Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Bike shops welcome £50 offer

BICYCLE shops have welcomed the offer of a £50 voucher to encourage people to go cycling.

Customers can claim the discount on having an old bike repaired or spruced up under the Government’s Fix Your Bike Scheme.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants people to cycle more often to improve their health and fitness during the coronavirus crisis.

People have to apply through the Energy Saving Trust website and more than 500,000 vouchers have already been claimed.

However, no more are being released until the Government receives feedback on the pilot stage. This will also give shops time to carry out the repairs.

Jason Acock, who owns Henley Cycles in Duke Street, called the scheme “fantastic”.

He said: “It’s going to encourage more people to get their bikes repaired and lead to more people riding.

“People will get fitter and, hopefully, will be less of a burden on the NHS. The more people that cycle, the healthier the nation will be.

“I’ve got a dozen people booked in who have got their vouchers and are waiting for their bikes to be serviced.

“The negative side is there’s a lot of admin involved for shops. You have to take photos and upload all the work to the government site to get paid and I’m really busy as it is.

“I won’t be doing one until the end of August. Once I’ve done one we’ll know how easy or difficult the process is.”

Rob Bowen, managing director of AW Cycles in Henley Road, Caversham, also welcomed the scheme.

He said: “It is encouraging more people to get outdoors and on their bikes. It will certainly help people who are less privileged and allow them to continue enjoying cycling.

“Our basic once-over service on a bike is £30, so I think the Government has been very reasonable with the £50 voucher.

“For most bikes, that should be absolutely fine to get them up and running again. It depends how well they have been looked after and the calibre of bike — if it’s an expensive bike, £50 could be a drop in the ocean.

“We did our first voucher at the weekend and it all went very well. We have to certify the work and take a photo of the bike.”

Mr Bowen, who has nine staff, including four mechanics in the workshop, says there has been a surge of interest in cycling.

He said: “We have been working throughout lockdown. We have recently opened up the upstairs part of the shop and turned that into a showroom.”

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