Cycling our way to better health

Business Insight

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has released draft guidelines on encouraging activity in the general population, which are supported by the Department for Transport. The guidelines are expected to be published in June 2019.

The guidelines have been issued following multiple research studies which have shown that obesity and chronic conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression, can be managed by increasing levels of physical activity.

New employer responsibilities

One specific area targeted by the draft guidelines covers workplaces, citing that employers should have physical activity programmes in place to encourage employees to move more when travelling to and from work and during the working day. NICE believes that increasing physical activity levels will lead to a reduction in the prevalence of some illnesses and medical conditions, as well as improving staff morale.

One easy step that employers can take to meet these new requirements is to encourage employees to actively travel to and from the workplace, using a cycle-to-work scheme.

Toxic air

Whilst inactivity and sedentary lifestyles negatively impact public health, poor air quality is a killer, causing diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory infections. The UK has the worst level of asthma in Europe and there were a record number of deaths from the condition in 2017. Children are particularly vulnerable from air pollution with dirty air stunting their lung development and leading to poor health later in life.

Nationally, emissions arising from cars, vans, buses, heavy goods vehicles and rail transport account for around 20% of economy-wide emissions and just over 30% of non-traded sector emissions. Surprisingly, a large percentage of short car journeys are less than two miles. Two miles is a probably a 40 minute walk for some but considerably less on a bicycle. On an E-bike, it’s even less at under 10 minutes.

What should be clear by now is that cycling has an important part to play in the health of the nation.

Cycling to work made easy

Although GCI is a relative newcomer to the cycle-to-work industry, it is already changing the way people view C2W schemes. It’s offering is unique to the market with no £1,000 spending limit and no exit fees meaning participants can make real tax-free savings of up to 47%. Employers can also save up to 13.8% on reduced NICs. These huge savings enable participants to choose quality E-bikes, conventional pedal, or even cargo bikes, if they prefer. The choice is theirs.

Established as a Social Enterprise in 2016, GCI is the only cycle-to-work scheme provider to be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. This is why there is no £1,000 spending cap. In addition, GCI supports independent bike shops with the lowest commission rates in the industry.

Fully compliant

The scheme is HMRC compliant and has been reviewed by a top four accountancy firm who reported that “the scheme arrangements are robust and comply with the relevant legislative exemption in respect of cycles and cyclist’s safety equipment”.

Subsequently, GCI has worked with councils and health trusts and has a Framework agreement in place which has been used by other public bodies, enabling them to follow best practice and avoid the costly tender process.

E-bikes; the future of commuting

GCI is passionate about E-bikes believing they are the future of commuter travelling. E-bikes bypass many issues such as long journey times, traffic congestion, inconvenient public transport timetables, lack of affordable car parking and high car running costs. At the same time, individual health and fitness is improved as well as the quality of air that surrounds us all. The E-bike battery assistance kicks in when required and it means hills and distances are no longer sweat-inducing obstacles. Employees can arrive at work on time, wearing their business attire without the need to shower. They will also feel healthier, happier and become more effective in their workplace. In short, everyone wins with an E-bike.

Supporting active travel during the day

GCI also operates the Green Bike Pool Initiative which provides a complete turnkey E-bike pool solution. E-bike pools are designed to be used by staff whilst carrying out the duties of their work, such as travelling between different building locations or attending off-site meetings. The NICE guidelines recommend that employers should try to minimise sedentary behaviour during the working day and consider giving staff access to a pool of bicycles for short-distance business travel. The Green Bike Pool Initiative is here to help meet this requirement.

Contact info:


Tel: 020 3740 1836