What are the benefits of the cycle to work scheme?11 February 2023
Whether you’re just getting started as a cyclist or you’re a seasoned expert, cycling to work can have a huge range of benefits in your daily life. The cycle to work scheme helps people to reap these rewards by spreading the cost of buying cycling gear. When you buy a bike with a cycle to work scheme, technically your employer buys it. Then you rent it off them for a time, paying off the cost in instalments, sometimes as a deduction from your wages. At the end of the agreed paying period, you take ownership of the bike.
It’s important to be aware, though, that these schemes aren’t limited to bikes alone. You can also use cycle to work vouchers to buy a wide variety of cycling gear, such as clothes or maintenance kits. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should take full advantage of the cycle to work scheme.
What are the benefits of cycling to work?
If you’re a keen cyclist, you probably know all about the advantages of cycling in general, such as the mental health benefits of cycling or the fitness improvements you can expect from regular riding. But did you know there are also some benefits linked directly to commuting to work on a bike?
Switch public transport or driving for fresh air
For those of us with a busy schedule both at work and at home, it can be difficult to find the time to get out into the fresh air and take exercise. This is particularly true if you work behind a desk and don’t have the freedom to incorporate more outside time or movement into your working day. Your commute is time that you have to spend going from A to B, but that doesn’t always mean you have to drive or use public transport. If you live within cycling distance of your workplace, switching up your commute to bike into work can be a great way to sneak some extra time outdoors into your day.
Fresh air can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and depression amongst other things, but it’s good for other things, too. As well as the health benefits of absorbing some sunshine and feeling the air on your skin, getting fresh air on your commute is a great way to make a clear boundary between your work time and your home time. Plus, it’s much easier to feel connected to your surroundings when you’re outside - you can actually feel the breeze and the sunshine rather than just see them through the windscreen. This can help you to mentally reset and remind yourself of the bigger picture when you might otherwise have no distraction from the hustle and bustle of working life.
Okay, so we all know that getting regular exercise is brilliant for the body and mind, but we should also consider the health benefits of cycling as opposed to driving or using public transport. Not only does it mean you get to exercise during the time you’d usually spend sitting or standing, but it also means you’re less likely to get ill.
We’re not just talking about the way regular exercise affects your immune system - though that contributes. The key thing about bikes is that, assuming you’re not riding a tandem, you’re the only person in the saddle. Car shares and public transport have you in close proximity to coworkers and strangers even when you’ve left the office, and while it’s nice to be around people, it does put you at greater risk of contracting the sniffles when they inevitably make the rounds in winter.
It’s better for the environment
Although electric vehicles are becoming more and more common, it’s still true that the majority of vehicles on the road are powered by petrol and diesel, all contributing to the pollution of the natural environment. Car sharing and using public transport helps to lessen that contribution, but biking to work can have an even bigger impact.
While riding a bike isn’t completely carbon neutral - after all, the bike has to be made, and food still has to be grown so you can power it - it is a lot less damaging to the environment than fossil fuel powered vehicles.
One thing that distinguishes a bike from a car, a bus or a train is that it costs nothing in the moment. By that we mean that you don’t have to buy a ticket or pay for special fuel - you can just get on and go. Of course, there are initial costs involved with getting yourself kitted out, which the cycle to work scheme helps with, but these are a one-time payment.
The cost of fueling a bike is merely the cost of fueling yourself, which means that once you’ve bought your bike gear, there’s little cost involved beside funding the occasional repair.