Financial Freedom Sloth

achieving financial freedom one lazy step at a time

Bicycle, I want to ride my bicycle

Mr. money mustache pushed the use of a bicycle very hard and with good reason. Cars are expensive and bicycles offer the cheapest substitute while still offering a decent speed.

We Belgians, always had an extra incentive in the form of a bicycle compensation. Use your bicycle to go to work and your work can choose to pay you 0.23 cent per kilometer.

With a normal bike the practical distance to do this for most people is around 10 km. Further than that would take too much time and would in most cases also involve arriving at work pretty tired and sweaty (companies also need to offer shower facilities but most people prefer to shower at home and not at work it seems).

The advent of the electrical bicycle changed this somewhat. Distances up to 25 km become now feasible. I myself biked regularly to my previous interim job which was at 20 km distance of my home. This took about 50 minutes, 15 longer as with a car but I got some healthy exercise and around 160 euro a month extra for my troubles.

Electrical bikes that provide assistance up to 45 km are road legal in Belgium but because the law qualifies them as a motorcycle they are not eligible for the tax free bicycle compensation. Our government has now promised to change this and make the necessary legal changes so these fast electrical bicycles will also qualify!

I cannot stress enough the importance of this for us mustachians!

It means that a distance of 30 km will be now completely feasible to cover by bicycle by everybody! This distance will add almost 300 euro to your net pay. The average net wage in Belgium is around 2.000 euro so this one change will mean a 15% increase.

My current work is 50 km from home and it takes me 1 hour and 30 min to get to work with public transport. With a 45 km/h electric bicycle I should be able to cover this distance in about 1h 15 min. so I will save time, get 2 hours of exercise a day and earn around 500 euro extra per month! That would meanΒ  a 25% pay increase and earning back the investment in a decent e-bike in 3 to 5 months.

The law still needs to be changed and then your company will need to adapt its policy so this is something that will probably only go into effect at the end of the year. The government did say they wuld make it retroactive as of 1st of January of 2017. But I would not bank on that and wait till the law is indeed in effect. For me personally it doesn’t matter as I am at the moment working as an interim and i want my employer to realize he is going to need to pay me an extra 500 euro a month after I got a indeterminate contract πŸ˜‰

9 Comments

  1. I love the Queen reference at the beginning of the article πŸ™‚ I definitely wish that there were more bike lanes and I trusted the vehicles around me to not hit me when getting to work. If so, I would definitely bike to work πŸ™‚

  2. Good that you wait to see the law voted… Our government is not the most thurstworthy fiscal partner.

    Just talkes to a train commute partner today that biked a few time to work via the F3 bike highway… HE considers doing Leuven Brussels in 1 hour a challenge… Why: heavy traffic, crossing roads, red lights and the city centre that slows you down…

    • finan112_wp

      May 20, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Hmm, not much of a bike highway then! I’ll think that in the summer I will do a trial run with the Vespa and see how that goes (won’t exactly be following the law then by using a Vespa 125cc on a bike highway but it’s that or using the girlfriends slower e-bike, hmm could do that and drive the car to Herent where I can then take the bike out of the car thus reducing the bike distance to 30 km as well).

  3. I’m all for it! Would be nice if the Netherlands would start to pay for cycle use, they don’t now (great way to kill traffic jams). There are some companies that stimulate bicycle use financially, but usually in the form of a bike purchase (and not the commute itself).That being said, I’m actually getting a €0.19/km allowance for the car, but still get this for he bike too!

    Gearing up myself for another short week of biking (we are off Thursday and Friday). Weather is great, so should hit the 100miles again (162km) if I make it will wednesday.

  4. I wait that law too! 5.5km for me πŸ˜€ – just avoid me, I already kicked to bikers πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    • finan112_wp

      June 1, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Hey Claudia, you do not need to wait for the new law. That is only so fast electrical bicycles will also get the 0,22 euro per km, but for a distance of 5.5km you do not need one of those. A 25 km/h electrical bicycle or even a normal bicycle is good enough then! It should net you around 50 euro extra a month and also be good for your health! For such a short distance a normal bike costing around 250 euro should be good enough: you will make back your investment in 5 months!

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