Cycle to work scheme 2021: bike to work providers, how schemes work - and when is Cycle to Work Day?

The scheme was introduced as part of the Finance Act in 1999

The Cycle to Work scheme is a government initiative which promotes the benefits of cycling by encouraging people to cycle to their workplace on a daily basis.

But what exactly is the scheme and how does it work?

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The Cycle to Work scheme is a government initiative which promotes the benefits of cycling by encouraging people to cycle to their workplace on a daily basis (Photo: Shutterstock)

What is the Cycle to Work scheme?

The Cycle to Work scheme is a ‘salary sacrifice scheme’, which means an employee agrees to exchange part of their salary for a non-cash benefit - in this case a bike.

The scheme was introduced as part of the Finance Act in 1999 to encourage healthy living and reduce pollution.

The scheme has a range of benefits including employers saving 13.8% on their employer contributions for National Insurance, savings for employees on the cost of a bike and accessories, and it also supports the health and wellbeing of employees and contributes to business corporate and social responsibility.

James Palser, Cycle Friendly Employer project manager at Cycling UK, said the scheme has undergone a “significant change” in the last three years, including allowing cycles over £1000 to be purchased.

He said this change has allowed employees to buy electric bikes, cargo bikes and adapted bikes, “many of which were unavailable on the old scheme, but can help a significant proportion of people to get cycling”.

Mr Palser noted that with more staff cycling, employers can save on providing car parking, congestion and have healthier employees.

“There really is no reason not to offer it to their employees,” he added.

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Who can join and how does it work?

Any employer, of any size, across the public, private and voluntary sectors can run a Cycle to Work scheme.

However, the tax and National Insurance benefits apply only to staff who are treated as employees.

Mr Palser said: “Several companies offer to manage the process for business, or employers can manage the scheme themselves through their payroll system”.

There are a number of different Cycle to Work scheme providers available, including Evans Cycles, Cyclescheme and Rutland Cycling.

When is Cycle to Work Day?

Cycle to Work Day takes place on Thursday 5 August 2021.

It is the UK’s leading one-day commuting event and celebrates everyday cycling.

The event is an opportunity for employees to experience the benefits of cycling to work, including the boost it offers to health and wellbeing.

Data from the Office for National Statistics looking at the councils in England and Wales with the highest proportion of people surveyed who said cycling was their usual method of travel to work shows that in 2019, Cambridge had the highest number of people cycling to work.

In the city, 30.7% of people chose cycling as their means of transport to work.

Following behind this was Oxford, with 24.7% of people cycling to work.

This was out of the 219 number of councils with complete data, as some councils didn't have enough respondents to produce figures.