Access Bikes FAQs for bike shops

Eileen Hamill's picture

Access Bikes FAQs for bike shops

Access Bikes is a new and innovative project from Cycling UK which aims to provide financial and practical support to help people overcome barriers to cycling. Funded by Transport Scotland and delivered in partnership with Scotwest and Capital credit unions, our aim is to work with 500 participants this year, providing no deposit interest free credit union loans of £500 to buy an adult bike and accessories for everyday journeys.

Access Bikes for bike shops

We will help people get the finance in place, but we need the support of our local bike shops to help more people get the bikes and equipment that they need to make more everyday journeys by bike. Please see below for everything your shop needs to know about Access Bikes.

Q. What is Access Bikes? 

A. Access Bikes is a scheme which offers an interest-free loan and tailored advice for buying a bike and accessories to use for everyday journeys. Access Bikes is a joint project between Cycling UK, Capital Credit Union and Scotwest Credit Union and is funded by Transport Scotland.

Q. How will I know that a customer is part of the Access Bikes scheme? 

A. The customer will provide the shop with the details of their credit union, confirmation that their loan has been approved and a unique Customer Reference Number. 

Q. What is the maximum budget for a bike? 

A. The maximum interest free loan available is £500 however participants can top up this loan if they would like to buy a more expensive bike and/or more equipment. 

Q. What kind of bike can a participant buy? 

A. We anticipate that Access Bikes will be used for everyday journeys and would expect that the bikes sold will reflect this. We would be looking for the bike shop to make suggestions to the participant based on the types of journeys that they will be doing and the specifics of the customer. Depending on the terrain covered, hybrids, road or off-road bikes could all be suitable, however, a BMX or downhill mountain bike more suited to leisure activities would not. 

Q. We also sell second-hand bikes; can a participant buy a second-hand bike? 

A. Yes, the funding can be used to purchase a reconditioned second-hand bike. £500 only goes so far when buying a new bike and equipment, so in some cases a reconditioned second-hand bike will be the best option for the customer. Customers will only be able to buy bikes from retailers or recyclers and will not be able to purchase bikes from websites such as Gumtree or eBay.

Q. Will the funding cover the cost of accessories? 

A. Yes, the funding can be used to buy necessary accessories such as a lock, lights, helmet, panniers and rack to help the participant prepare for everyday journeys or commuting. 

Q. Can the participant buy a bike for a child? 

A. No, because Access Bikes aims to encourage the use of the bicycle for everyday journeys, in order to reduce short car journeys, it is only open to people aged 18 and over. The participant can only use the funding to buy an adult bike for their own personal use. This will be made clear to participants at the time of application.

Q. How do we get paid? 

A. Once the customer has chosen the appropriate bike and accessories the bike shop will email an invoice, including bank details, to the appropriate credit union who will arrange a BACS transfer of funds. The transactions will be processed individually and there should be no delay in receiving the funds. 

Q. How many participants do you anticipate? 

A. In this first year we have funding for 500 Access Bike loans split evenly between two different credit unions – Capital Credit Union and Scotwest Credit Union.

Q. What areas are covered by Access Bikes? 

A. Capital Credit Union covers the East coast and Scotwest the West. The local authorities covered by the project in the pilot year are: 

Capital Credit Union 

  • Angus 
  • City of Dundee
  • City of Edinburgh
  • Clackmannanshire
  • East Lothian
  • Falkirk
  • Fife
  • Midlothian
  • Scottish Borders 
  • West Lothian 


  • Argyll and Bute
  • City of Glasgow 
  • East Ayrshire
  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Inverclyde 
  • North Ayrshire
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Renfrewshire 
  • South Ayrshire
  • South Lanarkshire 
  • West Dunbartonshire

Between the two credit unions, around 80% of the Scottish population will be eligible to apply for an Access Bikes loan in our first year. It is our intention to increase this coverage in future years.

Q. My shop is not in one of the listed local authorities; can we get involved? 

A. Yes, it could still be possible that you could get involved in the Access Bikes scheme. As well as geographical areas the credit unions also work with a large list of employers. A customer may not live in one of the geographical areas but could still be eligible for the scheme if they work for a company on the credit union list. Young Scot card holders over the age of 18 and members of Community Trade Union are also eligible.

Q. Can my customers apply for Access Bikes funding?

A. Yes, if you know people who would benefit from the scheme please signpost them to our website for more information and they can register their interest there. 

Q. We also have an online shop; can customers also use Access Bikes loans to buy bikes online?

A. No, at the moment Access Bikes loans can only be used for in-store purchases.

Q. My question isn’t answered here, who do I contact for more information?

A. Please contact Eileen Hamill at or call 07920711052.

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