Downhill commute partners with companies to offer a unique benefit to their employees. Employees can purchase a $2000+ electric-assist bicycle (e-bike) using monthly payroll deductions spread over 24 months. Downhill commute encourages employers to subsidize the cost of the bicycle by contributing $20 per month (or more) towards the employee’s monthly payment of the bicycle. The US federal tax code allows pre-tax bicycle commuting benefit of $20 per month, in the same way that it allows parking, transit and flexible spending benefit schemes.
Participants receive a voucher from downhill commute, which they use to purchase a bicycle from a partnering bicycle shop that is convenient to the participant. Downhill commute retains 20% of the purchase price of the bicycle and gives the remaining 80% to the bicycle shop (retailer margin on new bikes is typically 40%). Debt financing (using the employer guaranteed revenue scheme as collateral) provides capital to pay bicycle shops.