Pedal Power Currency

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Get a new bike paid for by pedalling!
Get a new bike paid for by pedalling!

Want to use Pedal Power Currency to buy yourself a bike and also save yourself £150 per month? That’s the proposition of an organisation called Free2Cycle, aimed at an estimated 7 million people here in the UK who could cycle to work but don’t today and who would benefit from doing so.

We previewed this in an article back in June – and the program has now been launched.

free2cycle synergyThe task of Free2cycle – aided and abetted by people tempted by the £150 monthly savings and a chance to get a new bike without having to hand over cash to get it – is to persuade employers and charities to sign up online. The sponsor has no upfront payment to make for the bike but commits to contributing “pedal power currency” at the rate of 20p per mile of the cyclist’s commuting mileage achieved. This is estimated to work out at an average between £20 and £30 per month.

Their return comes in part through receiving a report of the carbon savings made, but also through people who cycle regularly being better motivated and healthier, hence taking fewer days off for sickness. There is also the motivational bonus of feeling appreciated by their employer. These benefits to the employer are believed to be worth a good £10 for every £1 they invest.

The same benefits of better health and well-being also apply to the cyclist along with improved fitness, and the knowledge that they are making a real difference to the environment. Unlike the current cycle scheme which provides a tax attractive option to buy a bike, particularly for high earners, this initiative is focussed on encouraging people to acquire a bike by riding it rather than paying for it with money.

The value of the bike is based on the cyclists’ mileage pledge. For example, a daily commute of 9 miles each way will fund a bike to the value of £1,600 by pedal power alone. If a cyclist would like to upgrade their bike, they can do so by chipping in with a single or monthly financial contribution, with a maximum upgrade of £1,000 (bikes capped at £2,750). Cyclists have the freedom to choose a bike to suit their style and budget. Free2Cycle funding budget makes e-bikes and the prospect of ‘no sweat’ cycling within reach.

Rewards for cyclists & benefits for employers

“We’ve introduced an effective model that rewards cyclists and is extremely beneficial to sponsors,” said CEO of Free2Cycle, Eric Craig. “We are very excited about the potential of enabling more people to use bikes, not simply owning them, and the difference that it can make to a healthier, happier society and an improved environment.” 

While Free2Cycle in itself is an innovative technology-enabled financial service offering, it has been founded on the traditional values of core customer service. For example, all bikes are distributed through approved dealers who benefit from earning the majority of the margin – and in some instances more than they would earn with a traditional sale. Ongoing reward vouchers that cyclists receive for keeping on track with their pledge mileage are by default made available through the supplying dealer – therefore encouraging return visits to local bike shops. Craig adds that “Free2Cycle expects to drive more business back to the high street and encourage a cycle dealer focused community.”  

Free2Cycle have signed agreements with a wide range of suppliers to be able to offer a large range of bikes for cyclists to choose from.

With the financial burden of inactivity to the UK’s economy and pressure on the NHS estimated at a whopping £27 billion, we have to welcome the step change in behaviour that Free2cycle wants to achieve. We also imagine that most cyclists would love to exploit their pedal power as currency to buy a new bike.

 

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