COUNTY business owners are being urged to help workers get fit – and save on transport costs – by ditching the car and cycling to work.
Hay-on-Wye’s Drover Cycles wants employers to highlight the benefits of signing up to the Cycle to Work scheme to staff.
The scheme allows workers to save up to 40 per cent off the cost of a new bike.
Drovers’ Anna Heywood said: "There’s a misconception among employers that taking part in the scheme can be burdensome and involve piles of paperwork, but there are a lot of online scheme providers out there who make it as easy as firing off a few emails.
"And all the research shows that staff who cycle to work are healthier, happier and more motivated."
The scheme takes advantage of a tax break available under the Government’s Green Transport Plan which lets employers loan bicycles to workers as a tax free benefit.
Employers sign up through online providers such as Cycle Scheme, and issue vouchers to staff to spend on a new bike worth up to £1,000.
Vouchers can also be spent on safety gear such as lights and helmets.
The cost of the bike is deducted from monthly pay packets but workers pay no tax on the deductions meaning they save 16 to 40 per cent, depending on earnings.
Following the 12-month hire period, employers can sell bikes to staff for a nominal fee but – in practice – few businesses bother with this step.
Last month, Herefordshire Council demonstrated its commitment to cycling in the county with the opening of the Greenway bridge – linking the city centre with Rotherwas industrial estate.
The council also runs a Park and Cycle Scheme, allowing commuters to break up long journeys by parking their car and continuing by bike.