Back in July, the government launched a bike voucher scheme for England, offering £50 to get unused bicycles roadworthy again and help more people to travel by bike. To make sure bike shops weren’t completely overwhelmed with demand, only 50,000 vouchers were made available on a first come, first served basis. And there appeared to be plenty of demand when that first tranche was snapped up in little more than the blink of an eye, so now that 50,000 more are being released we strongly suggest you claim your voucher quickly.
To claim the money, register to receive a code on the Energy Savings Trust website, where you’ll also be able to search for a participating bike shop near you. Bear in mind each shop will offer its own service packages, with some costing more than £50. Depending on the state of your bike, you may need to brace yourself for the price hitting three figures. The £50 is designed to cover a brief maintenance service and safety check, and minor repairs like replacing brake pads. There’s also a limit of one voucher per household.
Try not to be put off if you have to wait a long time for an appointment, though. Pressure on bike shops means more bikes on the road, and having more bikes on the road is generally regarded as making cycling safer for all. And with the government announcing ambitious plans to improve cycling infrastructure, there has never been a better time to start cycling.
National chain Halfords offers free 32-point bike checks that identify areas that need work. The £50 voucher can then be used towards the cost of the repairs. Visit the Halford’s Fix My Bike Government Voucher Scheme to book the next available slot near you.
Hopefully, this little sweetener will give you that final nudge you need to dig out your old bike out and make it roadworthy again. Then you can join the swelling ranks of cyclists, many of whom turned to bikes as the only practical “COVID secure” means of transportation. Others, of course, just rediscovered the joys of riding during lockdown, taking the chance to range far and wide when otherwise confined to their homes.