Cyclescheme more popular than ever in wake of Wiggins win

Tour and Olympics cause surge in applications but poll says a long way to go

by Sarah Barth   August 1, 2012  

Bike parking at station

The 'Wiggo effect' has caused a surge in employers racing to sign up to the Cyclescheme and score tax-free bikes for their workers.

According to Bike Biz, Cyclescheme has seen its highest number of signups this year in the week following the Englishman's Tour victory, 26 per cent higher than the previous highest week at the start of the cycling season in March.

Cyclescheme’s head of commercial operations Daniel Gillborn told the site: “The Tour de France has always been a major event in the cycling calendar, but Bradley’s win looks like it has been a welcome catalyst for a new group of workers to choose two wheels to get them to work.

"Winners, it seems, are good for business and we’re hoping for plenty more during the next ten days.”

British Cycling are trumpeting the same message too.

They have had their best month for membership growth in the organisation's history, adding over 2,400 new members in July and bringing its total membership to over 51,000, Chief Executive Ian Drake announced today.

Ian Drake, British Cycling Chief Executive, said:

"This surge in membership comes in the middle of a great summer for British Cycling.

"We recently passed 50,000 members and were delighted by Sport England figures which showed 160,000 more people are cycling than were six months ago.

"July has been a bumper month. We’ve celebrated success by fellow British Cycling members Bradley Wiggins, Britain's first Tour de France winner, and Lizzie Armitstead, whose medal in the London 2012 women's road race on Sunday drew in unprecedented crowds.

"There is more great cycling to come in the Olympics and Paralympics and I believe we have already established a legacy for the sport. Continued success will inspire thousands more to join British Cycling."

A YouGov poll out today, however, suggests that there's still a long way to go.

Of those who commute to work but do not currently cycle, just over half would consider switching to cycling - a fantastic statistic, but currently only 3 per cent of workers travel by bike.

Of those who do not cycle, one in five said they would like to, but would not until it was safer to do so.

A third said that it is not practical considering the distance and the time it would take.

Only a third said they had no interest whatsoever in cycling to work.

One nugget buried in the full YouGov survey, which you can find here, is the extent of public recognition of the success of Britain’s cyclists.

Asked “Which of the following sports do you believe Britain is best at?” 22 per cent of respondents said cycling, second only to cricket on 24 per cent. Motor racing was a distant third at 10 per cent, with rugby and football both on 6 per cent.

Backing for cycling was fairly evenly spread by voting intention and gender, while those believing cricket is stronger were more likely to be Conservative supporters and men.

Younger respondents under the age of 40 were much more likely to choose cricket than cycling, while the opposite applied among those aged 60 and over.

Regionally, unsurprisingly cricket was much less likely to be viewed as the sport Britain is best at by respondents in Scotland, while those in the Midlands and Wales were less likely to give their vote to cycling.

Cyclescheme works through over 1,800 participating bike shops. Employees select a bike which their employer buys on their behalf.

The balance is recovered from a reduction in the employee’s gross salary (so disregarding tax), and employers also benefit from National Insurance contribution savings.

At the end of the hire period, the employee pays a Market Value payment to make the bike theirs.

Other bike shops, including Halfords and Evans Cycles have also reported increased sales in the days since the Tour, and Visa says there is a 6.3 per cent increase in bike shop spending on their cards.