve or eighteen months, with the money coming directly from your wages. This means two things: you’re basically getting the bike interest-free for the length of the term repayments and you are saving both national insurance and income tax because the payment comes out before these are calculated and taken.
Beware, although the repayments may look higher than you expected and total more than you expected to save over the course of the year, the savings calculator is actually pretty accurate. If you calculate your net pay sacrifice over the term of your repayments, the total is more or less the same as on the savings calculator because you’re paying less tax over the year.
Opting in to the Cycle Scheme was a fairly easy process (at least for me as the employee), although it did feel like it took longer than necessary. Just ask your employer to sign up for the scheme, then find a local bike shop (or online retailer) who participate. The Cycle Scheme website has a page to help you find your nearest participating retailer - simply enter your postcode and away you go!
With the savings I was able to enjoy with the scheme I decided to get a Specialized Rockhopper Pro instead. It looks amazing, it’s very lightweight and rides nicely. Unfortunately, it is not immune from getting punctures which I found out on my first sixteen-mile return trip to work.
Overall, if you’re planning on cycling to work in the near future, or if you already cycle to work but are looking to replace your worn-out ten-year-old bike, definitely persuade your employer to sign on to the Cycle Scheme which means you will save yourself some money and get a fresh new bike — just in time for a glorious summer.