Bike-share scheme wheels into Wollongong

Novotel general manager Walter Imoos on one of the new bikes. Picture: DAVE TEASE
Novotel general manager Walter Imoos on one of the new bikes. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Bike-share schemes have been a success in New York, Stockholm, Paris and Melbourne.

And now Wollongong is jumping on board the trend with the launch of its first bike-hire station.

A small bike-share station has been installed at Novotel Northbeach to entice tourists and residents to explore the city's 42 kilometres of cycleways and shared paths.

Hotel general manager Walter Immoos said he was inspired to install the hiring station when Wollongong City Council released its cycling guide last month.

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The guide highlights bike-friendly roads and pathways, from Helensburgh to Windang.

He said he hoped the bike scheme would entice people to explore Wollongong beaches, especially at times when swimming and sunbaking weren't a massive drawcard.

"This could be another option to get people to come here, and I think Wollongong is establishing itself on the world scale as a special city for bike races and other athletic events," he said.

"It's an alternative to other types of tourism and family-friendly offerings - and we want to get families and especially kids, to get involved in healthy activities."

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To hire a bicycle, people swipe a credit card to leave a deposit.

They can then decide whether to hire it for one or four hours, or a whole day.

Helmets are available inside the Novotel.

Mr Immoos had installed four bicycles to introduce the scheme. He planned to expand it if it proved successful.

He had also urged other organisations - such as the Chifley Hotel, WIN Entertainment Centre and Destination Wollongong - to install bike-share stations so bikes could be picked up and dropped off right across the city.

"If we were to have the same thing happening at the iHub, the WEC or even the train station, it would give people really good options for exploring all over Wollongong or even up to Austinmer," he said.

"The idea is to share the love and make it Illawarra-wide, because we've got such good bike tracks and the more there is, the better."