(Pocket-lint) - One of the incentives in England to get people back on their bikes is the Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme. It's designed to give people £50 of government money towards repairing an existing bike.
It has two advantages - firstly, it can ensure that your bike is in a fit state for riding if it's had years of neglect at the end of your garden and secondly, it puts money back into bike shops carrying out the work. It's designed to get more people cycling again, reduce short car journeys and help people get fitter.
Here's how the scheme works.
How to apply for the Fix Your Bike Voucher
Vouchers were made available at 23:45 of 28 July 2020, but are being released in batches.
- Head to the Energy Saving Trust Website
- Find the location of a local bike shop that's registered for the scheme
- Register for a voucher, you can claim up to two per household
- Book your service with your bike shop
- Use the voucher to pay towards the cost of the service
As this scheme is brand new, there's going to be high demand for the vouchers, with the BBC saying that they will be released in batches, starting with the first 50,000 from 28 July. On opening, the Energy Saving Trust website failed to cope with the demand meaning mean couldn't get access.
as of 29 July 2020, there's a notice saying that the first allocation has now gone. There's no word on when the next batch will be released, but we'll update as soon as we know.
Check with your local bike shop
While the Energy Saving Trust website will allow you to register for a voucher and tell you which stores are part of the scheme, it's worth picking up the phone to your local bike shop to check their availability and how they will use the scheme. Some will let you book a service, others will offer to assess the bike for repairs - with the voucher being used again the costs for the agreed work.
In some cases the work will cost more than £50, in which case you'll have to pay the balance once the voucher has been deducted.
But make sure they have availability - we checked with a local store who confirmed that they were fully booked for servicing up to 6 weeks in advance - so it's important to know where you're taking your bike.
It's also down to individual bike shops to register for the scheme - you can't use the voucher in a store that's not part of the scheme. While supporting your local shop is always to be encouraged, there are also some larger shops as part of the scheme, like Halfords or Evans Cycles, so it's worth checking a range of shops in your area.
It's also important that you don't delay important repairs to your bike while you are waiting - if your bike isn't safe to ride then don't ride it until it has been repaired.