UK Govt Cycling Scheme Farce Continues

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UK Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme Crashes and Temporarily Closed

After a reported 2 minutes of successful operation, the UK government’s flagship bike repair voucher scheme has been taken off-line. I’ve included the self-explanatory ‘error’ message, above, only because you’ll be lucky yourself to even get an error message if you try to go there yourself.

I say it’s a self explanatory message but I can’t quite see how ‘More vouchers will be made availabe as soon as possible”, I mean…is there a limit on electronic voucher production? I kinda thought it was effectively limitless.

Last night the system clearly couldn’t cope with demand. A government spokesperson from the Department of Silly Bikes today said, “I can’t believe it, we’ve never had a case like this before where a site couldn’t cope with demand. It was totally unexpected that the occasionally ‘a bit tight’ British people would react in this way to a total freebie.‘ Another government spokesperson refused to comment but muttered something about Russia before correcting themselves and mumbled “China”.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the government are doing this scheme and it is probably sensible of them to have waited until there was a little more capacity in the cycle repair system. It’s just that perhaps they might have ordered a bit more capacity for their probably very straightforward site to load, perhaps even using a CDN (website cache) to effectively move the site somewhere else that can handle the load better than they can – even little old me does that. It probably even does really make sense for them to ration the vouchers to allow the retailers to be able to cope with demand. Although, spoiler alert: they couldn’t even cope with the demand for a bike service yesterday before the system even startedthe two I tried were Moores & Halfords. The former was full and the latter couldn’t be bothered to answer the phone.

Government minister, Mr Shapps, GENUINELY said this was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a shift in attitudes“. Which is perfectly true, this MAY WELL be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get large chunks of the population onto their bikes. For once, we even have the fabled awesomely sunny British weather on our side this year. Mr Shapps was unavailable for further comment.

The system is probably being run behind the scenes by SERCO but it’s rumoured a one-page website is a little too complex for them to handle and that they are looking for partners to help. I contacted my local Brewery (Twickenham Ales) to see if they would be interested in partnering with SERCO but their response was, “No Way, those guys couldn’t even organise a party here“. I put it to Twickenham Ales that perhaps they were being a little harsh on the Government but they informed me that they had themselves managed to organise a small event the previous year and had ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEMS GIVING AWAY FREE BEER…who would have thought it? you would have thought to give away free stuff really was that easy but you’d be wrong because quasi-Governmental bureaucracy is involved.

LINK: Here is the link for you to try to see the annoying indeterminate message on your own browser.

How it works

  1. One voucher per person, two per household.
  2. One 3 hour wait per person for the site to load and/or dish out a voucher
  3. Only redeemable at accredited bike stores but that includes Halfords, Evans and many more. My local bike shop accepts them too, Moore’s Cycles, but they are already booked up until the end of August before the scheme even starts!
  4. There is also a limited number of vouchers available in total as you will discover when you are finally able to enter your email address and lots of other personal details
  5. Typically it will be something like £35 for a service and the £15 to cover any extra bits that are required.
  6. The first 50,000 (yep) have already been snapped up out of a total of 500,000.

In Summary: A GREAT deal if you can get the voucher and if you can get it booked in. But you can’t. So it’s not.

Please feel free to share images of your voucher below to annoy me and other readers. We might see the funny side of it.



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