The joys of owning an e-bike
Helena works at the port of Antwerp, to which she always used to commute by car. With a regular bike, the 22km daily distance would have proved too much. But everything changed when she won an o2o competition to try out an electric bike:
Even after my first ride on the e-bike, I found that a whole new world had opened up to me. I had no idea how nice it is to cycle to work. I wanted to lease my own e-bike as soon as I could! The sense of freedom, the panoramic views, the beautiful cycling route… It all felt like a breath of fresh air.
On the recommendation of a friend, she opted for a Riese & Müller e-bike. The German brand is known for its high quality and sleek design, perfect for hitting the trails in style. Something Helena has especially noticed is how she has completely lost the feeling of stress that comes with commuting by car: “With the bike, you literally have more space. I feel freer, more relaxed and experience a totally different commute. I am much more in the moment. When I cycle past the usual gridlock traffic, I always think to myself ‘if only they knew.'”.
Her cycle route runs from Antwerp South, through the city centre to the port, totalling 11km. A scenic route, passing the city’s historic buildings to one side and the Scheldt River to the other. Helena cycles to work every day, come rain or shine: “Even the rain doesn’t stop me with my e-bike. I simply enjoy cycling, no matter the season.”
Bicycle leasing is child’s play
Seeing as Helena definitely wanted an e-bike, leasing would prove the logical choice. Above all, it was the tax benefits of leasing a bicycle that won her over, as such beautiful and quality bikes tend to come with a hefty price tag:
Thanks to the gross salary exchange formula, a small amount is deducted from my salary every month towards my lease bike. I don’t have to worry about anything as maintenance and insurance are both included. It’s all so easy!
Bicycle leasing makes an expensive bike accessible to everyone, which, according to Helena, is helping break down barriers. What’s more, she arrives at her destination twice as fast by bike as she would by car. Having initially thought that bike leasing would be overly complicated, she actually found it to be quite the opposite: “Thanks to the handy o2o Bike Guide, I knew that an e-bike was the best choice for me. Beyond that, I also got some advice from a local bicycle shop, who spoke so passionately about this bike I was immediately sold. And I haven’t regretted my decision, not even for a moment”. After she uploaded the quote in the o2o tool, everything moved forward automatically and, two months later, she was already riding around on her dream bike.
Helena has also convinced a few of her colleagues at SEA-invest to go down the bike leasing route. There, e-bikes and speed pedelecs are particularly popular, as they easily whizz through city traffic and get you to the port of Antwerp twice as fast as you would by car. According to Helena, this has also created a kind of ‘club’ feeling among fellow cycling colleagues: “Just as smokers often congregate, so do the cyclists among us. We talk about our bikes, about the weather, exchange tips on rain gear, etc. All this serves to create a fun cycling vibe around the office, fostering a clear bond between us!”
Move smart with o2o (and with a smile)
For Helena, a #smartmove means pure enjoyment:
The freedom and sense of space along the Scheldt, cycling through my favourite city every day… For me, you just can’t beat it!
And this joy is something she very much radiates and shares – literally – with others. Helena has made a game out of always smiling at other cyclists, giving her a daily dose of pure joy: “I actually got the idea from another cyclist, who unexpectedly smiled at me. It filled me with so much joy that I now pass that smile on to others. And it’s great, because almost all other cyclists smile straight back! Secretly, I hope that, if everyone mirrors my smile, we can all work together to create a ‘happy cycling vibe.’”
Helena is also totally won over by the ease and convenience of riding a bike through the city. Fancy stopping for a coffee along the way? You can. Need to pick up some groceries? Quick trips to the supermarket are a breeze. By car, things are actually more difficult. With the bicycle, you have no problems with parking or other associated costs: “I feel so much freer, and I genuinely enjoy being on the road. I would truly never go back to a time before my e-bike. Long live the (e-)bike!”
Inspired by Helena’s cycling story?
Starting to catch the cycling bug from hearing Helena’s story? Want to know more about bicycle leasing through work? Visit our website to find out more, or simply download our persuasion package and submit it to your employer!