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Details finally emerge of government's Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme – and it doesn't sound as easy as riding one

Repairers invited to register now – but public launch will take place “in the coming weeks”

The government has announced further details of its Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme, inviting bicycle repairers wishing to participate to register for it – but the bad news for anyone hoping to get £50 towards the cost of fixing a neglected bike is that the vouchers are unlikely to be available to the public for several weeks yet.

There are also a good few bureaucratic hoops for repairers to jump through both to qualify for the scheme and to redeem vouchers, as well as strict requirements of what is and is not an eligible repair, and consumers hoping to benefit will also have to provide proof of address, with a limit of two bikes per household.

Some details of who can benefit from the scheme have been published today on a dedicated microsite on the Energy Saving Trust website, which says: “The Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme aims to encourage more people in England to embrace cycling as an alternative to private cars and public transport, particularly while social distancing measures are in place.

“The scheme will be open to anyone who has an unused cycle in need of a repair. It will help them get it back on the road by providing £50 towards the cost of a service and repair for up to two cycles per household.

“The scheme is not yet open to the public. If you’ve got an old cycle that needs repairing, you can check back shortly to apply for a voucher.”

In a statement published on its website today, the Department for Transport (DfT) said that “members of the public will be able to apply for the vouchers in the coming weeks” and gave the following brief summary of the scheme:

The bike owner will find a registered bike mechanic to fix their bike. A map of participating bike shops and mechanics will be available on the Energy Saving Trust website when the scheme launches to the public.

The bike owner applies for a voucher.

They bring their bike in to be fixed, using the voucher towards the cost.

You [the repairer] can then claim the cost of the discount (up to £50 per bike) back through the Energy Saving Trust website.

The Energy Saving Trust will refund you on our behalf on a weekly basis.

In order to participate in the scheme, bike repairers are required to meet certain criteria, including carrying £2 million in public liability insurance.

Full terms and conditions can be found when registering for the scheme, which is done through the Energy Saving Trust website, and which set out what are and are not considered as “eligible repairs,” as follows:

“Eligible Repairs” means repairs that are:

necessary to make cycles roadworthy and fit for purpose; and

carried out on premises in England.

Eligible Repairs may include:

repairing or replacing tyres, tubes, wheels and related components;

adjusting, repairing or replacing braking system components;

adjusting, repairing or replacing transmission system components;

repairing or replacing other essential components which prevent safe use of the cycle e.g. deteriorated grips or saddle;

repairing or replacement of components for permanently fitted lighting systems.

The following repairs are not Eligible Repairs:

a sale of replacement parts without any repair work.

replacement or upgrade of existing safe and roadworthy components;

replacement or repair of removeable lighting accessories.

The terms and conditions also stipulate that the customer, having sourced a registered bike mechanic through the Energy Saving Trust website, will need to provide proof of address matching the voucher details both when they drop the bike off for repair and when they collect it.

When claiming on the voucher, the repairer is also required to ensure that is accompanied by a photo of the bike that has been repaired under that voucher and which must “be a photo of the whole cycle, including frame and wheels, be clear and unobstructed [and] correspond with the description of the bike provided on the voucher details.”

As we reported last week, we have seen a lot of interest in the vouchers from readers since they were first announced in May at a Downing Street daily briefing by transport secretary Grant Shapps.

> Still no sign of the government's £50 Fix Your Bike vouchers

At the time, he said that the vouchers would be available at some point this month, something he repeated on 4 June. Now we are entering the last week of the month, that is not going to happen.

Moreover, as we pointed out last week, it is a race against the clock to achieve the “once in a generation” opportunity Shapps identified to change the nation’s travel habits.

Today, the DfT said that “The Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme has been set up to encourage more people to embrace cycling, to boost the number of commuting and leisure trips, and to promote an alternative to public transport, while social distancing measures are in place.

“It also aims to help reduce the number of short journeys made by private cars,” the department added.

But with a handful of notable exceptions, it has proved impossible to roll out emergency infrastructure to encourage would-be cyclists onto the roads during a period when any hint of a further easing of lockdown rules in England has encouraged more and more drivers to get back in their cars.

And many of those potential cyclists will have been waiting for the vouchers to give them financial help to get bikes out of garages and sheds and into a roadworthy condition – meaning that each week’s delay makes that less likely.

Moreover, with many bike shops that do provide repair services already having lengthy waiting lists for people wanting to get their bikes fixed or serviced, it won’t be a case of simply going into a shop to drop a bicycle off the morning it arrives and pick it up that evening – a further delay of perhaps several weeks seems inevitable.

Depending on the condition of the bike, of course, the owner may get a bit of a shock when they’re given an estimate for how much it will cost in terms of parts – new tyres, a new chain, brake cables, etc – and labour to get it back on the road, with the £50 from the government going only a small part of the way towards covering it.

Some half a million vouchers are due to be issued, for a total cost to the government of £25 million.

At this point, however, and bearing in mind some of the finer details as well as our own reservations mentioned above, we’ll be very interested to see the actual uptake, both in terms of vouchers issued, and those that actually get used.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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huntswheelers | 4 years ago

After seeing all the info on this and all the red tape to sign up and to claim back the voucher value, I'm not joining the scheme. The trade can only use the voucher for labour not parts so Bob up the road with his clunker...that needs tyres,tubes,cables, brakes minimum isn't going to want to stump up £60+ for a free voucher.... I don't need the hassle personally plus I'm booked until mid August...Most bikes I work on are not chain store & catalogue it is no loss to me....and when the bike owner see's their application criteria....few will take it up

brooksby | 4 years ago
1 like

I feel that

"replacement or upgrade of existing safe and roadworthy components;"

is going to be the Govt's get-out clause here.


"I need my chain replacing?"

"Does the bike still go forward when you pedal?"

"Er, yes"

"Then it's still roadworthy - off you trot, sonny!"

geo555 replied to brooksby | 4 years ago

Remove the chain before you take it into the shop!

brooksby replied to geo555 | 4 years ago

Yep - that would do it  3

srchar | 4 years ago

It's going to cost more in administration than it dishes out in bike repairs.

jnthnwd | 4 years ago

I've messaged my LBS to see if they're going to join. £50 should cover a new chain or brake pads fitted for this skint cyclist.

dodpeters | 4 years ago

Lots of people seem to think that bike repairs and servicing should be virtually free, if this means that bike mechanics can charge a reasonable hourly rate then it’s probably a good thing for the industry.

Grahamd | 4 years ago

Carried out on premises in England only. 

Sriracha | 4 years ago
1 like

Given that the idea is for these vouchers to be used by people who have little if any experience of the costs, I can see unscrupulous merchants seeing this as an opportunity to have the government introduce clueless customers to them, and take the customers for £50 more than the job would otherwise cost, maybe even more.

eburtthebike | 4 years ago

Sounds as if it's going to cost more to administer than the value of the vouchers.  Like many announcements about cycling, the launch promised so much more than will actually be delivered.

brooksby | 4 years ago


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