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Fix Your Bike voucher scheme opens to public tonight – here’s how to get one

Applications set to open for first 50,000 Fix Your Bike vouchers worth £50 each – link to map of 1,239 participating bike shops – Halfords and Evans taking part

Updated: Following yesterday evening's announcement of the Fix Your Bike scheme going live and initial confusion of when people might be able to start registering for a voucher, detailed guidance from the Department for Transport issued this morning confirms that it will open at 2345 hours this evening, Tuesday 28 July, at this link. Our original article appears below.

The government’s long-awaited Fix Your Bike scheme goes live in England at midnight tonight (Monday) with two major retailers: Halfords' and Evans Cycles announcing that they are taking part although the majority of shops in the scheme would seem to be independent bike shops. Fix Your Bike vouchers are worth £50 each to help get a long-neglected bike back on the road.

Head here to register for a voucher – please note that the registration page for the public will open some time after midnight tonight, according to the government, but at the time of writing (last update midnight) the link still directs to the trade registration page. 

In total, 500,000 vouchers will be released at a total cost of £25 million, part of the £250 million announced for active travel by transport secretary Grant Shapps back in May, with applications for the first 50,000 opening this evening.

Bike shops across the country have been encouraged to take part – you can find the full list of bike repairers across England that are taking part on on the repairer locations page of the Fix Your Bike microsite. If the numbers on the map are up to date there are currently 1,239 participating bikes shops fairly evenly spread across England with the level of concentration in bigger cities that you'd expect – 298 in Greater London, 156 in the West Midlands; and around 300 across the major northern cities. Halfords and Evans have 350 and 52 stores respectively taking part so the bulk of participating bike shops are independents or local chains. 

Not surprisingly though the two biggest bike retailers on the high street Halfords and Evans are enthusiastic supporters of the scheme. 

In a statement released to coincide with the scheme's launch Halfords  committed to working with the Government and has become the nation’s largest approved cycling service providers for the Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme.

Halfords says it will have thousands of slots available every day for customers to bring their bikes in for assessment. You can book an appointment for an initial assessment via the Fix Your Bike page on Halford’s website before or after registering their voucher from the Government’s page.

Want to 'Fix Your Bike' at Halfords or Evans?
Here's what you need to know

Halford - Fix your bike voucher

Halfords – when you bring your bike in to the store a bike mechanic will carry out an assessment including a free 32-point check and diagnose any faults or repairs required. You’ve then got the choice of leaving the bike in the store for them to complete the repairs or of bringing it back at a later date. The bike repair voucher will then be put towards the cost of any repairs.

Evans meanwhile has announced that it has been restructuring its workshops and has set up four dedicated bike building hubs to ease the expected burden in store in preparation for the voucher scheme going live – you can find out all you need to know about how to use your voucher at Evans on their dedicated Fix Your Bike page on the Evans website. The company also says it has increased the size of it’s mechanic team by 32 per cent since lock down. On top of that the retailer, which was stung by customer criticism of delays to orders of new bikes during the lock down period has announced that is it rolling out a new 24 Hour Servicing Pledge, committing to complete all mechanical services booked in advance within 24 hours (subject to availability of parts).

Originally the government announced that Fix Your Bike vouchers would be available to the public by the end of June, but have been delayed – not least, according to cycling minister Chris Heaton-Harris, due to waiting for bike repairers to have sufficient capacity to deal with demand.

> Further delays to Fix Your Bike voucher scheme launch as government waits for repair backlog to ease

“By encouraging people to get their old bikes out of the back of the shed fixed and safe to ride, the scheme will help more people choose cycling over public transport as a convenient way to travel, for example when going to the shops or seeing friends,” says a statement from the government.

“Due to overwhelming demand for cycle shops’ services during the pandemic, vouchers will be released in batches in order to help manage capacity across participating stores.” The statement continues.

“The first 50,000 will be available just before midnight tonight on a first come first served basis to those who register online.”

The government added that it will “work closely with industry during this first pilot launch to monitor its success and adapt the scheme as necessary before rolling it out more widely.” 

It was announced last month, when the scheme opened to bike repairers wanting to participate in the scheme, that vouchers would be available via a microsite hosted on the Energy Saving Trust website, with the government outlining at the time how it would work.

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

The government’s announcement that the scheme is opening to applications this evening was accompanied by a brief summary of how it will work, as follows:  

A list of eligible repairs are provided to both customers and bike shops and mechanics as part of the Terms and Conditions of the scheme.

People can use their voucher, with a limit of two vouchers per household, at any participating repair shop, with the voucher remaining valid for two months following registration

Repair costs will vary but £50 will typically cover the cost of a standard service and the replacement of a basic component such as an inner tube or cable. Where a bike needs additional components then a customer contribution is likely to be needed

The scheme can be used to pay for service and parts that are required to make the bike safe to use on public roads but will not be allowed to use against the cost of accessories and equipment

Children’s bikes are also covered by the scheme.

The launch of the vouchers ties in with the government’s wish for more people to switch to active travel for everyday trips including commuting as England continues to emerge from lockdown.

With social distancing continuing to severely restrict capacity on public transport, another key motivation to get more people cycling is to avoid gridlocked roads by discouraging those with a car to use that for their trips to work.

But as we’ve said before, the delay in the launch of the scheme, which has attracted plenty of attention from people wanting to get long-neglected bikes back on the road, together with traffic now returning to levels seen pre-lockdown – and during the school summer holidays, to boot – means that the window of opportunity to get more people in the saddle may already have closed.

Let’s hope that isn’t the case, although as previously pointed out, two potential stumbling blocks are the availability of parts due to global demand the industry is struggling to meet, and the cost of repairs in some cases far exceeding the value of the voucher – you’re not going to get a bike that needs new brake cables, tyres and a chain, for example, back on the road for anywhere near fifty quid, for example.

Head here to register for a voucher – please note that the registration page for the public will open some time after midnight this evening, according to the government, but at the time of writing the link directs to the trade registration page. 

 

Simon joined road.cc 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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46 comments

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zero_trooper | 3 years ago
0 likes

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/jul/29/uk-bike-repair-vouc...

The article talks about irate cyclists. Surely that should be 'people wanting to be cyclists, but can't because they need their bike fixing'?

Isn't that the point of the scheme?

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mdavidford | 3 years ago
0 likes

Well it looks like no-one's getting any vouchers for the time being.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53576008

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hawkinspeter replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
4 likes
mdavidford wrote:

Well it looks like no-one's getting any vouchers for the time being.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53576008

If the new website has crashed, was it wearing a helmet?

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David9694 replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
1 like

"While the GP 5000 gumwall on the back looks great, just want to point out the bike has TWO wheels..." 

I don't understand why so many people were yesterday on here carping about the scheme. Anything that gets more people (back) on their bikes is a good thing. 

£50 is only to get you started, a contribution - it's not going to cover that much work. Ideally, it will benefit LBSs and other independents, but If it benefits Evans or even Halfords, so what?  

And now it's gone and done that thing every new government website does in these troubled times. Wishing it a speedy recovery. 

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hawkinspeter | 3 years ago
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Just seen a pro-cycling article by the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-53566910

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Dicklexic | 3 years ago
5 likes

With all due respect, I'm not sure these vouchers are really aimed at anyone that regularly frequents this website. My interpretation is that they're for people that basically have no clue about bike maintenance, and also have ONE neglected bike in their shed/garage that never gets used because it's beyond their abilities to fix it. I would like to think (perhaps naively) that the vast majority of ‘cyclists’ on here will be a bit more clued up than that. And besides, do you really want to take your pride and joy, or one of your ‘spare’ bikes to Halfords for a free ‘professional service’ just because it’s a freebie?

The main point I am trying to make is that most of us on here should probably NOT apply for a voucher. As they are a limited resource it would IMHO be far more beneficial to let them get taken up by genuine 'people on bikes' so that they can join the rest of us and increase the number of cyclists on our roads. Of course if the only reason you read this website is to get your cycling fix because you don't know how, or can't afford to get your bike fixed, then by all means crack on.

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Dicklexic replied to Dicklexic | 3 years ago
4 likes

I wan't to stress that I am in no way intending to come across as elitist in my statement above, just trying to be pragmatic, so please accept my apologies if they're needed.

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Mungecrundle replied to Dicklexic | 3 years ago
1 like

Call me cynical if you must, but the scheme, whilst backed with good intentions will most likely end up lining the pockets of petty fraudsters who have assuredly worked out some way of scamming it.

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Nick T replied to Dicklexic | 3 years ago
1 like

I'm sure that's who they intend the scheme to benefit, but you have to wonder if that person with a neglected bike they didn't continue riding the first time is going to magically become a regular rider because they got 50 quid to fix it. The only real winner here is going to be Halfords and Evans, who've got the capacity to do any of the work currently - there's surely better ways to spend £25m of taxpayers money but this one sounds progressive and has made a few headlines which is all the current government really cares about

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Awavey | 3 years ago
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No doubt by Christmas when all the vouchers are gone and they work out 75% were taken by existing cyclists just upgrading bits on their bikes or covering their annual LBS servicing,the complaints will be the government rushed the scheme and should have put more safeguards in to protect the key workers who werent able to log on the internet at 11:45pm and claim a voucher.

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Goldfever4 | 3 years ago
1 like

The shop coverage is disappointing - we should support our local bike shops, or get friends & family to, not bloody Halfords who have been making a killing already

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Nick T replied to Goldfever4 | 3 years ago
4 likes

It's up to your local bike shop to sign up to the scheme

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Awavey replied to Nick T | 3 years ago
0 likes

Yep all the LBS around me are signed up, of course most them are still booked solid for two months,so whether it will result in still being able to use the voucher is another matter

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Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
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Am I right in thinking this isn't a voucher for you to buy parts against? The bike must be assessed and repaired by the shop?

Pretty pointless for me as I can fix all my own stuff so unless it's a voucher that applies to parts I won't be using it. Then again there's nothing much wrong with my bikes. Just fancied a wider set of bars for the MTB.

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APD replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
3 likes

"The scheme can be used to pay for service and parts that are required to make the bike safe to use on public roads but will not be allowed to use against the cost of accessories and equipment"

The scheme isn't really for people wanting to upgrade their bike, but for people who have a bike but lack the skills or inclination (and funds) to make it roadworthy themselves. It's really to get more people out on their bikes, so I doubt it applies to any readers of this website, who are presumably already on the road.

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brooksby replied to APD | 3 years ago
4 likes

Isn't the problem there that people who don't regularly ride a bike are always horribly shocked at the price of repairs and parts for bikes?

They will have a rude awakening at how little £50 will get them on bringing their rusty, dusty, garage-bike back into proper maintenance.

(They're happy to pay hundreds of pounds on work on their car, but think that bike repair is unskilled manual labour carried out by trained monkeys).

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APD replied to brooksby | 3 years ago
2 likes

That's a fair point, £50 quid probably wouldn't even cover a service in most places!

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Nick T replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
2 likes

How friendly are you with your LBS, I'm sure they could find a fault with your current bars that requires replacement if pressed

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zero_trooper replied to Nick T | 3 years ago
0 likes

a.k.a. fraud.

I know someone who lost their job over a C2W fiddle. Tho' the LBS who must have colluded in order to provide 'receipts' was never prosecuted.

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Awavey replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
7 likes

I'd argue as existing cyclists,most of whom have been merrily riding our bikes & fixing bits as required during all this,the scheme isnt intended for us,and were we to claim a voucher we would actually be taking that voucher away from people who arguably deserve it more, but as the cycle to work scheme always shows, offer cyclists free money to fettle their bikes & very few turn it down.

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Dogless replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
5 likes

Totally agree. The 'free money' has to come from somewhere. It comes down to individual social responsibility. Like when you're eligible for free prescriptions and the doctor says 'we can prescribe you paracetamol but we'll have to pay £5 for it, or you can go to the chemist and pay 35p.' You are entitled to take the 'free' thing, but you shouldn't.

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Dogless replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
2 likes

As ever with this sort of thing, one must ask if it's actually necessary to claim one of the limited number of vouchers for an unnecessary upgrade, if it's going to potentially prevent someone who actually *needs* one getting one.

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Eton Rifle | 3 years ago
1 like

Seems to be a choice of either Halfords or Evans in my neck of the woods. Not sure I trust either of them.

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Rick_Rude replied to Eton Rifle | 3 years ago
0 likes

I certainly wouldn't use Halfords for car or bike repairs. When our child was born I got banned from fixing the car for some reason as safety first etc. Lets the pros do it!  After a few of years of bungled repairs from the likes Halfords and loads of lost days she relented and unless it requires really specialist stuff I'll have a go myself.

When you see some of the dimwits working in car shops you realise it can't be hard. Most of it is just tools and access. Youtube is a goldmine for repair guides and this goes for bicycles as well. Watch someone else do and it and give it go. 

Last time I wanted a part from Halfords the bike guy didn't even know what a quill stem was. I was trying to convert an old Raleigh into a fixie and wanted a converter so I could use an A head stem. Totally blank, not a clue. They actually sold the part as well.

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mdavidford | 3 years ago
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So what happens if your assessment comes back as 'needing' a whole bunch of stuff that you don't think is really necessary, and costs a lot more than the £50? Can you pick and choose which of the repairs you want done?

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Nick T replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
5 likes

I think that's normally the case even without a voucher

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mdavidford replied to Nick T | 3 years ago
1 like

But normally you could take the bike in for a specific repair. This sounds more like an MOT-type process, where they'll be looking for everything that might need doing, even if it's only minor.

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Nick T replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
0 likes

It's a voucher towards the cost of a bike service or repair, an mot type process is basically a what a bike shop service is. Halfords can dress it up however they like, however you aren't required to go to them, thankfully

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asbwilson1994 replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
0 likes

If you trust a bike shop walking through the door you should trust the assessment they make, even if it's more than you expected.

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mdavidford replied to asbwilson1994 | 3 years ago
0 likes

It's not necessarily a case of not trusting their assessment, but if they want to change tyres, chains, etc. those might be things you'd be quite happy doing yourself, and you really only want a more complicated fix done.

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