For a disabled person in work, Cyclescheme is a great way to save money on a specialised cycle and spread the cost.
There’s a specialised or adapted cycle to suit just about every disability. Paraplegia, amputee, thalidomide disability, balance problems, blind or partially sighted, limited leg movement… these conditions are only the start of what can be accommodated on two or, more likely, three or even four wheels.
Disabilities are as unique as those who have them. What they have in common in terms of cycles is financial: bicycles or tricycles for disabled cyclists are more expensive than standard bikes. A fairly conventional tricycle like the 7-speed Pashley Tri-1 is over £800; most tandems cost more than £1,000; and handcycles often cost over £2,000. And that’s without considering electrical assistance…
Benefits from the government are unlikely to help much. The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is no more. In its stead is the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You can claim PIP if you’re in work or unemployed, and there is a mobility component to it. In 2019, you can apply for £23.20 or £61.20 a week for your mobility needs, depending on how your condition affects you. (The Money Advice Service has good information on claiming.) This money is handy if you want to lease a car or mobility scooter to get around but not if you want to buy a bike, where the big cost is up front and running costs are negligible.
The good news is that non-standard cycles are specifically included within the Cycle to Work scheme guidance. A cycle is defined as ‘a bicycle, a tricycle, or a cycle having four or more wheels, not being in any case a motor vehicle’. So if your employer is registered with Cyclescheme, you can save 25-39% on the cost of your specialised cycle and equipment for it and pay in instalments. This year the Department for Transport made it easier for employees to get cycles costing over £1,000. It’s fantastic news for anyone requiring a speciality cycle, the majority of which cost much more than the previous £1k price cap.
To be able to get a cycle that costs more than £1,000 through Cyclescheme, your employer needs to be registered with Cyclescheme’s new Freedom to Ride scheme, or else have FCA accreditation of their own. On the Cyclescheme website, click the ‘I’m an employee’ button and search for your employer. When you log in, the message you want to see is: ‘Great news, you can save on a cycle to work package of any value. Start your application today…’ That tells you that you can get whatever cycle you need. If you don’t see this message, speak to your employer and ask if they would consider switching to the Freedom to Ride scheme so that all of their employees, not just the able-bodied ones, can benefit from cycling to work.