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Rack 'em up

Thursday, 2nd June, 2011

Not long ago it looked like the bike rack might follow the horse trough into oblivion. But the rack’s on the comeback. City Council is keen to hear who wants bike racks and where. Cafe owner Wayne Walker was quick to say the Town Square needed one. Not long ago it looked like the bike rack might follow the horse trough into oblivion. But the rack’s on the comeback. City Council is keen to hear who wants bike racks and where. Cafe owner Wayne Walker was quick to say the Town Square needed one.

by Craig Brealey

Not long ago it looked like the bike rack might follow the horse trough into oblivion. But now the rack's on the comeback.

Bike racks were once a common sight outside shops in the city. 

Delis and milkbars in particular had them for the convenience of their customers but further back in time when there were more bicycles than cars, they could be found just about anywhere that people gathered.

Bike riding has been growing in popularity for years in big cities throughout the world, and here more locals can now be seen taking the treadlie out for a Sunday ride.

A couple of years ago City Council laid a bike track around Sturt Park for children and families to enjoy and now it is asking business owners if they would like to have a bike rack out the front of their shops.

Council's General Manager, Frank Zaknich, said the call was to gauge if more bike racks were needed and where would be the best place to put them. 

"With an increasing emphasis on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, personal safety and protection of property, Council regards this as an important conversation that should be promoted," Mr Zaknich said. 

"There are any number of alternatives for bike racks. Many communities now design bike racks as street art, employers provide them to promote employee fitness, and they are often used as an alternative mode of transport that leaves a positive ecological footprint." 

Yesterday the BDT asked a few people what they thought of the idea. 

A member of the Mountain Bike Club said they meet in the Town Square every Sunday before going for a ride and they would welcome proper parking for their bikes.

"We just lean them up against the trees and seats," said the veteran member who did not wish to be named.

He said the club had about 50 members with 30-odd competing on race days.

Another club of social cyclists also meets in town by the Civic Centre and often join the mountain bikers in the town square where Wayne Walker has a cafe, "Charlotte's"

Mr Walker said that as well the clubs just mentioned, the town square was frequented by staff from the hospital which keeps a couple of dozen bikes for them. 

"They have to lean their bikes against the posts. I think bikes racks would be a real bonus for the town square," he said.

"There's nothing better on a Sunday than to go for a ride, pick up the papers and have a cup of coffee."

George Attard, who owns "The Old Bike Shop", said people often took up bicycling because it was cheaper than driving a car.

"It's the fuel prices, but when you start riding you find its an enjoyable thing to do," Mr Attard said.

"There would be about 500 bikes in town, and in the school holidays it really is excellent with the number of tourists who hire bikes."

He said there were a few obvious spot for bike racks.

"The post office needs them, the food shops, and that's just around the city centre itself.

"They would encourage more people to ride bikes."

Ricky Cooper, from "Town 'n' Country Bicycles", said he had to "fight like hell" to get a bike rack put outside his shop in 2002 and was pleased that Council was now taking the initiative.

"It's a good idea because the kids will just drop their bikes or scooters on the footpath.

"It would be ideal to have racks, plus there's less chance of your bike being stolen."

Mr Cooper said there were plenty of people riding bikes on weekends but far fewer riding to work as they do in the big cities where there are bike paths, or "bikeways".

If Council could build a few of these, then many more people would take up cycling, Mr Cooper said.

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