Manchester bike brand Insync Bikes is welcoming the imminent rise in workers commuting by bike as another government cycling scheme prepares for launch.
The Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme will see cyclists receive a voucher work up to £50 towards repairs as part of a raft of measures to encourage more people to embrace cycling. (see notes to editors 1)
Insync, owned by India-based Hero Cycles, says the scheme needs to happen as the country gets back on its feet and has called for other measures proposed by the Bicycle Association to be adopted.
The voucher scheme aims to boost the number of commuting and leisure trips, and to promote an alternative to public transport, while social distancing measures are in place.
Bike repair businesses are currently being asked to register to take part in the initiative and must meet certain eligibility criteria. The scheme is expected to be available to cyclists in the coming weeks.
The Bicycle Association presented a package of measures to the government to build on the boom period experienced by the sport during lockdown. These measures included:
- A zero VAT ‘holiday’ for all bikes, e-bikes, and cycle repairs.
- A short-term £250 per bike purchase grant to promote e-bikes.
- Extending the Cycle to Work scheme.
- Adult refresher cycle training across the country.
- Funding and planning easements to help employers provide secure cycle parking for their workers.
Insync Bikes sales director Wayne Clarke welcomed the voucher scheme and urged the Government to be bold saying even more can be achieved by following the Bicycle Association checklist of measures.
He said: “The Government is heralding a ‘cycling revolution’ and ‘golden age of cycling’ and while we welcome the scheme a lot more can be done to support the industry. The benefits of cycling are massive from getting polluting cars off the road, and improving air quality, to helping people transform their mental and physical health as well as improve their general immunity and sensitivity to vaccines. As an industry we must do all we can to seize this once in a generation opportunity.
“We would urge the adoption of all the measures proposed by the Bicycle Association, including the £250 grant to support the growth of e-bikes, which present commuters with a viable and attractive alternative to driving particularly longer commuting distances. With the introduction of extra cycle safety measures up and down the country, commuting on two wheels will surge in popularity but it needs to be sustainable and long term not a quick fix. There’s also more that could be done with existing measures like Cycle to Work scheme which could be made even more tax efficient (see notes to editors).”
Insync brand ambassador and Olympian Shanaze Reade offered some advice to those wishing to take up cycling for their commute.
She said: “Like anything, the type of bike suitable for your ride to work depends on the journey you’ll be taking. Road bikes are obviously great if your sole aim for buying a bike is to cycle to work, while a hybrid is versatile and gives you the option of taking on tougher terrain for weekend riding. A foldable bike is a great idea if you wish to jump on public transport for any part of your trip, while an e-bike can be good for those new to riding or anyone who wants to arrive at the office still fresh and ready for a full day at work.
“Whatever you choose, your local bike shop is a great first stop to give you any advice on the best bike for you and anything else you need to know before setting off.”
Notes to editors
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said during the daily coronavirus briefing that public transport will see at best a fifth of its usual travellers in the immediate aftermath of lockdown easing and a gradual return to normality.
“Previously, we announced the introduction of a scheme to bring bicycles back into a roadworthy condition, relieving the pressure on public transport and improving the nation’s health,” Shapps said. “Today, I can provide the detail of the new £50 bicycle maintenance voucher. Available from next month, the scheme will help up to half a million people drag bikes out of retirement, speed up the cycling revolution and help individuals become fitter and healthier and reducing air pollution, which remains a hidden killer.
- For details on the Cycle to Work scheme visit: https://help.cyclescheme.co.uk/article/40-how-are-cycle-to-work-savings-made