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Find out about cycling for leisure and work and get lots of safety tips and advice.

Cycling for allCycling to workCycling to schoolUseful links

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Cycling for all

Cycling is a fun, healthy activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, fitness and body type. There are many reasons to take up cycling. These include saving money, getting fitter and healthier, losing weight and saving time. Cycling also reduces congestion and pollution.

You can find advice and information for cyclists on the Somerset Road Safety website including:

  • Teaching the basics – how to keep a child safe whilst teaching them how to ride a bike.
  • Bikeability – how to book a training course to develop basic riding skills.
  • You and your bike – information on essential equipment, setting your bike up, helmet fitting, bike security and cycling on the road.
  • Pre-ride bike checks – help to detect any potential problems with your bike.

If you are interested in joining a cycling group We are cycling UK can help you find your local group.

You can also find a list of local bike shops along with lots of other useful information on the Somerset Cycling website.

Cycling to work

Cycling is a great way to commute to and from work. It is faster and more reliable than driving at peak times in town centres, allows you to get some exercise during your normal day and lets you arrive at work more awake, alert and able to concentrate.

You can travel around 6 miles in half an hour on a bicycle at a moderate speed, meaning that 65% of Somerset’s workers live within 30 minutes cycle commuting distance of their workplace.

There are lots of local and national initiatives to support people cycling to work, ranging from discounted bicycle purchasing schemes to free servicing to national events and Bike 2 Workdays.

Cycle to Work Scheme

The Cycle to Work Scheme enables employees to buy bicycles and equipment for commuting.

The scheme works as a salary-sacrifice scheme. The business buys the bicycle on behalf of the employee, who then repays the cost of the bike via a monthly deduction from their pay packet (usually over 18 months). As the payment comes off before tax and National Insurance contributions are deducted, the employee makes a saving equivalent to the combined value of their tax and NI contributions for that sum. At the end of the loan period, the employee has the option to purchase the bike for the “fair market value” via a final payment.

If the employee wants to keep the cycle and accessories at the end of the 18 months, they could buy it. However, there is no obligation to purchase at the end of the agreement. Employees can simply hand the cycle back to their employer or continue to abide by the rules of the scheme and use the cycle for commuting purposes; in this case, the cycle would remain the property of the employer.

Who is eligible?

Employers of all types of businesses can sign up for the scheme to allow their employees to benefit

Employees must be intending to use their bicycle or equipment primarily for commuting to and from work or between workplaces.

Employees who do not receive PAYE salary or who are paid a low wage (when deducting the monthly salary sacrifice would cause their pay to fall below the national minimum wage) may not be able to set up a salary sacrifice arrangement. Cases would need to be looked at individually.

What exactly can you buy?

Any bicycle that is to be used for commuting purposes. This can include electric bicycles, tricycles or folding bicycles; anything that is not classed as a motor vehicle.

Technically there is no limit on the value of the bicycle and equipment that can be purchased under the scheme, although in practice most employers impose an upper limit of £1000 (due to consumer credit license rules) and may impose a lower limit in order to make the administration worthwhile.

You can also buy other essential cycling equipment under the scheme, including helmets, locks, panniers, bicycle racks, tools and clothing.

How do we set up a Cycle to Work Scheme?

Employers who would like to take part in the Cycle to Work Scheme can either:

  • Organise a scheme themselves. This is great as it means the scheme can be tailored to the needs of the company or workforce and you do not need to pay an external company, but it does require knowledge of the relevant tax and legal issues.
  • Sign up with a third-party operator to provide and administer the scheme. There are a number of Cycle to Work Scheme providers now operating in the UK.

You can find out more about the scheme on the GOV.UK website.

Cycling to school

Cycling to school is an enjoyable, convenient and affordable way for children to fit some physical exercise into their day. By supporting cycling, you are taking an active role in promoting healthy lifestyles.

Getting the right bike

Children are always growing, but getting the right size bike is important so they feel most comfortable and safe. You can find information about choosing a child’s bike on the Somerset Road Safety website. You can get further advice from staff in local bike shops, whose experience can be used to get the proportions right, as well as getting the bike set up correctly for the rider.

Cycle training

You can find useful information on cycle training and teaching the basics on the Somerset Road Safety website. Contact your school if you would like your child to have Bikeability Cycle Training.

Additional Equipment

Wearing a helmet is not compulsory, but if they are correctly sized and fitted they do provide excellent protection if you’re unlucky enough to have an accident. Make sure it’s specifically a cycle helmet and conforms to the EU safety standards EN1078 (for adults) or EN1080 (for children). Again, bike shop staff can provide advice on sizing and adjustment.

Lights on the front and back of the bike are compulsory when cycling in the dark. We recommend adding a light to your clothing to increase visibility. The choice of clothing colour can also help you be seen, with high-visibility vests, bags and cycle clips on your ankles all available.

Other bits of equipment you might want to consider getting is a bell to warn other users of routes, mudguards to keep you and the bike clean and a basic toolkit.

Bike Security

If good money has been spent on the bike itself, it’s also very much worth investing in equipment to keep it secure, with 10% of the price of the bike a common guide to buying a lock. The most secure system is to have a solid ‘D’-lock attaching the bike frame with a cable or chain lock attached to this and the wheels.

Last reviewed: March 31, 2023 by Jenny

Next review due: October 1, 2023

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