Cycling is proven to extend your life, add more life experiences and smiles into those extra years and save the planet from the choke-filled fumes of trains, planes and automobiles. There’s also the financial saving. The Cycle to Work calculator calculates you how long it’ll take to pay off your pride and joy if your new bike commute replaces, say, a twice-daily train journey.
As an example, let’s say your new bike costs £600. Your current train to work is around six miles each way and costs £5 return per day. Input this detail into the calculator and you discover that you’ll pay your bike off in 120 working days and your daily burn equals 600 calories. Over a year, if you cycled every day, you’d save £704 over that train journey (and you’ll feel fitter!). But as you’ll discover, that’s not the only way to save money on two wheels…
Cycle To Work scheme
The most popular and well-known cycling incentive is the Cycle to Work Scheme. This has run since 1999 and can save you up to 42% on a new bike. How does it work? Essentially, your employer buys a bike for your ride to work of no more than £1,000. You then hire it through ‘salary sacrifice’, where a monthly amount is deducted from your pay packet before tax and NI have been taken. Basically, the salary sacrifice is made from your gross pay not your net salary.
This service is now offered by many third-party providers. Take Cyclescheme. For 12 months you pay a set amount from your salary in exchange for the hire of the Cyclescheme package from your employer, before making a final payment for a small amount. For instance, with a Cyclescheme package under £500, you’ll pay 3% of the original value; over £500 it’s 7% so a maximum of £70 on a £1,000 package.
Currently the scheme’s solely for those in employment but there’s a swell of support behind rolling out the scheme to the self-employed.
Save each mile
One way the self-employed can currently save money is by legally putting one over the taxman. While it’s common knowledge that the self-employed can claim petrol expenses (45p per mile) when driving to and from a work place, it’s less well-publicised that you can do the same by cycling to work (20p per mile). What’s even less well-known is that those on PAYE can take advantage of this 20p per mile cycling commute. Contact the taxman now!
Buy one, give one
Okay, this one won’t save you money but it will get you a brilliant workhorse of a bike and help change someone’s life. Elephant Bikes, who’ll be at the Spin Cycling Festival, run a ‘Buy One, Give One’ scheme every time you buy one of their town bikes. This means that when you buy one of their £250 refurbished postal bikes, the kind folk at Elephant Bike will donate another refurbished postal bike to a social enterprise in Africa. This can mean the recipient securing work, generating an income or getting an invaluable education.
Earn while you pedal
An increasing number of apps have hit the digital market where you’re rewarded for a healthy lifestyle. Take the Better Points app, available on the App Store or Google Play. The app monitors how far you cycle, walk or run and rewards you with points up to a maximum of 300 points per week. What do you get for your points? 2,000 will bag you a £2 Currys PC World gift card or similar from Decathlon. Every little helps… The CleanSpace app runs a similar scheme with the added feature that you can monitor current air pollution levels to help you avoid pollution hotspots.
The great thing about all this money-saving is that you’ll have extra reserves to buy something you really want at this year’s Spin Cycling Festival!