FROM today people in England will be given £50 towards fixing their old or damaged bicycles. 

In a bid to "drag bikes out of retirement," the government is finally launching its £25m bike repair scheme.

Halfords said customers in England will be able to use the £50 vouchers towards the cost of fixing their bicycles.

A number of other high street businesses have also opted into the government scheme.

Up to half a million vouchers were originally due to be issued from June - but this was put back.

The Department for Transport said the scheme would only begin when maintenance shops could handle the expected spike in demand.

Is it needed?

A poll of 2,000 adults commissioned by the firm indicated that only 48 percent of people know how to repair a puncture, 43 percent could tighten lights and fix a loose chain, and 37 percent could adjust their own brakes.

Department for Transport figures show there has been a surge in cycling following the coronavirus outbreak.

Compared with the equivalent day in the first week of March, cycling usage nearly doubled over the weekend of July 18/19.

Monday July 20 - the most recent weekday for which data is available - saw cycling at 146 percent of pre-lockdown levels.

How will it work?

Halfords said it has thousands of slots for customers to bring their bike into stores.

They will then get a free 32-point health check to assess potential faults which could be rectified under the scheme.

It is understood other businesses, who have signed up to the scheme will be able to operate in the same way. 

What Halfords have said
Halfords chief executive Graham Stapleton said: "When it comes to bike repairs, we've noticed a change in customer mindset, with more cyclists turning to us to help with the smallest of fixes as they dust off their old bikes and seek to avoid public transport.

"It's a trend that's being driven by busy lives and lack of time for consumers who don't want to carry out awkward maintenance jobs.

"As part of the scheme, our thousands of highly skilled bike mechanics will offer each cyclist a free 32-point bike check and diagnosis, which will help them decide how best to spend their voucher.

"We think the Government's Fix Your Bike voucher scheme will not only help individuals become more confident about keeping their bikes maintained, but will help speed up the cycling revolution."