The Fix Your Bike website, through which people can obtain vouchers worth £50 towards the cost of repairing a long-neglected bike, crashed as soon as it opened yesterday evening – but even so, the first 50,000 vouchers were snapped up quickly.
A message on the scheme’s website this morning reads: “Thank you for your interest in the Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme. There are no vouchers available right now.
“Vouchers are being released gradually to reflect the capacity of the bike repairers signed up to the scheme. More vouchers will be made available as soon as possible.”
In all, 500,000 vouchers are due to be released to people in England, with a limit of two per household, and the vouchers are being distributed in stages both to avoid overwhelming bike retailers and repairers as well as to assess public enthusiasm for the scheme.
There’s no doubting the latter, with the Fix Your Bike website – hosted by the Energy Saving Trust – unable to cope with demand when it went live at 2345 hours yesterday evening.
According to posts on social media, it wasn’t until around 4am that people were able to start registering for vouchers – and it appears that within a few hours, all of the first 50,000 to be released had gone.
Adding to some people’s frustration is that the way the scheme operates with some bike repair service providers – including Halfords, the UK’s biggest bike retailer – means that they had booked their bikes in for assessment before obtaining a voucher.
That means, in the event they were unsuccessful, they go ahead and get the bike repaired without benefiting from the discount, or they face a lengthy wait and possibly more frustration when the next batch of vouchers is released.
In the meantime, many would-be punters took to Twitter to vent their frustration.
— Luke Agnew (@Lukeagnew11) July 29, 2020
— Matt Travis (@Yakus) July 29, 2020
— Kev Payne (@HugsfromDad) July 29, 2020
It wasn’t just people hoping to get their hands on a voucher who were frustrated, either – this independent bike shop waiting for the scheme to launch wasn’t too happy either.
— Butternut Bikes (@ButternutBikes) July 28, 2020
If you’re 1 of the lucky people who managed to get a #FixYourBikeScheme #FixYourBike #FixYourBikeVoucherScheme voucher we are open for business & are ready to take appointments.
Contact us to book an appointment for a free, fair appraisal with no oversell. 07884422391 pic.twitter.com/dozzacOnkC
— cycleogist (@cycleogist) July 29, 2020
If you did miss out on a voucher, here’s a reminder that you can always use the Dr Bike pop-up service – Google “Dr Bike” and your location to find out when and where there is a session near you.
@WeAreCyclingUK are offering a grant of up to £3,000 to organisations who'd like to take part in their pop-up Dr Bike events which will focus on providing basic bike repairs and safety checks in communities.#BigBikeRevival
— GM Moving (@GmMoving) July 29, 2020
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.