With the sun starting to come out commuter bikes are starting to awaken from their winter hibernation. All over the UK there are cyclists who are starting to dust off the frames, inflate their tyres and check on the condition of their brakes & drivetrains ready for a summer of cycling.
Of course, what this also means is that people are starting to think about leaving the car at home or saving money on their bus, train or tram fares by cycling to work – an idea made more feasible in recent years thanks to the Cycle 2 Work Scheme. Rather than riding into work on the bike they’ve owned for years, or their favourite weekend road or mountain bike they don’t want to risk losing when they chain it up outside, the Cycle 2 Work scheme has made it easier than ever to buy a new bike, with savings of at least 32% on the cost of the bike and any safety accessories.
What is the Cycle 2 Work scheme, and how does it work?
Introduced by the UK government in 1999 in an attempt to get more people cycling instead of driving or using public transport to get to their places of work, the Cycle 2 Work scheme makes it possible for everyone to buy a new bike (or two bikes, if you wish) and safety accessories including a cycle helmet, lights, bike locks and reflective clothing.
The scheme works through salary sacrifice which, if you’re not aware, is a process whereby the repayments are deducted from your salary just like tax. It allows you to buy a brand new mountain, road or hybrid bike by spreading the cost – usually over a year but up to 18 months – saving between 32% and 42% on your tax contributions depending on your tax band.
The offer does not extend to all accessories, however, with items like GoPro cameras, turbo trainers and GPS cycle computers not available on the Cycle 2 Work scheme.
All you have to do is inform your employer of your wish to get involved in the scheme, and they will provide you with all you need to know and do (which is broken down on the Tweeks Cycles Cycle 2 Work page). Once you’ve looked at the details you can start the fun part of choosing which bike you’d like, along with any safety accessories.
From that point onwards it’s just a case of filling out a form including the details (colour and sizes) of what you’re wishing to purchase, then your employer will finalise the details and place the order on your behalf. At the end of the agreement you’ll own the bike, and the accessories.
Am I eligible for the Cycle 2 Work Scheme?
Yes! Employees working in all public, private and third sector organisations signed up to the Cycle 2 Work scheme are automatically eligible, with the cost of the bike and any accessories automatically taken from your monthly pay as a form of salary sacrifice (like many company pension schemes).
The benefits of cycling to work
When you think about it, there are a lot of benefits of cycling to work meaning the Cycle 2 Work scheme makes a lot of sense. Firstly, there are the benefits to the environment of getting one more car off the road which means less pollution – and less traffic, too. (You might even find it’s quicker than taking the car!)
There are the then the financial benefits of cycling to work as you don’t have to worry about putting fuel in the car or paying to park.
Finally, there are the more obvious physical and health benefits of cycling. Riding to work will help you to get physically fitter and healthier, helping you to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular fitness; as well as helping to reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.
Top mountain bikes available on Cycle 2 Work
Just because it’s called the Cycle 2 Work scheme, it doesn’t mean you’re restricted to a road or hybrid bike. A lot of modern mountain bikes, while made to be ridden off-road, are just as comfortable on the flat stuff but can still be fun out on the trails, including these three gems:
- Scott Aspect 950 Hardtail Mountain Bike. A great-value mountain bike complete with hydraulic disc brakes that is comfortable on the commute during the week and in the woodland at the weekend.
- Lapierre Edge AM 627 Hardtail Mountain Bike. With all the key features of an ultra-modern mountain bike worth twice the price, the Lapierre Edge AM 627 is a real favourite among the mountain biking fraternity giving you control over the rough stuff and a smooth ride on the tarmac, too.
- Cube Reaction TM Hardtail Mountain Bike. Fun to ride, great looking and with components that offer impeccable performance in all conditions; the best-selling Cube Reaction TM has been given a makeover with bigger tyres, better suspension and a more solid frame.
The best road bikes available on the Cycle 2 Work Scheme
Road bikes have a long way since the start of the Cycle 2 Work scheme. Today’s road bikes are lighter, faster and more practical meaning riders can get on in the morning and get off for a coffee three hours later fresh as a daisy. Of course, you’re probably looking to buy a road bike you can commute on, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use any of these as your weekend road bike, too:
- Scott Speedster 40 Road Bike. A real staff favourite, the Scott Speedster remains one of the most popular and stylish road bikes around today. With a light but comfortable frame and great value spec including a 16-speed Shimano drivetrain and wider rims; it’s a comfortable road bike you could ride all day (if work didn’t get in the way).
- GT Bicycles GTR Comp Road Bike. With its alloy frame and carbon forks the GTR Comp offers riders a blend of tradition and the future. Made in the signature triple triangle frame design and using modern disc brakes that work in the wet and dry making this a highly attractive option in more ways than one.
- Cube Attain SL Road Bike. Widely regarded as one of the best value road bikes around, the Cube Attain SL is a comfortable and stylish bike that provides smooth shifting and a light aluminium frame to give you the speed and practicality you’d expect from a modern road bike.
Our favourite hybrid bikes available on the Cycle 2 Work Scheme
Can’t decide if you want a road bike or a mountain bike? Simple, opt for a hybrid bike and you’ll get a versatile blend of both! Offering excellent comfort across a range of surfaces, these hybrid bikes are available as part of the Cycle 2 Work scheme and offer something for riders of all abilities:
- Cube Touring Hybrid Bike. A versatile, comfortable, stylish hybrid bike that you can use seven days a week; the Cube Touring hybrid bike is great for riders who enjoy a more recreational, leisurely style of riding.
- GT Bicycles Transeo Expert Hybrid Bike. Great for the road, the gravel, the woodland trails and everything else in between; the GT Transeo Expert comes with a lightweight frame and high performance Shimano hydraulic disc brakes as well as a great design.
- Scott Sub Cross 10 Hybrid Bike. A bike that gives you everything you need to conquer the rough terrain as well as the roads, the Scott Sub Cross 10 offers comfort, smooth gearing and excellent braking in all conditions.