Boris Johnson’s plan to encourage Britons to cycle hit a snag after a website offering bicycle repair vouchers crashed and then said none were available.
The government is offering 50,000 Fix Your Bike vouchers as part of a £2bn scheme to boost active travel.
Vouchers worth £50 were to be made available for servicing and component replacements, but on Wednesday morning the site displayed a message saying none were available “right now”.
It launched on Tuesday night but crashed shortly after going live, with users getting an “Error 404” message.
Visitors were presented with this text: “Due to extreme volumes of traffic this resource has been temporarily paused whilst we take action to improve performance for users. Please try again later today.”
Disappointed cyclists went on Twitter to complain and the hashtag #FixYourBikeVoucherScheme became the top trend in the UK shortly after the website was launched.
The Fix Your Bike vouchers – announced in February – were meant to be available from June but were held back until maintenance shops could deal with the expected surge in demand for repairs.
Johnson previously said: “You always could spend more and this is the most ambitious package ever – it’s £2bn.
“What we will do is create thousands of miles of protected cycle lanes – I really believe that protected cycle lanes are essential to give people the confidence people need, many people aren’t very brave or confident cyclists.”
Johnson has encouraged people to take steps to exercise and lose weight as part of the national fight against the coronavirus.
Department for Transport figures show a surge in cycling amid the coronavirus outbreak as the lockdown came into effect.
Cycling was at 146% of pre-lockdown levels on 20 July.