COMMENT: It might have taken a few knocks recently, but now could be time for the initiative to shine

Is Cycle to Work due a boom period?

Can you think of a single industry that retails a product that benefits from government incentives or subsidies?

Let’s see… there’s the electric car industry. Buyers of an electric powered automobile can expect a discount to the tune of 25 per cent.

Wow. If only the cycle industry had something like that, eh? The lucky blighters. Some kind of incentive for buyers, maybe looking to spread the cost of a bicycle over one to three years?

Of course, the cycle industry does benefit from its very own incentive, and has done for over a decade now. Consumers can get up to a 40 per cent discount through cycle to work (take THAT electric car industry!) and they can spread the cost over a year and up to three years.

We’ve all heard the regard the cycle to work initiative is held in by the industry, even those of us who’ve had little first-hand experience of it. How many have pointed to it as one of the key reasons behind cycling’s current popularity?

But maybe the time for the scheme to really shine is at hand, now while household spending is being reined in?

OK, as we all know, cycle to work has taken a bit of a knock. Two rule changes in little over one year has worried, confused and taken a bit of the fun out of the it.

Thing is, those have now been taken into account and we still most definitely have a worthwhile initiative. Has cycle to work been eroded? You could argue so, and it’s temping to moan about the changes to cycle to work, but, in the final analysis, we’ve still got cycle to work in our corner. And if we’re not getting the best of it then maybe it’s time to think again about how we approach it.

One distributor chief was chatting to me about the subject at one of the recent house shows. He spoke glowingly of one local retailer that has been banging the cycle to work drum to potential customers more or less continuously in the form of radio adverts.

It’s not a perfect initiative. Of course it isn’t. But even the original version’s definition of market value was enough to confuse the minds of our greatest intellects.

But as the market tightens up, particularly in the middle range, it’s time to use the tools we have on offer – whether it’s cycle retail finance or cycle to work – and it’s also time to shout about them to the bike buying public. They can save petrol and get their hands on a (decent) bike without straining their wallet. Who wouldn’t be happy about that?

Why not tell us what you think in the comments below.

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