UK Govt Cycling Scheme Farce Continues
FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay a commissionReading time: 3 minutesImage source: After 2 minutes of success, the UK government's flagship bicycle repair voucher program has been taken offline. I have included the explicit 'Fault' message above, only because you yourself will be lucky enough to get an error message if you try to […]

FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: All links pay a commissionReading time: 3 minutes
Image source:

After 2 minutes of success, the UK government's flagship bicycle repair voucher program has been taken offline. I have included the explicit 'Fault' message above, only because you yourself will be lucky enough to get an error message if you try to get there yourself.

I say this is an explicit post but I don't really see how "More vouchers will be available as soon as possible" I mean ... is there a limit on the production of electronic vouchers? I thought it was indeed unlimited.

The system clearly couldn't keep up with the demand last night. A government spokesperson for the Silly Bikes Department said today: “I can't believe it, we've never had a case like this before where a site couldn't keep up with the demand. It was totally unexpected that the sometimes 'a little tight' Britons would react in this way to a total gift.“Another government spokesperson declined to comment but mumbled something about Russia before correcting himself and mumbling 'China'.

Make no mistake, it's great that the government is making this plan and it's probably reasonable of them to have waited until there was a little more capacity in the bicycle repair system. It's just that they maybe ordered a little more capacity for their probably very simple site to load, maybe even using a CDN (website cache) to efficiently move the site to somewhere else that can handle the charge better than they can - even a little old me does that. It probably even makes sense for them to ration the vouchers to allow retailers to keep up with demand. However, spoiler alert: they couldn't even keep up with the demand for a bike service yesterday before the system even started- the two I tried were Moores & Halfords. The first was full and the second couldn't be bothered to answer the phone.

Government Minister Mr Shapps REALLY said it was a "unique opportunity to create attitude change". Which one is perfectly true, it MAY WELL be a once in a lifetime opportunity to get large sections of the population to ride their bikes. For once, we even have fabulous and amazingly sunny British weather on our side this year. Mr. Shapps was not available for further comment.

The system is probably run behind the scenes by SERCO, but rumor has it that a one-page website is a bit too complex for them to manage and they are looking for partners to help them. I contacted my local brewery (Twickenham Ales) to see if they would be interested in partnering with SERCO, but their response was: "No way these guys couldn't even throw a party here". I told Twickenham Ales that they might be a little tough on the government, but they informed me that they themselves had managed to organize a small event the previous year and had ABSOLUTELY NONE PROBLEM GIVING FREE BEER… who would have thought? you would have thought that giving away free stuff was really that easy, but you are wrong because the quasi-government bureaucracy is involved.

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

How it works

  1. One voucher per person, two per household.
  2. A wait of 3 hours per person for the site to load and / or distribute a voucher
  3. Redeemable only at accredited bike shops, but this includes Halfords, Evans and much more. My local bike shop accepts them too, Moore's Cycles, but they're already booked until the end of August before the program even starts!
  4. There are also a limited number of vouchers available in total, as you will find out when you are finally able to enter your email address and a lot of other personal information.
  5. Typically this will be something like £ 35 for a service and £ 15 to cover the extra bits required.
  6. The first 50,000 (yes) have already been collected out of a total of 500,000.

Bottom line: a great deal if you can get the voucher and if you can book it. But you can't. So this is not the case.

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Most people think of running as a solo venture. And while runners appreciate ( read : need ) quality “me time, ” there’s something quite powerful about course in a pack.

“Most of the time people join groups for the social experience, but the cool thing about a running group is that you can be a part of it without saying a word, ” says Scott Miller, founder of the Boulder Trail Running Breakfast Club. “It’s a great opportunity to connect. ”

Here, Miller plus five other course club founders, share tips for building—and sustaining—your own course club.

Jessamy Little, who founded the Cass Runners Club, a 100-plus person running group in London comprised of her school classmates, suggests asking potential members what days, times, and locations work best with their schedules. Some groups may favor an early morning sweat sesh, while others may prefer meeting after work. “A recommendation for a newer club is to have two set course days, ” Little says. “One during the week that is more focused on ‘getting it done’ and one on weekends that can have a more ‘fun and footloose’ vibe. ” For Little’s group, the weekend runs were geared toward exploring new areas of the city.

“Don’t get discouraged if not a lot of people show up at first, ” says Marnie Kunz, founder of Runstreet, an NYC-based company that leads art runs—urban runs that pass by street art in cities across the U. S. When Kunz held her first art run in 2015, just one person came : a guy on a bike. Kunz was disappointed, embarrassed, and considered canceling the whole thing. But the next week a few more people showed up, and then a few more. Soon, word got out. Runstreet has since hosted more than 200 runs in cities around the country “Realizing that everyone starts from scratch really helps, ” Kunz says.

Kunz stresses the importance of having your own website that houses all information about your runs along with photos. “Social media platforms can change—and not everyone is on every platform—so it helps to have everything in one place. ” Keep your communication consistent across platforms to help create a streamlined brand.

Let people know what they are getting themselves into, Miller says. His Boulder, Colorado-based group of 100-plus members meets every Saturday for a long trail run ( anywhere between two to six hours ) followed by a group breakfast. Because the group’s runs cover a wide range of terrain, he wrote several articles explaining the general genres of conditions runners can expect and the group’s approximate pace along with safety tips.

The articles are published on the group’s MeetUp page, and when a new person signs up, Miller sends them the reading material. “If your group is not a beginner group, you need to make that clear, ” Miller says. “You don’t want people to show up and have a bad time. I try to be really descriptive about the time, distance, and elevation of our runs so people know what they are in for. ”

Many members of Miller’s group take photos during the runs and post them to the group’s page. He says it helps draw new members. “When people are looking for a running group and they see pictures of runs in amazing areas, people smiling—both men and women—they see that it’s a mixed group that likes to be social and have fun. ”

Frankie Ruiz, cofounder of the Miami Marathon and founder of the Baptist Health South Florida Brickell Run Club, a free, once-a-week, Miami-based group of about 400 runners, can count on one hand the number of times he’s cancelled runs throughout the program’s nine-year tenure.

“Our main message is that we don’t cancel, ” he says. “If it’s really rough out, we’ll go to a parking garage or go indoors and do a core séance. ” He says this has helped build the club’s reputation as a consistent amenity offered by the city. “Even if a runner doesn’t show up, I think there’s a comfort knowing that there is something in your city that doesn’t stop. ”

“If you have new people coming in, you can’t assume that they know the rules and guidelines, ” Ruiz says. “Communication needs to be all the time. ” Even though the group’s “weather-proof policy” may be well understood among current members, every time the skies get gloomy, the club blasts their social channels with reminders that the runs are still on. It also helps to communicate the planned route, en ligne, and pace in advance so that new members can plan their fuel and attire accordingly.


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