E-bikes are happening, they’re a ‘wheel’ thing (sorry).If you’re an e-bike owner, your days of struggling up those steep Isle of Man hills and turning up to work looking like you’ve gone 10 rounds with Muhammad Ali, are over.But mention that you’ve got an e-bike and you’ll probably be met with the following quip:
“Aren’t e-bikes just for lazy cheaters?”
Is this criticism justified? Well, Gef is here to put an end to this debate.
What is an e-bike?
Electronic bikes, known as e-bikes, are basically motor/battery assisted bikes. They have all the normal attributes you’ve come to expect; the two wheels, a seat, handlebars, a frame and a bell for angry cyclists, the only difference is they have integrated batteries.E-bikes are what’s called “pedal-assist”, i.e. the small electric motor boosts the power created by your own pedalling. Far from a twist and go scoota!
“E-bikes don’t just power you up a hill willy nilly, you still have to pedal, and hard!”
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Why would I buy one?
The built-in electric motor is only activated when you pedal and hit the relevant buttons on the handlebars. You only use the motor when you need to, meaning you can cycle until you’re on the brink of collapsing (we suggest stopping before then) or until you hit a steep ass hill.By only using the electric power when needed, you can gradually build your strength and stamina on long hill climbs.Alternatively, if you aren’t a regular 100 mile-a-weekend cyclist and you’re just looking to partake in something a bit more casual, then an e-bike could be for you. How nice would an evening assisted pedal along the Prom be?Perhaps you’re considering cycling to and from work on a daily basis but don’t fancy the mammoth task ahead. Well, the electric hybrid bike is the perfect solution for getting to work on-time, skipping the congested morning traffic and not turning up like a sweaty mess!
Are they eco-friendly?
We’re all trying to reduce our consumption these days. So of course, e-bikes are far more environmentally friendly than petrol/diesel cars and motorcycles – but they’re also substantially cheaper than purchasing an electric car! They have zero direct pollution, so you can forget about those C02 emissions and smash your carbon footprint to bits!On an even better note, you can say goodbye to the extortionate daily car parking charges!
So why all the hype?
The Isle of Man Government published the 2018 budget last week. Included in this announcement was an update to the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme.From April 2018, the scheme now includes electric bikes up to the value of £1,600*.For the electric bikes, the cycle-to-work scheme is even more generous. If the net cost to your employer is greater than £1,600*, the excess will be added to your income for the purposes of calculating itip payments.*the £1,600 allowance is reduced if you have received other benefit in kinds from your employer such as gym membership.So how does the scheme work?
I’m an employee
Your employer buys a bike and/or bicycle safety equipment of your choice (for the purposes of cycling to work). You purchase it from your employer by making monthly payments from your salary, which is agreed between you and your employer, that does not exceed three tax years. When the agreed purchase period comes to an end you own the bike!Non-electric bikesIf the net cost to your employer (bike plus equipment less any contribution to initial cost made by you) is less than £1,000, there is no benefit in kind charge to be potentially added to your itip salary payments.If the net cost to your employer is greater than £1,000, the excess is a “benefit in kind” and will be added to your income for the purposes of calculating itip payments.Electric bikesIf the net cost to your employer (bike plus equipment less any contribution to initial cost made by you) is less than £1,600 (as discussed earlier), there is no benefit in kind. If the net cost to your employer is greater that £1,600 (as discussed earlier), the excess will be added to your income for the purposes of calculating itip payments.There are lots of different e-bikes to choose from.
I’m an employer
For employers, the scheme is free and easy to join! All you need to do is get in-touch with a local bike provider who can assist you, such as Cycle360. Cycle 360 will break-down the process for you, simplifying the whole cycle-to-work scheme.Offering a cycle-to-work scheme for your company shows your employees that you care about their health, well-being and the environment.A healthier and happier workforce leads to greater productivity and generally a better working environment for all! You could also save money on contract parking leaving more in the kitty for the Friday after-work beers. Cheers!A link to the Isle of Man Government’s practice note with clear worked examples of the cycle-to-work scheme in operation is here.
You can find out further information on the IoM Government’s cycle-to-work scheme on the Cycle 360 website by clicking here.