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Celebrating Cyclescheme’s 15th Birthday

24th February 2020

Our employee benefit initiative, Cyclescheme, was established 15 years ago by founders Gary Cooper and Richard Grigsby. With an entrepreneurial passion, they launched an idea to deliver an end to end service for any employer looking to implement the ‘cycle to work scheme’ – an incentive introduced in the 1999 Finance Act.

Cyclescheme Limited was incorporated in February 2005, meeting the three key cycle to work objectives: congestion reduction, CO2 emission reduction, and improved public health and wellbeing.

I (Jeremy) found myself drafted in 10 months later as Cyclescheme’s first official employee, taking on the rather vague title of ‘Office Manager’; a role that involved just about anything, from auditing the accounts to affixing security stickers on paper-based collection certificates.
Soon we were laying the foundations for bigger successes than any of us had anticipated or expected. A growth of 348% in 3 years saw us recognised as the fastest growing private company in the UK by the Times and Virgin in 2009 (FastTrack100).
The key to our exponential growth lay in two areas: Selling the scheme into employers and forming our retailer partnerships.
Richard and Gary, had an admirable ability to sell the concept using their powers of persuasion, accompanied by endless treks around the UK presenting client employers with assurances of local independent cycle retailer support.
They’d then visit independent bike shops with promises to guarantee increased footfall, revenue, and lifelong custom; a balancing act that required a sense of urgency and elbow grease to deliver on those pledges. It’s our local cycle retailer partnerships that remain the lifeblood of Cyclescheme’s service 15 years on.
We have dealt with Cyclescheme from the start and they remain our biggest ride to work provider. The back-office system is the most efficient one we use and the payments to us always arrive on time. - Paul Kenchington, Director, The Bicycle Chain Ltd
The engine of our product was expertly built from scratch by business partnerships in our hometown of Bath. Loft Digital came on board as the mastermind of our back-end system and Road.cc as our customer-facing online presence. Thanks to their shared skills and innovative approach, Cyclescheme were able to increase the capture of online sign-ups with simplified and automated processes, helping us to maintain a turnover of £25M+ in 2010, with just 25 employees.
Suffice to say we were no longer using manually stickered paper certificates!
There’s so much more that goes into crafting and maintaining a market leading service, but the passion for change, combined with the strength of collaboration is the glue that has held it together from the beginning.
With our elaborate network of UK wide retailers, alongside well respected cycling advocacy groups and support from the regulatory ‘holy trinity’ of the Cycle to Work Scheme – HMRC, the FCA and the Department for Transport - the shared goal of positively promoting cycling as an economical, environmentally friendly transport solution has delivered unprecedented industry growth. 

The founding of the Cycle to Work Alliance was an outstanding moment for the industry; creating a positive voice that could lobby for cycling to work, formed by the 4 biggest scheme providers (Cyclescheme, Evans Cycles, Halfords and CycleSolutions). The group co-operation has helped to make a significant movement towards a healthier and happier environment for all.
With clear Government support, the alliance members contributed to updating legal guidance focussed on making cycling to work more accessible to employees, in line with changing bike prices and employee behaviour. In 2019 this was rewarded with the removal of the £1,000 limit, in place for over 10 years, enabling e-bikes, adapted cycles and family cargo bikes to become accessible via the scheme.
Cyclescheme and the Cycle to Work Alliance look forward to leveraging the new guidance and seeing a rise in the number of employees that turn to cycling as their favoured commuting method.– Adrian Warren, Chair of the Cycle to Work Alliance
Cyclescheme’s 15 years have been made a roaring success by the dedicated individuals, past and present, who continue to give their all amidst an ever-evolving landscape; transforming the business from a single product solution provider to a valued component of our extensive global portfolio of products and services within Blackhawk Network.
During the 11 years I have worked for the business, one of the key words that can be associated with our company is ‘growth’. Cyclescheme itself has grown massively during that period and has consistently recognised new opportunities to expand in the benefits market; allowing us to develop other industry leading products such as care-4 (childcare scheme) and Techscheme.
Most importantly though, Cyclescheme has always offered its employees the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, nurturing us to move into new roles with different challenges. It is this ethos that has marked it out as such a rewarding place to work. – Paul Swift, Techscheme Product Manager
The milestones that Cyclescheme has achieved in the last 15 years are phenomenal. I (Laurence) have now been here for 10 of those and it’s been a pleasure to watch us go from strength to strength.
Our platform has matched over 835,000 bikes and accessory packages with riders, we've had 50,000+ employers entrust their cycle to work scheme to us and we've nurtured valued business relationships with over 2,000 retailers and brands.
We intend for these significant accomplishments to be minimal in comparison to the impact that Cyclescheme will have in the next 15 years – in the UK, 2.67 million businesses operate with Pay as You Earn (PAYE) salary options. At this moment, cycling only has a modal share of all commutes made at just 2% - our ambitions far outweigh our current results. 
How will we make a bigger impact in the future? We will relentlessly focus on bringing new cyclists on board. One of the cycle to work scheme focus points exists to encourage new people to get on two wheels and we aim to do this with a range of ever-evolving enhancements.
Our most recent endeavour is our Into-Cyclescheme programme. This unique scheme extension means that we are now able to help low wage earners purchase a bike of their choice, even if they fall outside of the usual eligibility criteria. By doing this, Cyclescheme intends to support this new-found group of cyclists in becoming lifelong advocates for freewheeling to work.
We’re also about to launch our e-bike programme, with an intention to be the UK centre of excellence for commuting by e-bike. The potential for e-bikes to encourage and support new and returning cyclists into the saddle is only just beginning to be uncovered and we want to make sure the maximum number of potential cyclists have the chance to experience the benefits of e-biking first hand, thanks to Cyclescheme. 
With 15 years under our belt, an arsenal of enviable relationships and a global parent company to guide us along the way, we’re ready to see where our journey takes us next. We’re looking forward to seeing who will come along for the ride as we continue to be at the forefront of innovation in the cycling industry!

Jeremy Persad has progressed from his days as an ‘Office Manager’ and is now one of our Regulatory Compliance Managers. Jeremy’s focus is to work across all of our Blackhawk Network products, to ensure we are continually compliant with UK and European data privacy legislation.
Laurence Boon is our Cyclescheme Product Manager. Laurence’s passion for cycling extends far beyond office hours, resulting in him being named in BikeBiz’s ‘30 under 30’ back in 2012. Laurence spends his days driving forward the innovative ideas that make Cyclescheme the market leading cycle to work provider.

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