Burleigh businessman beats council’s bike race

Written on the 20 November 2009

In the latest twist to Mayor Ron Clarke’s bicycle hire scheme, a private company is already operating more than 250 ‘hire bikes’ from Paradise Point to Coolangatta.

Burleigh-based company Get On Your Bike operates a bicycle hire model where participating venues along the coast host the bikes for 40 per cent of the profits.

Get On Your Bike has already signed up 35 establishments to the program including Surfers’ Mantra Wings, Diamond Sands Resort at Mermaid Beach and Kirra Surf Apartments.

General manager Travis Latter is adding 12-15 new participants each day and the business is forecasting more than $1 million in revenue in its first full operating year.

“It’s been widely appreciated because it’s very low risk for the businesses to partake in,” he says.

“In only 10 weeks we have implemented a lot and we are on track to have 1000 bikes by June next year and 2000 bikes the following year.”

Clarke has been slowly progressing his plans for a self-service bicycle system on the Gold Coast for almost a year, with $1.4 million of Federal Government funding already used to upgrade bikeways.

Although it is undecided if council will provide its own completely automated and low-cost bicycle hire system, Latter says he will ‘most definitely’ be vying for a council contract.

“I have had meetings with some councillors and the general attitude is ‘if you’re already doing it why are we going to do it’,” he says.

“We have already got more bikes than the council needs for their first roll out.”

Latter says the bicycles themselves, single speed ‘beach cruisers’, are perfect for the Gold Coast’s 600km of bikeways and are easy and cost effective to maintain.

“One bike technician can service 280 bikes a month so the business is not extremely labour intensive now it’s up and running,” he says.

“Our head office is at Burleigh but we don’t need a big warehouse as all our bikes are out in other venues all along the coast.

“Basically we only need each bike hired once a week for it to be fully sustainable.”

Get On Your Bike is working in other bicycle-related initiatives with council and will also launch bicycle tours from designated locations across the Coast as well as a bicycle education program which St Vincents and Guardian Angel primary schools have signed up for.
Clarke told Gold Coast Business News that Latter’s bicycle network will be looked at as a possible alternative when the initiative goes to council before the end of the year.

He did however express doubt as to whether Latter’s system would be as convenient as the council’s proposal as riders could have difficulty finding the establishments to drop off the bikes.

“There is a huge difference between that (Get On Your Bike) and an automated system seen in Melbourne and all around the world,” he says.

“It’s important we do something and whether that system is most appropriate will be up to council. It could well be, or it could go out to tender.”


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