Cyclescheme is the UK's most popular cycle to work benefit, creating more cyclists than any other provider.

Inflation is at its highest level for 30 years, with gas, petrol and food prices rocketing. Riding your bike more can help save you money. Here’s how.

You save money any time you use a bike instead of a car or public transport. Yet if you spend wisely on your bike and embed cycling into your daily life you can make massive savings – mostly on transport but also on leisure. Here are ten things you can do that will make a difference to your finances.

1. Get your bike and equipment through Cyclescheme

You can’t make the savings we’ll get into if you don’t have a bike. The cheapest way to purchase one is to buy secondhand, assuming you can find a suitable bike and don’t end up overspending on it to make it meet your requirements. The cheapest way to get a new bike and equipment is to use the Cycle to Work scheme. If your employer is signed up to Cyclescheme, you can save 25-39% on RRP and pay in instalments. (For those earning the minimum wage, there’s IntoCyclescheme.)

Use Cyclescheme

2. Go by bike instead of car or public transport

Five years ago we calculated that cycling to work every day could save you over £3,000 every year compared with driving to work. Cycling also beat public transport hands down on price. Back then petrol was 117p a litre. It’s now 168p. So today you’ll spend nearly 50% more on fuel. You can slash your annual transport costs if you make as many everyday journeys as possible by bike – not just cycling to work but running errands, meeting friends, and more. If the journey is rideable, ride it. Aside from walking, which has a much more limited range, cycling is the cheapest way to travel.

3. Shop by bike

Another of those journeys you can do by bike. Shopping is more comfortable with panniers or a trailer but smaller or lighter loads can go on your back. You don’t have to hunt (or pay!) for parking when you’re on a bike so it’s easier to make multiple stops, enabling you to take advantage of cheaper deals in different shops. As you can’t usually haul as much shopping as you could by car, you’re more likely to stick with what’s on your list instead of chucking unnecessary impulse purchases into your shopping trolley.

4. Do your own bike maintenance

Bike shops are brilliant for the jobs you don’t have the skills or tools to tackle yourself. As long as you’re patient and careful, however, you’ve little to lose by having a go. You can still go to the shop if you get stuck. These days you don’t need a repair manual: the Park Tools website has some excellent free videos. A YouTube search will reveal many more, albeit of varying quality, while the thorough Bicycle Maintenance Guide app costs only a few quid. Invest in a pump, patch kit, and tyre levers, then add to your collection of cycling tools as you need them. Even if you never progress beyond simple jobs like fixing a puncture or adjusting brakes and gears, you’ll save money on innertubes and bike shop labour costs.

bike maintenance

5. Be ready for thieves

Good bike locks and cycle insurance aren’t cheap but they’re much cheaper than forking out to replace your bike if it’s stolen – or paying extra to travel by public transport or car every day because you can’t ride. Look after your bike. Invest a good lock and use it whenever you turn your back. A Sold Secure Gold lock may be sufficient; if it’s highly valuable – an e-bike, perhaps – get one that’s rated Sold Secure Diamond. Check that your household contents policy covers your bike or that it can be amended to do so. Pay particular attention to the maximum insured value for bikes and to any restrictions on where and how the bike must be parked for the insurance to be valid. A specialist cycle policy from, for example, Bikmo will usually offer more extensive coverage.

6. Quit the gym

If you’re riding your bike more you won’t need to spend £50 a month on gym membership to keep fit. Bin it and save £600 a year. Buy a turbo trainer (from £100) for home use if you can’t get by without sweating indoors on a static bike, and invest in a Zwift subscription (£12.99/month) if you miss your spinning class. It’s still cheaper than the gym. For those missing whatever gym exercises it is that give you chiselled abs, search online for “home workouts without equipment”. Everyone else: just ride your bike.

7. Ride your bike for fun

Cycling isn’t just transport: it’s also a low-cost leisure activity. The Cyclescheme bike that you use for cycling to work can also take you on a Sunday morning loop of the local lanes with friends or on a cycle-track-based picnic with your family. It can take you on an inexpensive holiday or long weekend adventure. How about one of Sustrans’ coast to coast routes or one of Cycling UK’s bikepacking routes like King Alfred’s Way? Got a mountain bike or gravel bike? Head for a forestry trail centre or explore your local bridleways.

Ride bike for fun - Joolze_Dymond_BikeWeek

8. Fit mudguards

Keep your bike well lubricated and relatively clean and it’ll have fewer mechanical problems, saving you money on spare parts or bike shop repair fees. The simplest way to keep your bike clean is to fit mudguards. Mudguards stop your clothes being sprayed with water and dirt too, so they’ll spend less time churning around in your washing machine, saving (expensive!) energy and extending the life of the fabrics.

9. Do not covet thy neighbour’s bike

It’s easy to get caught up in the consumerism of cycling and buy things you don’t need. Bike reviews and adverts may suggest that your cycling happiness would be complete or your cycling performance exponentially better if only you bought x or y. Don’t fall for this. Sure, buy something if you want it but don’t kid yourself that you desperately need it. Assuming the bike is basically suitable, cycling is 95% about the rider. Don’t spend an extra £1,000 on a bike that’s 1kg lighter – ride the one you’ve got more and lose 1kg off your waistline. Don’t spend hundreds on cycling kit if the clothes you ride in are perfectly comfortable. And above all don’t buy into the myth that lighter and more expensive is automatically better. It might be for racers but for transport cycling durability and practicality are what counts.

10. Sell your (second?) car and buy an e-cargo bike

Travelling by bike instead of by car saves plenty on petrol. The biggest costs of car ownership, however, are fixed costs – those you incur from merely owning one. Given that the average UK car is parked for 23 hours a day, according to the RAC, it’s worth asking yourself whether you need one, or whether you need that one if you have multiple vehicles. An electric-assist cargo bike can do most or all of the urban runaround jobs that cars do. Drop two children off at school? Easy – and probably faster. Big grocery shop? Trivial. Couple of sacks of cement from B&Q? No sweat. E-cargo bikes have moderately high price tags but: a) you can get them via Cyclescheme; and b) they cost less than a penny per mile in electricity to run.


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