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The Open University has a partnership with Cyclescheme for the Tax-free Bike Scheme initiative aimed at getting more people on their bikes to work.

By taking advantage of some unique tax incentives available through The Open University and Cyclescheme you can save 25% – 39% off the cost of a new bike and cycle accessories. Actual savings will depend on your personal circumstances and rate of tax.

Bikes and/or accessories bought through Cyclescheme should be used for work purposes at least 50% of the time. This includes commute to libraries, offices, labs for meetings, lectures, study etc. on an adhoc basis.

Please visit Cyclescheme's contact centre for FAQs and contact details.

Important to know

Please keep in mind that it may take up to 4 weeks from the time you apply to when you receive your voucher.

This is a hire agreement between the employer and employee who has purchased equipment from a third party (such as a retailer) – you do not own the equipment during the hire period. The employee pays for the hire via the salary sacrifice arrangement with the employer. Please ensure you have calculated affordability based on your monthly net pay. We cannot sacrifice salary to a level below National Minimum Wage.

The Open University’s policy is that any voucher value will be capped at £1,500 for bicycles and £2,500 for e-bikes. HMRC have removed the top up facility where previously applicants could apply for a voucher for £1,000 and then pay the bike shop the extra money if the item was higher than £1,000. An Acknowledgement of Debt form will be sent to you by email and will need signing prior to your request being approved.

Please visit our Cyclescheme Guidance document which provides employees with important information on how the scheme works.

Please note we will continue to review the voucher limit periodically. Last reviewed in January 2022 by a Steering Group including a member of VC. 

How it works

  1. Calculate how much you could save using the hire scheme.
  2. Find a participating shop using the Cyclescheme partner finder
  3. Choose your bike and accessories and get a quote from the shop
  4. Enter your details online on the Cyclescheme website
  5. Cyclescheme contacts The Open University to authorise the quote
  6. The Open University pays for the bike and Cyclescheme issues a secure voucher
  7.  Sign and collect click here for more information 
  8. Take your secure voucher to the shop and collect your bike

The scheme is available to all staff on the payroll (subject to the scheme eligibility criteria) in all locations.

Unfortunately it is not available to Students or staff on temporary contracts shorter than 12 months i.e. if your contract expires in less than 12 months from the point of applying for the voucher. 

Associate Lecturers are eligible to take advantage of Cyclescheme (from 1 October 2021)FAQ icon 

Please refer to the FAQ's on the Cyclescheme website for general enquiries regarding the scheme. Please visit the Open University specific FAQ's

Please visit the Information Hub on Cyclescheme for everything you need to know. For additional information about Cyclescheme during the pandemic, visit Cyclescheme’s Useful Information, read about cycling regulations and COVID-19.