Shopping for a bike and/or accessories with Cyclescheme is straightforward. You choose what you want, where you want to buy it, and how much you want to spend. The big difference from shopping with a Cyclescheme certificate is that you’ll save money – typically at least 25% – and you’ll pay in instalments, thanks to the way salary sacrifice works. In terms of what to get, these are your options.
Just a bike. A good choice if you’re an existing cyclist wanting a new bike for commuting and you already have the necessary accessories, such as lights, luggage, and a lock. You can get a higher value bike through Cyclescheme this way, as none of your budget will be spoken for by accessories.
Just accessories. If you’ve already got a bike that’s suitable for cycling to work on – perhaps you got a bike with Cyclescheme last year? – you can spend your entire certificate on accessories. It’s a good option for existing cyclists who lack commuting kit or who want new gear.
A bike and accessories. Split your budget between both and you can get everything you need for cycle commuting in one Cyclescheme shopping session. It’s arguably the best option for beginners and a good choice for cycling enthusiasts who are new to cycle commuting.
Whichever package you choose, there will be a limit on how much you can spend. It’s normally £1,000. If you’re getting only accessories, you must spend at least £100. There’s no minimum when you get a bike, either with accessories or by itself.
Cyclescheme proudly work with over 2,000 retailers across the UK - our extensive network and trade relationships mean that we can help employees source the bike of their dreams at a snippet of it’s usual RRP. Find out more here.
You can get any brand and model of bike, subject to the price limit set by your employer (see above). The bike has to come from a retailer that accepts Cyclescheme certificates. Such retailers include a high street shops, online shops, click-and-collect services, and a brand direct sellers.
You don’t have to pick a bike that’s specifically designed for commuting, such as an urban hybrid or a folding bike. You could, for example, choose a mountain bike, a road bike, a touring bike, a cyclocross bike, a gravel bike, a singlespeed, a tandem, a tricycle, a recumbent, a handcycle… An e-bike is okay so long as it meets EAPC (‘electrically assisted pedal cycle’) regulations. In brief, that means a maximum power output of 250 Watts and a maximum motor-assisted speed of 25km/h.
Whichever bike you want, the stipulation is that you use it for cycling to work, irrespective of what else you might use it for. Cycle to Work guidance from the Department for Transport says: ‘The tax exemption only applies when an employee mainly uses the cycle and cyclists' safety equipment for qualifying journeys… Mainly means that more than 50% of use of the cycle and safety equipment must involve a qualifying journey.’
A qualifying journey is part or all of a journey to work, or part or all of a journey while at work. You don’t have to keep a mileage log but if you don’t use the bike mainly for qualifying journeys, it is considered a ‘benefit in kind’. Your employer would be obliged to report this benefit on a P11D form and account for national insurance contributions, and you would be liable for tax due on the bike.
Bear this in mind when choosing. Some bikes make implausible commuters – for example, a fixed-wheel track bike that isn’t road legal because it lacks a front brake.
You’re not restricted to getting just one bike through Cyclescheme. You can get a bike one year with one Cyclescheme certificate, then another bike the next year with another certificate. You can even get two bikes at the same time on the same certificate. You might want a bike for each end of a train journey to work, for example, or a summer bike and a winter bike, or a folding bike and a hybrid… Both bikes must still be used for cycling to work and, if you get them on the same certificate, their combined value can’t exceed the limit set by your employer. So two £500 bikes would normally be fine. If you get two bikes with one Cyclescheme certificate, they must be from the same retailer.
Accessories that you could get through the Cycle to Work Scheme (which Cyclescheme is the biggest provider of) were initially described as ‘cycle safety equipment’. Examples given included helmets, hi viz jackets, locks, and pumps. But the DfT’s guidance says ‘a common sense approach should be taken to the equipment provided’.
Common sense has prevailed. These days you can include most things that will keep your commuter bike’s wheels turning. As well as safety accessories, you can include accessories that make cycle commuting practical, such as luggage and mudguards. You can also include bike components. Here’s a non-exhaustive list to illustrate the scope:
- Bicycle child seats
- Bike lights
- Bike tools
- Cycle clothing
- Cycle shoes
- Drivetrain parts
- Pannier racks
- Puncture repair kits
- Tyre sealant
Some items aren’t allowed – for example, cameras and GPS computers.
When you’re getting an accessories package or a bike-plus-accessories package, all items must come from the same retailer. If you had two Cyclescheme certificates – for example, in succeeding years – you could use two different retailers.
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