Cyclescheme is the UK’s number one provider of tax-free bikes for the Government’s Cycle to Work initiative. It’s a brilliant programme where everyone wins – employees make big savings on new bikes, employers get a healthier workforce and save money too!
At Suma, 23 of us have joined this scheme and this is how it works for us. Suma buys us a shiny new bike and accessories from our local bike store and we then agree to lease them back from Suma for about £3 a week, tax free for the next three years, all deducted from our wages. It’s a slightly complicated admin procedure involving Finance, Purchase Accounts and Personnel but does work well with us being a co-operative.
Most of us who have joined have gone for mountain bikes and some went for hybrids, depending on terrain and where the bike will be used. So for my own ‘company bike’ I chose and am now the proud ‘owner’ of a black and white Cube Curve Hybrid. It’s an all aluminium frame with medium tyres, hydraulic disk brakes and 27 gears, weighing in at just 12.8kg. Better than anything I ever had in my youth. No mudguards though!
So far the net effect has seen Suma’s balance sheet growing steadily and we now show more bikes than trucks listed under fixed assets, although the delivery payload is somewhat less! We do though have a workforce getting that bit fitter each week and a bike shed that’s nearly full some days.
For me it’s been a blast having not been on a bike for 25 years. I find myself travelling 6 miles to and from work two or three days a week from a more or less vertical position above the M62 motorway, so that means it’s downhill all the way to Elland and it’s the hydraulic brakes that do the most work in the morning. It’s a different story on the way home though, using just one or two of the 27 gears the bike has available, pretty much the same story for everyone given our location at ‘Lowfields’.
So anyone who thought that bikes weren’t for them anymore then think again. In the words of Johnny Ball ‘they really have changed’ and for £3 a week, less than a bottle of wine, you can’t go wrong.
As for funny stories, the best yet is when Johnny turned up with his steed at the local garage to wash it off in the jet wash and the owner refused to let him use it because his bike was ‘too dirty’.