Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Campaign launched for government to provide discounts on bikes and e-bikes for over-65s

Pure Electric urges Chancellor to provide £50 million a year for state pension-linked Cycle in Retirement initiative

E-bike and e-scooter retailer Pure Electric has launched a campaign calling on Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunaq to fund a £50 million-a-year scheme linked to the state pension that would allow over-65s to buy bikes or e-bikes at a 20 per cent discount.

The company, which operates from 17 stores across Great Britain – 11 of which it took over from Halfords’ former Bike Republic chain in April last year – likens the initiative, which it calls Cycle in Retirement, to the existing Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme which allows employees to effectively buy bikes at a discount through tax breaks.

The proposed scheme would be based on vouchers linked to the state pension, with a retired person choosing a bike or e-bike from a participating retailer, then applying for a voucher from the Department of Work and Pensions, which would recoup 80 per cent of the costs through pension deductions over the following two years.

Pure Electric says that enabling 1 million pensioners to buy a bike in that way over the next four years would entail a total cost of £200 million, based on an average spend of £1,000.

On a bike costing £1,000, we calculate that a pension would be reduced by less than £8 a week over the two-year period to meet the full cost of the bike.

Pure Electric contrasts the annual cost of £50 million with the £50 billion it says has been lost through the freezing of fuel duty over the past decade, and says that benefits would include people being more active and protecting the environment while also reducing the burden on the NHS.

> E-bikes give a brain boost to older cyclists, according to new study

The retailer says that around 6 million over-65s are believed to be physically inactive, which is estimated to cost the NHS £100 million-plus a year.

The company’s chief executive, Peter Kimberley, said: “Cycle to Work has been so successful over the past two decades, and now’s the perfect time, particularly given the new Lockdown, to build on that by targeting the 12 million over 65s who aren’t in work and can’t qualify for it.

“The pandemic has highlighted the benefits of regular exercise and cleaner air. We understand the Treasury is under considerable pressure, but this money might make the difference between the elderly deciding to stay in or taking up a new activity.

“It doesn’t seem fair that working age people have been able to access Government support to enjoy the benefits of cycling but retired people can’t. We’d love to see other bike retailers, sporting bodies, charities and MPs join with us and back this idea,” he added.

Citing government statistics from the National Travel Survey, Pure Electric says that less than one on four people aged 60 or over have a bicycle, compared to nearly half of those aged 40-49.

It added that it had carried out a poll which found that only 15 per cent of over-65s agree that the Government is doing enough to encourage cycling among pensioners, and that 78 per cent would back the Cycle in Retirement scheme.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


OnYerBike | 3 years ago
1 like

Much like the existing cycle-to-work scheme, while I'm all in favour of making cycling even more affordable this proposals seems regressive, unnecessarily complicated and limited in scope. There are many othe options to cut the cost of bike ownership e.g. cut the VAT, direct subsidies, government loan schemes. Those would benefit everyone (including students, unemployed etc.), would be proportionally more helpful to those on low or no incomes (cf. tax cuts which benefit high earners the most), and be much more simple to administer.

I do agree with dodpeters that the cost of buying a bike probably isn't the biggest barrier to getting more people cycling. But I also think that if more people buy bikes, then more people will ride them occassionally, and be more likely to become advocates for better cycling infrastructure. If you've just spent £00's on a new bike, you want to be able to go out and use it!

BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP replied to OnYerBike | 3 years ago

My experience as an eBike owner (I have three) and from living between London / Paris and traveling / working frequently in the EU

When people ask me how much an eBike costs I always say expect to pay minimum 2K for a good bike. They are mostly aghast. So i think price is a huge barrier. Eliminating VAT would be a good way to incentivize. 

In many cities in the EU I see lots of retired people on eBikes, without helmets, dressed 'normally', carrying shopping etc. I don't see that in London - and London has pretty good infrastructure in the central areas. In the cities where I do see older people riding eBikes is has to be because they do not feel threatened. In the UK there is still too much threat. Just look at the media, for example. 

dodpeters | 3 years ago

As long as we don’t address the fundamental reasons why people don’t ride bikes initiatives like this won’t get many more people cycling, although it might sell a few more bikes.

Latest Comments