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

Cyclescheme has become the first Cycle to Work provider to fulfil one million requests. That’s a million opportunities for commuters to get to work by bike.

One million requests! This milestone is much more than a tally of how many Cyclescheme packages have been processed. It means millions of cycling journeys have been enabled, millions of fossil fuel burning car journeys haven’t happened, and many millions more pounds have passed through bike shop tills. It’s a reshaping not just of the UK cycling market but of transport cycling’s potential.

The Cycle to Work scheme has existed since 1999. It didn’t really take off, however, until 2005 when Cyclescheme became the first Cycle to Work provider. Before that it was something that accountants knew about. They’d read the Government’s Finance Act 1999 and they knew what a tax exempt loan scheme was. The rest of us, those who had actually heard of Cycle to Work back then, mostly paused at the word tax. Tax as in tax return. Tax as in taxing.

Cyclescheme made the Cycle to Work scheme accessible by offering an end-to-end service for employers. Just sign up: Cyclescheme would do the rest. At the click of mouse, almost, businesses could save money on their employer NICs, provide a desirable perk to their workforce, and benefit from healthier, more punctual staff. So sign up they did.

Bike shops got on board too. They could see the benefits of increased footfall, increased revenue, and repeat custom. In 2009 Cyclescheme was recognised as the fastest growing private company in the UK by the Times and Virgin, having grown 348% in three years. Today over 75,000 employers and over 4,000 retailers have signed up to Cyclescheme.

Cyclescheme is the largest Cycle to Work provider. That’s not just because it was first out of the gate. Cyclescheme customers are overwhelmingly happy with their experience, with 92% recommending it.

1 Million Cyclescheme Requests


Cyclescheme’s services and support have kept expanding and developing, making Cycle to Work accessible to more and more employees. Here are some of the highlights.

Cycle to Work Alliance
In 2010 Cyclescheme founded the Cycle to Work Alliance with Cycle Solutions, Evans Cycles, and Halfords; Vivup has since joined. Between them, the five providers make up around 80% of the Cycle to Work market. This gives them a powerful voice to lobby on cycling to work issues – and for improvements to the Cycle to Work legislation. The alliance is working to embed a cycle commuting culture in the workplace, as well as to improve the scope of Cycle to Work. Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance, Cyclescheme’s Adrian Warren, has noted: “With clear Government support, the alliance members [have] contributed to updating legal guidance focused on making cycle to work more accessible to employees, in line with changing bike prices and employee behaviour.”

Cycle to Work Day
Cycle to Work Day is ten years old in 2022. Organised by Cyclescheme, it’s a celebration of cycle commuting that reinforces people’s propensity to get to work by bike. It reminds cyclists that, though they may cycle to work by themselves, there is a wider community of cycle commuters that they’re part of. Participants log their rides with Love to Ride, which are then shared throughout the Love to Ride community. Logging a ride on Cycle to Work Day gives every participant the chance to win prizes. 

Accessory-only packages
It used to be that your Cycle to Work request could only include accessories – confusingly referred to as ‘safety equipment’ – when you got a bike. If you already had a decent bike and needed only a waterproof jacket, lights and luggage to be able to cycle to work, too bad: you couldn’t get them through the scheme. Cyclescheme worked with the Department for Transport (DfT) and HMRC to change that. You can now get an accessory-only package, which is great news for existing cyclists – including those who have already used Cyclescheme to obtain a bike. On top of that, the ill-defined list of ‘safety equipment’ has been clarified and expanded. 

Freedom to Ride
Up until 2019, the default limit for a Cycle to Work request was £1,000. Employees could only apply for a higher value package if their employer had their own consumer credit licence, authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As most employers didn’t (and don’t), most employees were limited to £1,000. That won’t even buy a standard (C-Line) Brompton, a quintessential commuting bike. As for electric bikes, cargo bikes, and adaptive bikes? Forget it: models worth buying with a price tag of £1,000 or less are like hen’s teeth. To solve the problem, Cyclescheme spearheaded the biggest change in Cycle to Work’s 20 year history. Working with the DfT, HMRC, and FCA, they launched Freedom to Ride. At a stroke, it solved the problem for anyone needing or wanting a more expensive bike. Any employer who offers Freedom to Ride can accept employee requests that exceed £1,000. 

City Bike Hire
In 2020 Cyclescheme launched another scheme to help employees cycle more for less: City Bike Hire. It works through salary sacrifice, like a standard Cyclescheme  request, and enables employees to save 32-42% on bike hire memberships with Santander Cycles, Brompton Bike Hire, and Buzzbike. That’s super useful for employees who don’t have a bike of their own since it could cost them as little as £1 a week to be a year-round cyclist. But it also complements a standard Cyclescheme package. Let’s say you’re in London for the day on business and don’t want to take your own bike or leave it locked up on the street (London being the UK’s bike theft capital). With City Bike Hire, you can leave your own bike at home and hop on a hire bike. You’ve got options. 

Onwards and upwards
Cyclescheme has come a long way since 2005. A million requests is huge. Yet there’s still enormous untapped potential. Cycling’s modal share of all commutes is just 2%. Yet the average trip length in England, across all transport modes, is less than six miles. (It’s similar in the UK’s other countries.) Six miles isn’t difficult on a bike – and it’s trivial on an e-bike. More cycling isn’t just good news for Cycle to Work providers like Cyclescheme, or for those who take advantage of the scheme. It’s good for everyone. 

Cycling makes us fitter, healthier, and leaner. It burns around 300 calories an hour, so someone who cycles to work and back daily can expect to lose around 13lb in a year if they make no other lifestyle changes.

Cycling is good for our mental health: 82% of Cycleschemers say they’re less stressed in the office thanks to cycling.

Cycling is good for the planet. Riding a bike has a carbon footprint of about 21g of CO2 per kilometre. That’s less than a tenth of the emissions from driving a car.

And, of course, cycling is good for the wallet. It’s the cheapest way to get to work except walking – and you can travel four or five times further than you could on foot.