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 mean 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 😉