Hutt at Heart

‘Free Ride’ scheme launches in Naenae

A new fun community free bike sharing scheme, ‘Free Ride’ is coming to Naenae at the end of the month.

The first ten brightly branded Free Ride bikes will be available from special bike racks outside the Naenae Clubhouse and the Naenae Library for anyone to take and borrow, at no cost.

The idea behind the Free Ride scheme is for riders to bring a helmet, and borrow one of the bikes on offer to get around the city, returning the bike to the special bike rack when finished. The bikes are freely available so anyone can benefit from them, with this comes the community commitment to look after the bikes and when not in use have them available for the next rider. Each bike is geo-tracked so if is not returned to the rack it can be picked up and put back into circulation.

Free Ride is one of a range of cycling related initiatives led by the Hutt City Council with support from Healthy Families Hutt Valley to encourage cycling and active modes of transport.   If this pilot programme is successful, the next step will be to consider how it can be made sustainable.

Council is also considering how to incorporate increased cycling and pedestrian access as part of current work on a spatial plan for Naenae and to inform the design of the new Naenae Pool.

Lily Chalmers from the Naenae Clubhouse says “We saw the opportunity to get more people out and about cycling, so the Free Ride scheme is another way we can support them to do this. With the Beltway Cycleway under construction, providing bikes for people to use seemed a great next step.”

The Naenae Clubhouse started their cycling related initiatives with the Bike Box project in 2017. The container based bike shed located outside the Clubhouse is used to: store bikes from the community that have been recycled, host mechanic courses and support bike fix-ups and Bike Rodeos where people young and old can test out their cycling skills. Bikes that are fixed are then gifted to young people and families involved in the Clubhouse programme.

Naenae Clubhouse has become a local hub for cycling related initiatives and Healthy Families Hutt Valley is very happy to support their work.

Hayley Buchan, Healthy Families Hutt Valley manager says “We’re excited that more bikes will be freely available for anyone in the community to use. The Hutt Valley is perfect for getting around by bike and with the Beltway being ready next year, it will be even easier to get to all the places we want to go by bike.”

The official launch of the Free Ride scheme is being held on 30 October with fun for the whole family, including a Bike Rodeo, music and an opportunity to try out the Free Ride bikes.

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