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Pushing pedal power

WHEN it comes to bikes, Glen Parker knows his stuff, having spent more than 40 years in the bicycle industry, the past five as operator of the Rottnest Island Bike Hire business.

Late last year, Mr Parker travelled through the United States, seeking heavy-duty bicycles that could handle the rough treatment dished out by travellers to Rottnest.

Operating a fleet of around 2,000 bicycles on the island was proving costly, as the bikes often had to be replaced after only a few months’ use.

However, during his trip Mr Parker secured the Australian sales rights for heavy-duty bicycles, tricycles, tandems and transporter bikes manufactured by the New York-based Worksman Trading Corp.

Having recently lost the tender to continue operating the Rottnest business, Mr Parker has devoted his attention to his new role as distributor of the bikes through his business, Work Bikes Australia Pty Ltd.

Mr Parker believes there is strong scope for productivity and environmental gains for companies that have turned to bikes as a mode of transport. US companies such as Boeing and Ford already have embraced the new transport method for use in their factories, and Mr Parker has banked on the same trend working here.

“We are really focusing on two different sectors. Industrial heavy-duty bikes can be used at airports, large hotels or mining sites. Anywhere there is large areas to cover,” Mr Parker said.

Some miners, such as the Kimberley Diamond Company, have started making use of bikes around their mine operations.

Perth Zoo last week placed an order with Work Bikes Australiab for a number of bikes to be used by staff for transporting food to the enclosures.

“The other type of bikes, such as the tandems or tricycles, are suitable for hire companies or at holiday resorts,” Mr Parker said.

He said the benefits for businesses went beyond simple energy and labour efficiency gains. It also promoted an environmentally safe and pleasant workplace without fumes and would increase worker moral, Mr Parker said.

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