The French government is tackling the travel challenges of the pandemic lockdown directly by offering its citizens €50 (A$85.50) to spend getting their bicycles repaired.
Members of the public can spend up to €50 at registered mechanics as part of a €20 million (A$34.2 million) scheme. That cash total will also be used for cycle training and temporary parking spaces.
According to the BBC, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition, Elisabeth Borne, said in normal times, 60% of journeys made in France are less than five km, so bicycles are, “a real transport solution”, aiming for the move to reduce numbers using cars for commutes and keep air pollution low when restrictions are lifted.
Meanwhile the UK Government is providing up to 500,000 bicycle repair vouchers worth 50 pounds each (A$92.50) a total value of 25 million pounds (A$46,250,000). With UK bikes shops already flat out coping with demand, this extra cash infusion will make mechanics even busier.
“The demand for mechanics and bike builders is through the roof. In order to get quality staff to meet that demand stores may need to pay a little more. At the present time I hear that most London cycle shops have a two-week lead time on work and some are choosing only the most profitable work,” said Gavin Hudson, who has recently departed a London retail chain to turn his hand to mobile mechanics under the Butternut Bikes banner.
From two separate articles first published in Cycle Industry News (UK)