Friday, 8 April 2011

David Vs Goliath

My employer has just introduced a cycle to work (CTW) scheme which I'm really interested in taking up. The basic idea behind scheme is that your company/organisation buys you the bike up front then deducts the cost from your wages over the next 12 months; crucially however they do this before tax meaning you don't pay any on the cost of the bike.

The steed in question a Gary Fisher Cobia. 
Yes it's a 29er i'm off to the dark side

But I have a problem; my employer has set the scheme up in conjunction with a large national bike retailer. This makes sense as we have offices all over the country, the retailer has bike shops all over the country therefor the system is easy to administer. So whats stopping me? I don't have anything against this retailer but I'm disappointed that to take advantage of the scheme I have to use them and this is why.

I have a good relationship with my local bike shop, a small, independent, but high quality store. I've purchased both my previous bikes from them; had them serviced and repaired there when I inevitably brake something on the bike through over exuberance. I have found the staff helpful, knowledgeable, and obviously full of passion for riding. In short I feel an affinity for the shop and want to support them by spending my money there.

I also like supporting local retailers especially when I buy my walking and climbing kit. There are now quite a number of national chains supplying outdoor kit, most of them are good but my favorite stores are all local. They are usually a bit (but not much) more expensive but on the whole I put up with that to get the better bespoke service not available with bigger suppliers. If we don't support good small shops they will go.

I want to be here!

So what am I to do? The bike in question is a Gary Fisher Cobia which costs the best part of £900, a big financial decision for the year. As part of the CTW scheme that money comes out of my wages before tax meaning I save £180.  Unfortunately however much I want to support local retailers that is a saving I just can't turn down.

I have a plan. I'm off tomorrow to collect my bike after it's latest repair job (snapped gear leavers) and I'm going to talk to them about my situation and try and persuade them to give me some discount approaching what I would save by using the cycle to work scheme. Hopefully we can do a deal.

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