'Fix your bike' website crashes as scheme launches in England
A website offering £50 bike repair vouchers in England crashed after the government scheme launched on Tuesday.
An initial 50,000 "Fix Your Bike" vouchers were due to be made available online at 23:45 BST on a first-come, first-served basis.
However, many people complained they received an error message when they tried to access the website.
It was back up just before 04:00 BST but was later paused and by 09:00 BST vouchers were no longer available.
"Vouchers are being released gradually to reflect the capacity of the bike repairers signed up to the scheme," the page said, adding that more vouchers will be made available "as soon as possible".
Earlier on Wednesday the website had been "temporarily paused due to extreme volumes of traffic".
Some cyclists have tweeted pictures showing they had been successful in getting a voucher, although others said they continued to see error messages.
The government has said the vouchers, which are part of its obesity strategy, were being released in batches "to help manage capacity" so that the scheme promoted by the Department for Transport can be monitored before being rolled out more widely.
Sarah Talbot tweeted that the site had crashed at 23:45 and after "repeated attempts to get on it's now coming up HTTP Error 404". She added that it was "very disappointing".
Aaron Bailey wrote on Twitter that the page had been offline since it was supposed to launch, describing the scheme as a "good idea but poorly executed".
Another social media user, Tom Dale, joked that "cyclists finally know how it feels to be held up by too much traffic".
The initiative is part of the government's obesity strategy which was announced on Monday amid growing evidence of a link between obesity and an increased risk from Covid-19.
The vouchers would typically cover the bill for a standard service and the replacement of a basic component such as an inner tube or cable.
Thousands of miles of new protected cycle lanes, cycle training for children and adults, and access to bikes through the NHS are also part of the government plans to promote cycling.