Getting back on the bike

Getting back on the bike

By Meg Hill

Docklands social enterprise and bike shop Good Cycles has been busy reopening from a lockdown experience that’s pushed Melburnians closer to the cycling world.

More people are choosing to ride instead of taking public transport and the City of Melbourne has announced 40 kilometres of new bike lanes in the city, which includes new separated bikes lanes over Latrobe Street Bridge.

Good Cycles CEO Jaison Hoernel said the experience had changed operations in different ways.

“We shut for most of the month of April because there was no one around, but we reopened in May and it was actually quite surprising, we got quite a lot of people coming in to fix their bikes,” Mr Hoernel said.

“The bike hub went back to around 70 per cent of our original trade, which was good for us and surprising particularly because previously we relied a lot on people working in the area who aren’t there now.”

“I think there’s certainly more people from Docklands coming in, as well as some of the essential workers around, we get a lot of delivery drivers coming in.”

He said the wider shift to implement cycling as a social distancing safe measure of transport had been exciting.

“It’s really exciting that those bike lanes are going to be put in and like most organisations that are based on bikes, and for us as a social enterprise creating employment opportunities through our business it makes a big difference,” he said.

“It’s definitely a really positive move that’s going to be coming out of COVID that a lot of that infrastructure will be put in place a lot sooner.”

As a social enterprise, Good Cycles provides employment opportunities for disadvantaged and at-risk youth. Mr Hoernel said this aspect meant the COVID-19 crisis has added another layer of challenge and opportunity.

“The challenge is the level of at-risk young people that are unemployed and facing disadvantage, and the youth unemployment rate is at about 16.1 per cent which is only going to get higher when JobKeeper ends,” he said.

“For us that’s a really important thing we want to focus on, and we certainly see our business playing a role and expanding to create more unemployment.”

“The bike hub down at Docklands has been a great project for us. It really shows the value of a bike shop for a community and for young people and we’re excited for post-COVID operations and getting more people cycling.” •

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