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Health & Relationships

How to save money cycling

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Feel as though your bike is costing you a fortune? To make sure you're getting the best deals possible, check out our tips for saving money on cycling.

man on bike

Credit: All kind of people – Shutterstock

A bike is a great way to get around. As well as being cost-effective in getting to and from places, they're great for the environment and an excellent way to keep fit.

But you'll want to make sure you get a bike that you can afford to maintain – especially if you're a regular rider.

We've compiled all the money-saving tips we could think of to ensure you can ride around carefree, all without breaking the bank.

If cycling isn't your thing, check out how to save money on driving.

Cheap ways to buy and use a bike

These are the best ways to save money on cycling:

  1. Get a bike tax-free with Cycle to Work

    row of bikes in shop

    Credit: Nomad_Soul – Shutterstock

    If you have a job (even a part-time job), you may be able to buy a bicycle on the government's bike voucher scheme, known as 'Cycle to Work' or 'Cyclescheme'. This means you can pay less for a brand-new bike.

    In fact, according to the scheme itself, you can save 21% – 39% on the cost of a bike and accessories. The savings will depend on the cost of the bike/accessories and the tax rate you pay.

    What's more, the payment comes out of your salary each month, meaning you won't even feel as though you're paying for it.

    All you have to do is select your package (bike and accessories) and you're set. You can take your eCertificate to your chosen retailer and redeem your bike voucher for the model of your choice.

    Check out the Cycle to Work scheme to save money on a brand-new bike.

  2. Register your bike

    Make sure you register your bike when you buy it, as this will help if you're ever unfortunate enough to have your bike stolen.

    You can buy a marking kit through the website, so if it is taken and later found, it can be tracked and traced back to you. Genius, right?

    Get your track and trace kit and register your bike.

  3. Buy a second-hand bike

    If you're struggling to find a couple of hundred pounds to spend on a bike, going for a second-hand option may be your best bet.

    We suggest looking on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and even eBay if some sellers are local. But don't stop there – a friend or family member may be trying to get rid of an old one, so it's worth asking around.

    Once you've bought your second-hand bike, we'd also suggest taking it to your local Halfords and getting a free health check (note that this isn't a free bike service).

    Our eBay bidding tips could help you bag an even better bargain.
  4. Buy your bike in a sale

    If you're not keen on buying second-hand and want to buy a bike from a shop, you can still make a saving by getting one on offer, or in the sale.

    We always love a sale, but we're particularly fond of the ones on expensive items, like bikes. We suggest checking out online offers, as well as in-store sales in shops like Halfords, Decathlon, Evans Cycles and more.

    And if it's the right time of year, check out our guides to getting the best deals on Black Friday and in the January sales.

  5. Repair your bike yourself

    As well as helping you keep fit and help the environment, owning a bike is also a chance to learn some new skills. Repairs may seem scary but remember that YouTube is your friend when it comes to these things.

    You can learn a lot about a little and can potentially save yourself hundreds of pounds in repair costs compared to visiting a shop. And who doesn't love saving money?

    If you're interested in doing some repairs yourself, some of the easier jobs include pumping up your tires, cleaning the bike (we recommend Muc-Off) and even tightening your brakes. Just make sure you follow a guide – especially when it comes to important safety features.

    Eventually, there may come a point where your bike needs some bigger repairs that you can't do, and you'll have to take it to the shop. But even saving on those smaller repairs can make a big difference!

  6. Buy bike accessories in Lidl, Aldi and Decathlon

    bikes in a row

    Credit: B. Forenius – Shutterstock

    If you're in the market for bike accessories, you can save money by shopping at Lidl, Aldi, and Decathlon.

    In the cases of Aldi and Lidl, your chances of finding some cheap accessories are more down to luck than anything else, as these items aren't stocked all the time. But, previously, we've seen them sell phone holders for your handlebars, sportswear and more.

    As for Decathlon, they always stock a good amount of cycling accessories, as well as sportswear.

    Cycling or walking whenever possible is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint (and save money).
  7. Fit mudguards to your bike

    It may seem silly, but as well as protecting you from mud flying off your tyres, mudguards also stop you from damaging your clothing, bag and other accessories on your bike. This will save you money in the long run as you won't have to replace them.

    Decathlon has some great mudguards – they're cheap and extremely easy to install on your own.

  8. Get free safety checks at Halfords

    Thanks to Halfords, you can find out which parts of your bike need fixing for free. They carry out a free safety check on your bike and then will list what parts (if any) need fixing.

    Best of all, there's no obligation to get any of these fixed. You're welcome to carry out these repairs at Halfords, but you could head to another bike shop (if they're cheaper) or even do it yourself if it's manageable and you know how to.

  9. Buy a good quality bike lock

    Investing in a good quality lock may seem like a waste of money, especially if you live in a relatively 'safe' area.

    But, at the end of the day, spending an extra £15 – £35 on a safer lock may be the difference between your bike being safe or being stolen. And if it is stolen, you're suddenly looking at paying up to 10 times the cost of a lock for a new bike, if not more! Clearly, it can pay off in the long run.

    We suggest looking at a U-Lock with a cable.

    Our guide to protecting your house from burglars is full of extra tips for keeping your possessions safe and secure.
  10. Hire bikes for short-term use

    If you're unlikely to use your wheels all that often, you may want to think about hiring a bike instead.

    Many areas now offer bike hire (such as the Santander and Uber hire schemes), where you're able to use an app to borrow one for a short period of time. Payment will come out of your bank account, so it's as easy as downloading the app, adding your card, and removing the bike from the dock.

  11. Use the 'Try Before You Bike' scheme

    If you live, work or study in certain parts of London, you can also check out the Try Before You Bike scheme. The concept is easy – you can try a new or nearly new bike for a monthly fee (starting at £30/month) and you can decide to buy it at any point.

    The monthly fee includes a helmet, lights, lock, mudguard and a free cycling lesson when the bike gets delivered. If you choose to buy the bike at any point, you'll be able to buy it at a discounted rate and you'll get up to six months' worth of trials refunded.

  12. Make money with your bike

    woman on bike as deliveroo rider

    If you already bought a bike, you may as well use it to make some extra cash. One of the easiest ways is to sign up to become a Deliveroo Rider – they're always looking for new riders, allow total flexibility and you can make up to £120 a day. Alternatively, you can see if local restaurants or bigger chains like Domino's have any delivery jobs.

    Another way to earn money with a bike is to sign up for tasking apps. These apps give you assignments to go into shops, look around, answer some questions and maybe take a few photos. If you have a bike, it's very easy to make your way around the city and complete a few tasks in one go.

Now you've saved on your bike, here are some ideas for a home gym on a budget.

Lauren Nash

WRITTEN BY Lauren Nash

Lauren is a deals and discounts expert, and the Digital Marketing Manager at Save the Student. She is passionate about saving money and has appeared on Channel 5 documentaries sharing her money-saving tips. Lauren's work is centred around securing the best exclusive deals for Save the Student and working with great student brands.
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