Dr Pip Nicholas has recently purchased a battery powered bike under the Bike-to-Work scheme.
12 June 2009
Friday 12 June 2009
Aberystwyth University launches ‘Cycle-to-Work' initiative
To mark Bike Week 2009 (13-21 June 2009) Aberystwyth University is launching a new Cycle-to-Work initiative that allows members of staff to make big savings on new bicycles.
The initiative, which is being introduced as part of the government supported Cyclesheme programme, is designed to encourage more members of staff to cycle to work and promote general fitness.
An integral part of the University's Travel Plan, Cycle-to-Work complements the highly successful AHA travel card which was introduced by the University to reduce congestion in and around Aberystwyth by encouraging staff and students to use local bus services rather than cars.
The scheme allows members of staff to lease a bicycle through the University over a period of 12 months (maximum value of bicycle and safety equipment is £1,500) and have the option to buy the bicycle at the end of the lease.
The main incentive however is that individuals can save up to £450 (rates will vary according to personal taxation levels) on the original purchase price as payments are made before income tax and national insurance are deducted.
Dr John Harries, Pro Vice-chancellor said, “The introduction of Cycle-to-Work is an important development for the University. As an institution we have been working closely with Ceredigion County Council to develop our Travel Plan which is aimed at delivering environmental and health benefits, and Cycle-to-Work forms part of a growing number of initiatives that are being developed to support staff and students.”
Eight staff who had expressed an interest in the scheme have been involved in a pilot, working with the University’s Human Resources Department to streamline the administration of the scheme. Now that this work is complete the scheme is being opened up to all University staff.
Dr Pip Nicholas is a Research Associate and Associate Lecturer at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) and one of the pilot group. Pip recently acquired an Urban Mover UM36 battery powered bike and cycle lights and uses it every day for the commute from her home to the Llanbadarn campus.
“I bought the bike because I wanted to get fit and to reduce car use. The journey from home to work, a 10 mile round trip, takes about 20 minutes each way and the battery provides a much needed boost on the hills.”
“I would thoroughly recommend a battery powered bike for people who are put off by the hills, though you still get plenty of exercise! The bike has a range of about 18 miles before it needs to be charged, which takes about 4 hours and costs between 6 and 8 pence each time. I expect to save around £40 per month on petrol,” she added.
Darren Hathaway works at the University’s Sports Centre. Darren has bought a mountain bike and expects to save nearly £450 as part of the scheme.
“Cycling is something I am passionate about. Although my daily commute is only 2 miles, not using the car means that I don’t take one of the few parking spaces we have near the University Sports Centre and it is great for keeping fit”
“It is certainly a popular option amongst work colleagues. Three of us have already bought bikes as part of the scheme and another two are considering doing so. From a personal perspective I wouldn’t have bought my bike without it,” he added.
Secure bike storage
Staff not keen on leaving their gleaming new bikes out at the mercy of the elements or away from prying eyes can use one of the newly installed cycle pods that are located outside the University Sports Centre. Each pod has room enough for a bike, panniers, helmets and can be used free of charge. Once the bike is packed away, members of staff can enjoy a free shower at the Sports Centre before going on to work.
The University has also recently installed a new covered bicycle rack outside the Cledwyn Building and twelve free standing bicycles racks at various locations on the Penglais campus.
Free bike hire
The University also offers free bike hire for staff on the Penglais campus. Two hybrid bikes purchased with funding from Community Chest are available for short term use with helmets, high visibility bibs and locks.
Full details on Bike Week 2009 are available at http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/.