Cycling UK’s annual Big Bike Revival project will launch today with £2 million in Department for Transport cash footing the bill of the seventh year of free bike servicing.
It is expected that 300 locations nationwide will offer the no charge services to anyone rolling up with a problem to fix and, as usual, bike shops and mobile mechanics can apply for a grant of up to £3,000 to participate in the work.
This year’s scheme may prove more complex than usual to administer, with a shortage of service goods in the marketplace. In the past bike shops have questioned how beneficial the Government-backed scheme is for small business.
Along the same lines and also with a divide in opinion, CyclingIndustry.News’ research has shown that in the instance of the Government’s Covid-induced £50 Bike Repair Voucher scheme 59% of stores accepted the trade while 23% turned the vouchers away.
A document explaining what is expected of those who participate, with details on required insurances, for example, can be found here.
Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive said: “Now in its seventh year, I like to think of our Big Bike Revival as a combination of a free MOT and service for the nation’s bikes – making sure they’re all in tip top condition for a summer of cycling ahead.
“England fell in love with cycling during the lockdown and through the Big Bike Revival we’ll be looking to keep that love alive as we run public events and small, social group rides across the country. After more than a year of limited social contact, we’re keen to start helping those who want to cycle connect with new people, boost their wellbeing and build their confidence on two wheels.”
Since the scheme’s debut over 250,000 bikes have been repaired without cost to the consumer.
Last year, the programme shifted gears to help enable key workers to continue to travel to work safely while avoiding public transport and then ran Dr Bike events in local communities to offer free bike checks and basic repairs to everyone.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, almost half of the beneficiaries Cycling UK engaged with were non-regular cyclists, who rode once every two weeks or less. In 2021, Cycling UK aims to engage with 45% of those defined as non-regular cyclists, with a view to create around 50,000 new cycling trips this year, on average the programme could encourage around 1,875 new cycling trips per week or 270 new cycling trips every day.
Cycling Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Cycling is great for your health, the environment and for easing congestion on our roads so we’re delighted to be supporting this vital initiative with £2-million in funding.
“By helping more people take up cycling and spruce up their bikes, this scheme will go a long way in promoting active travel and achieving our vision for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030.”
The project will run until 31 December 2021 and will continue to offer support to help people carry on riding during the autumn and winter months.