When Julian Collier got his first bike through our Cycle to Work scheme five years ago little did he realise it would spark a hobby that would help improve his mental health and wellbeing as well as his bank balance.
Earlier this year the ICT Support Engineer applied for his second bike through the scheme, which has helped over 850 employees save up to 32% of the cost of buying a bicycle since it launched 10 years ago.
Operating as a salary sacrifice scheme, Cycle to Work allows you to lease a bike – including e-bikes - from your employer over the period of a year, paying 12 equal payments to cover the cost.
After the year, the Council may offer you the opportunity to transfer ownership of the bike for a transfer fee which allows you to then keep it or return it in good condition
The scheme, which is open twice a year, is once again taking applications from September 23rd until October 27th.
Applications will be processed together once the scheme closes, but it can take a few weeks before the voucher that you need to buy the bike with is issued.
For Julian, the process moved quickly and he has been using his new bike to commute to and from work - and for pleasure - since April.
“Using the scheme was a no brainer, as it makes the bike cheaper and spreads the costs. I still use the first bike I got through the scheme but I wanted a bike more suited to short journeys so opted for a hybrid from Halfords this time round.”
Recent research by the University of Glasgow has shown that commuters who cycle to work on a regular basis enjoy significant health benefits, including a notable reduction in the risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular illness and cancer, but it’s not just the physical benefits that Julian reaps.
“Both my physical and mental health improves when cycling to and from work and it helps keep me fit so I can enjoy eating cake without worrying about calories or spare tyres! It also gives me a sense of freedom. It's so much more enjoyable gliding through parks, past canals and woods on a bike than getting stuck in traffic.
“Cycling can seem daunting, and having to go on busy roads even more so, but with a little thought and planning you can avoid main routes by utilising the dual use paths that criss-cross the area and help keep you away from heavy traffic.
“If we can get more employees commuting to work on a bike we then might get a dedicated changing room with a good shower in the Municipal Buildings or maybe other benefits, as every colleague using active travel is usually one less car off our busy roads which can only benefit all our communities.”
Information on the Cycle to Work scheme can be found online.
Pictured: (main photo) Julian outside work at the Municipal Buildings and (above) cycling along the Forth & Clyde Canal towpath behind Municipal Buildings, one of his favourite routes.