Martin Alder is the first to admit his commute to work “isn’t the worst in the world”, taking in the Falkirk Stadium, Kelpies and The Falkirk Wheel.
Using the canal towpath and dual use paths that criss-cross the area, the Support for Learning Assistant at Graeme High School leaves Head of Muir each day, racking up a roundtrip of 19 miles on the bike he currently leases through the Council’s Cycle to Work Scheme.
A keen mountain biker, Martin chose to apply to the salary sacrifice scheme – which is once again open for applications until October 27th - to save up to 32% of the cost of a bike.
He said: “I’ve always enjoyed cycling, particularly mountain biking but the bike I owned was starting to show its age. A colleague had applied using the scheme during the previous window which made me think I should do the same.”
Over the past 10 years more than 850 employees have benefited from the scheme that 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 fee which allows you to then keep it – or you can choose to return it in good condition.
Two things Martin wishes he’d known before applying to the scheme:
- Applications are processed once the scheme closes rather than on an individual basis.
- It can take a few weeks to receive the voucher needed to buy your bike.
He said: “I submitted my application at the beginning of the window thinking all applications would be processed on an individual basis and that I would be up and running fairly soon. I’ve subsequently learnt that all applications are collated and not processed until the window shuts, over a month later. I then had to order my bike and it took another three weeks for it to be built. For me, the process took about three months. It was very frustrating but we got there in the end!”
What Martin loves most about cycling to work, over and above the physical activity and improved fitness, is being able to avoid the morning and afternoon commute. He also finds cycling a sociable form of travel, sometimes riding to work with other members of staff.
“I would encourage anyone that either cycles on a regular basis and needs an upgrade, or thinks cycling could be a viable alternative means of transport, to have a look at the scheme and see what they could save. Just be mindful of the time it could take to get hold of your bike.”
Information on the Cycle to Work scheme can be found online.