City Bike Hire: bike rental as an employee benefit

Loft worked with Cyclescheme to enable workers throughout the UK to hire bikes as and when they need them, tax free.

The challenge

Longstanding Loft client Cyclescheme was already the market-leading platform enabling organisations to offer employees the chance to purchase bikes through the government’s Cycle to Work salary sacrifice scheme. The company wanted to broaden the benefits it offers by adding a new service called City Bike Hire, giving qualifying employees greater choice and flexibility.

What we did

Developed and maintained by Loft, Cyclescheme’s technology connects employers that offer the scheme, their employees, the Inland Revenue and bike retailers, automating the transactions between them. Our in-depth understanding of the platform enabled us to extend the architecture so that cycle hire companies would be able to provide services through the platform, just as bike retailers do.

There were two key elements to this. First, the process for employees to use Cyclescheme was enhanced to support a brand new benefit type in addition to the existing certificate scheme. Instead of sacrificing pre-tax salary in exchange for a bike and/or cycling accessories, the employee can do so to subscribe to a bike rental service, signing a hire agreement in the process.

Second, an interface was developed for cycle hire companies to join City Bike Hire as partners and customise what they offer. The interface has been streamlined to work in the same way as it does for existing bike retailers who take part in Cyclescheme.

Crucially, employees who want to use City Bike Hire as a benefit receive the same quick and easy transparent experience as those wishing to purchase bikes.


  • In November 2020, Transport for London’s Santander Cycles became Cyclescheme’s first City Bike Hire partner, breaking new ground in the cycling industry.
  • In September 2021, Loft scaled up City Bike Hire enabling Brompton Bike Hire to become a partner, extending the scheme outside London to its 30+ locations.
  • Employees at over 220 Cyclescheme clients have benefitted from City Bike Hire, at the time of writing.
  • Qualifying employees can save as much as 42% on the cost of an annual subscription to a bike hire service.
  • The extendable architecture Loft has built means other third-party bike hire companies can join as partners, all around the UK.

Why it matters

Thanks to City Bike Hire, employees of organisations that offer Cyclescheme can now either purchase a bike or rent one as and when they need it, tax free. This option is more economical for the occasional cyclist and can be better for the environment – firstly because cycling is a zero-carbon mode of transport and secondly because bike rental reduces the consumption of raw materials and energy in bike manufacturing.

With Loft’s help, Cyclescheme has successfully given qualifying employees greater choice and flexibility in how they cycle both as commuters and recreationally. City Bike Hire gives further support to the wider objectives of the government’s Cycle to Work scheme, which are to reduce carbon emissions and improve health and wellbeing for employees.

About Cyclescheme

Cyclescheme is the leading provider of the government’s Cycle to Work initiative. A salary sacrifice scheme, it enables employees to purchase bikes and accessories tax efficiently through their employer’s payroll. E-bikes, cargo bikes and bike rental are also available. At the time of writing, Cyclescheme had nearly a million satisfied customers.

Let’s talk

Active travel is a core industry for Loft. To talk to us about your project get in touch via [email protected].

ProjectCity Bike Hire
SectorsCycling, Employee Benefits
Design & Innovation

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