Bikes mean business for Steadyrack
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What started as a solution to overcrowding in his garage has turned into a major international business opportunity for Perth-based Steadyrack and its chief executive, David Steadman.
Steadyrack sales have grown significantly since 2015, in tandem with increasing popularity of pedal power in Perth, while the US and Europe presents major ongoing possibilities.
Having sold hundreds of thousands of bike racks since 2010 to clients including BHP Billiton, AMP, and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Mr Steadman said he had an ambition to grow sales to about 500,000 racks a year, within three years.
"I'm a builder, I'm also an avid cyclist and surfer, but essentially, when we first started this project my kids were riding bikes and so was my wife and I couldn't get my car in the garage," Mr Steadman told Business News.
Steadyrack units are priced at about $80 and feature a patented design, allowing the arm of the product to be pulled down before pushing the bike into the wall-mountable vertical rack, with no lifting required.
"We do some installations here (in WA) locally because it's a good testing ground for us, but our primary business is manufacturing and selling Steadyracks," Mr Steadman said.
Following the installation of about 300 units in each tower at Brookfield Place and a number of spaces around the CBD, Woodside has committed to having more than 600 Steadyracks installed in its new 32-storey office complex.
The (Capital Square) complex is due for completion this year.
"In terms of commercial fitouts it's probably around 50 (racks) average; 600 is definitely a big job for Australia," Mr Steadman said.
Perth was Steadyrack's strongest market in terms of brand awareness, he said, while the US was its largest regarding sales volume and Europe was showing potential as an emerging market.
"I've just been approached by an architect in Berlin last week who's designing an apartment (building)," Mr Steadman said.
"The latest craze in Europe is small living, compact living, so they're putting between 1,000 and 1,500 Steadyracks in for this project; that's a breakthrough project for us in Europe.
He said the global shift to cycling could be attributed to growing populations and a change in attitudes towards healthier, sustainable living.
"Around the world, planners and businesses are looking for solutions for mobility, and all of the major car brands are developing a form of bicycle," Mr Steadman said.
"Ford has one, GM has one through Vauxhall in the UK; they're all working on e-bike designs because car manufacturers are now all talking about being in the mobility business."
Despite large corporates such as Woodside advocating and facilitating bike use in Perth, Mr Steadman said the city had work to do on its bike routes, with cycling body WestCycle reporting growth in cycling participation of 46 per cent between 2013 and 2015.
"I don't think they (the state government) need to build something to separate cars and bikes; ultimately that is the best solution, but there's a massive cost to that," he said.
As an avid cyclist, Mr Steadman said he had put a proposal to the state government suggesting more separation could be made between bike roads and car-only roads, with designated car-only roads and bike-priority roads.
"That would be a low-cost way to create some separation," he said.
City of Perth councillor Steve Hasluck said a council meeting would be held this week to address improving end-of-trip facilities around Perth, including the installation of bike racks, to make city-cycling easier.
Mr Haskluck said he wanted to encourage 'greener' ways of living and respond to requests that he had heard about the need for better bike-oriented infrastructure.
According to a City of Perth Spokesman, a new off-road cycle path on Wellington Street has already been opened, while the on-street cycling lane on Barrack Street was hosting a growing volume of cyclists.
"The city has already introduced major cycling infrastructure changes, including innovative concepts such as 'head start boxes', 'head start signals' and cycling lanterns at traffic lights.
"In the coming years, the city will be improving cycling infrastructure as part of major projects such as Roe Street Enhancement, Hill Street two-way and Milligan Street Cycle lanes," the spokesman said.
The state government has forecast $129 million will be spent on building at least 95 kilometres of new cycling paths over the next four years, according to the 2017-18 state budget.