Interesting bicycle schemes and product popping up around the globe, including an Australian-first in Queensland.

As traffic congestion reaches crisis point in cities around the world, companies large and small are responding with some interesting solutions to help get cars off the road. Springwise business ideas newsletter reported recently on some innovative bicycle schemes and products popping up around the globe, including an Australian-first in Queensland.

In Brisbane, Queensland transport and Brisbane City Council have jointly funded Cycle2City, which claims to be the first full-service facility for bicycle commuters in Australia.

The service gives cyclists a place to store their bikes and change into business attire. Since opening last June, Cycle2City has signed up 400 members who have access to secure bike parking, airconditioned locker rooms, showers, laundry service and free bike maintenance classes at the in-house maintenance and repair workshop.

Members are encouraged to commit to using the facilities five days a week (at $120.00 for one month or $660.00 for six months), but three-day-per-week “permanent casual” memberships and daily use options are also available.

Another innovative idea from the UK is Gocycle, a new lightweight electric bicycle targeting would-be bicycle commuters who are put off by the thought of turning up to work in need of a shower.

Designed by the former Formula 1 engineer Richard Thorpe, the bike is made from injection-molded, lightweight magnesium alloy. Its chain is completely encased—so no grease on trousers—and disassembles into a soft bag or white hard case for portability and easy storage.

But its most innovative feature is the micro-sized electric motor in its front wheel hub, which switches on with the push of a button and has an in-frame battery pack which holds 20 minutes worth of power.

Also in the UK, supermarket chain Waitrose has launched a series of new green initiatives that include eco-handcarts and bicycles for use delivering groceries to local consumers.

Waitrose branches in Lichfield, Parkstone and Droitwich have also introduced eco-bicycles, electric bikes with a maximum distance charge of 30 miles, for delivery to customers who live within 15 miles of the store.

The company also has bike trailers for free loan at 36 of its stores.

– by Lynne Blundell

lblundell@thefifthestate.com.au