£50 of free money?

Header image of EST voucher page

On Friday the Government rolled out the “Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme” and its website promptly crashed several times over the following day(s) under the demand.

Full details are via https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fix-your-bike-voucher-scheme-apply-for-a-voucher and / or https://fixyourbikevoucherscheme.est.org.uk/ but, in short, the scheme is aimed at helping people afford to get a bike back in working order and it grants a voucher worth £50 towards getting this done at a local bike shop.

We’re happy to be part of this scheme, and voucher-based enquiries are coming in thick and fast, so this post aims to answer a few questions:

Vouchers are valid for repairs to get a bike back on the road only. Vouchers can’t be spent upgrading parts that don’t need replacing, and they’re only for jobs involving labour to replace the parts.

Vouchers are valid for adult and children’s bikes; electric-assist bikes are eligible but only if they’re road legal (i.e. not home-built or modified).

Vouchers can’t be claimed on work that’s been carried out in the past.

Vouchers can’t be part-refunded or exchanged if the job costs less than the full amount of the voucher.

Vouchers are valid for 60 days from the date they’re issued.

We can’t give other discounts on jobs with vouchers allocated.

When we take the bike in, we need to see:

– a valid voucher code

– a photo ID: driving licence, passport or residence permit

– a recent (last months) proof of address: utility or council tax bill, mortgage statement, benefit book or council / housing association rent card

The voucher is valid for a specific bike; we have to submit a photo to prove that’s the bike we’ve worked on when we redeem the voucher.

Only one voucher per job.

Only a maximum of two vouchers per household.

We need to collect, and keep, details of the customer’s name, phone number, email address and address. The customer needs to approve this, because GDPR.

The first wave of vouchers have all been granted, so if you already have a voucher you’ve got 60 days from the date of voucher issue to book a bike in. As I type, our workshop diary’s pretty much full up to the second week in September, but that still gives plenty of time to book in. Or, of course, we’ll accept vouchers if you’re using our walk-in service first thing in the morning for smaller jobs (a new pair of tyres can easily cost over £50!).

Keep an eye out on the website(s) at the top of this post for announcements about further waves of vouchers being released if you were unlucky this time.

Time for a meeting

These are exciting and busy times at Rat Race Cycles – we’re doing all we can to keep as many people rolling as possible, and it’s been great to see so many new cyclists as well as many familiar faces.

We’ve taken on a couple of new team members – hi Alex and Joe! – in the last month too, and as our team grows it’s getting all the more important to make sure we’re working well together and keeping the shop standards high.

Busy workshops get grubbier and more disorganised quicker, and we all need some time to learn and to make sure we keep improving. So we’re going to be changing our opening hours again: we’ll open at 10am on Wednesdays instead of the current 8, to give us time to have a team meeting, to do some training and also to have a bit of a deeper clean.

We’ll be in the shop, but we’ll be closed, so we won’t be running the walk-in service on Wednesday mornings. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes – we chose Wednesday because it’s been our quietest day on average for walk-ins so we hope this will affect the fewest people.

For people who have bikes booked in on Wednesdays we’ll be encouraging them to drop bikes off the night before or after 10am; we’ll try and notify everyone who’s already booked in over the next few weeks and make things work for them.

One of the things we’ve been discussing is extending our opening hours, now we have more staff to cover this, so watch this space for a further update! Thanks for your understanding.