Many companies have taken advantage of the government’s green policies and some have thrived on them. One of those is Cyclescheme, which has cashed in on the Cycle to Work scheme, an initiative that was introduced in 1999 to promote healthier journeys to work and to reduce environmental pollution. It allows employers to provide their staff with bicycles and safety equipment as a tax-free benefit. Cyclescheme provides administration for businesses that want to take part in the scheme. It arranges the purchase of bicycles. Employers become the owners of the bikes, and then hire them to their employees. Cyclescheme estimates that the average saving on bike purchases is between 30% and 50%. The company says it runs Cycle to Work schemes for 8,500 employers throughout Britain, including blue-chip firms and government agencies. Its clients include Coca-Cola, the BBC, and a third of the country’s police forces and councils. It has dealt with the purchase of more than 100,000 bikes so far. Rolls-Royce, a new customer, purchased 1,700 bicycles for its staff in one month, at an average cost of £700. Cyclescheme has developed an internet platform that generates invoices, contracts and hire agreements online, making it simple to administer the scheme, and hassle-free for employers, employees and the 1,500 partner cycle shops it works with. Founders Richard Grigsby and Gary Cooper worked in the bicycle trade for more than 20 years before founding Cyclescheme in 2005. Both are avid cyclists. Cooper had a youth racing career and later competed with road bikes in France. Grigsby won a British championship racing recumbent cycles. He also found success designing road bikes and tested cycles as a freelance journalist. Together the two founded and ran a shop in Bath specialising in folding bikes, and in 1999 launched Foldingbikes.co.uk, now one of Europe’s leading specialists in this area. When a nationwide Cycle to Work provider would not let their shop participate in the scheme, their solution was to create their own rival scheme. It started with about 10 local shops that agreed to participate, but today the company says it partners nearly every independent bicycle shop in Britain. This growth has come thanks to help from bike manufacturers such as Specialized, Trek and Giant, which encourage their dealers to join the scheme. Grigsby and Cooper gave up their cycle shop nearly two years ago and are confident that Cyclescheme will keep growing. This year it won an open government tender with the Department for Communities and Local Government, making its scheme accessible to more than 3.5m government employees. Sales – which include the total invoiced amount of cycle packages purchased – grew an impressive 348% a year from an annualised £253,000 in 2006 to £22.7m in 2009.
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