Brisbane City Cycle
They’re silver with a yellow tail and seen in growing numbers around the streets of Brisbane. Once an exotic species and thought to be on the brink of extinction, Brisbane’s CityCycle bicycles are pedaling their way to a new life. On a recent visit to this sub-tropical city, I enjoyed a winter weekend wheeling my way around Brisbane’s inner city sights using the city’s bike-share scheme.
Bike-sharing systems allow people to share public bicycles. At the time of writing, this mode of urban mobility is available in over 900 cities worldwide. Their successful use contributes to creating sustainable cities by providing residents and visitors a transport option with low environmental impact. The specific features of each bike-share system vary from city to city.
Known as CityCycle, Brisbane’s bike-share scheme has been reinvigorated to make access to public bicycles easy and affordable. As visitors to the city, we easily registered online for a Casual Pass, costing A$2 each and valid for 24 hours. The next step was to find a CityCycle bicycle station where the share bikes are docked. With 150 stations, this is easy. You’ll see the bicycle stations throughout the CBD, West End, Toowong and Newstead.
Because I like using technology, I downloaded the ‘All Bikes Now’ smartphone application which helped me locate the stations and told me how many bikes were available at each station. This was helpful because another revision to Brisbane’s CityCycle is that you can ride for thirty minutes, return the bike to any station, pick up another one and ride for another thirty minutes for no fee. The app allowed me to plan where we’d return our bikes.
The thirty-minute-free option works best if you want to ride from ‘a to b’, say from your CBD hotel over to Southbank, which is what we planned. However, if you want to stop along the way to take photos (like we did) or look out over Brisbane’s iconic river snaking its way towards Moreton Bay (like we did), then thirty minutes passes very quickly. We found ourselves rushing to dock the bikes within the free half hour. For future visits, I’d pay the extra AUD$2 fee so I can have up to sixty minutes to return the bike to a station.
If you’re a Brisbane local, CityCycle would be very useful for travelling to work, meetings, cafes, university and between workplaces. For access to this style of urban mobility (and healthy exercise), you’ll pay a monthly access fee of A$5. For students, the fee is A$3.
As cyclists in Australia are required by law to wear helmets, bike-share schemes must provide helmets. This fact has dampened the uptake of our bike-share schemes compared to other countries where helmets are optional. On our visit to Brisbane, we took our own helmets but at each station I noticed the bright yellow CityCycle helmets were readily available in the hire-bike baskets and ready for cycling.
On our winter weekend in Queensland’s capital, we rode through the leafy Botanical Gardens, across the Goodwill Bridge, along Southbank Parklands, and enjoyed a morning at the Queensland Art Gallery. Brisbane gave us its best blue sky, mild temperatures and gorgeous sunshine for free. CityCycle gave me transport and exercise for a very affordable two dollars.