As a society, we’re very comfortable with debt.
We strive to be accepted by mortgage companies, we gleefully play credit cards off against each other, and we enter into car financing arrangements without so much as a “what’s the APR, and how long is the warranty?”
And now, fellow cyclists, we’re being tempted by bike financing.
It became normalised by the bike-to-work scheme; the tax-free bike purchase that was paid for by salary sacrifice (…as if there any other method to pay for a bike?)
Once the payments start you barely notice it.
Mainly because of the real-terms pay-cut most of us have taken anyway in the UK, since the financial crash of 2008. If you’re going to be skint regardless, you might as well have a nice bike to cheer you up.
Which leads us neatly on to bike financing; essentially, lovely new bikes, for people who can’t really afford them.
In a way, it’s a form of welfare support. I can’t think of any circumstances where my welfare wouldn’t be supported by the addition of another bike to my garage.
I’m not sure who’s responsible for the increased availability of bike financing; was it part of the welfare reforms legislation passed by the Conservative government here in the UK in recent years.
So, Iain Duncan-Smith, perhaps?
Anyway. I can foresee only one small problem with all this.
Well, more accurately, one small problem which causes a chain-reaction and leads to a number of other, additional problems. I’m hoping Iain Duncan-Smith and his mob can solve those too.
Although when I say ‘solve’ I mean in the loosest, least effective sense of the word – recent history tells me their heart isn’t really in the solving of my problems.
This is what happens:
The increased temptation to buy bikes leads to more people who can’t afford bikes, or already have bikes, buying bikes. They will do this using money they can’t spare, which has been sacrificed from their salary.
This could lead to domestic financial problems, arguments, blame, and eventual divorce. Which will then, in some cases, lead to a need for child maintenance payments to be made.
In the context, remember, of an ongoing bike-financing arrangement.
So, the question is: will there also be a child maintenance financing arrangement available?
Perhaps through the local branch of Mothercare, or Mammas and Pappas?
Salary sacrifice, of course.
(Image: Frits Ahlefeldt via Flickr cc)