Electric bikes improve peninsula access

Jo Severinsen and Jack Fraser test out the new hire bikes at Glenfalloch. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Jo Severinsen and Jack Fraser test out the new hire bikes at Glenfalloch. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Green electric bikes at Glenfalloch Woodland Garden will allow visitors to glide around Otago Peninsula with ease, Otago Peninsula Trust representatives say.

Inspired by a trust member's trip to Europe, the trust bought 12 electric bikes for hire in the hope to open the peninsula to people of all abilities, trust manager Jo Severinsen said.

''The Otago Peninsula is rated by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 destinations in the world - the bikes are a great way to improve accessibility so more people can explore the area.''

In 2012 Otago Peninsula was rated No 5 among the top 10 places in the world for bird-watching by the Lonely Planet tour guide, as well as No 8 among the top 10 cycle routes in the world. Ms Severinsen said a keen visitor could easily bike as far as Taiaroa Head at the end of the peninsula, the site of the only mainland royal albatross colony in the world.

The bikes are push pedal but have electric motors on the front wheel which, once switched on, allow the user to travel the peninsula with minimal effort.

The Otago Peninsula Trust had a soft launch on Wednesday for members to try out the new bikes, and feedback from the event had been very positive, Ms Severinsen said.

Unfortunately, the wild weather in Dunedin in the past couple of weeks has meant the bikes have spent more time inside than out, but Glenfalloch garden manager Alan Funnell said he expected the venture to build momentum soon.

''It's early days yet, but I think we will see them grow in popularity once the weather settles.''

The bikes were only stage one of a bigger project, Ms Severinsen said, and the trust hoped to expand upon the initiative.

''We're looking at a Glenfalloch green initiative at the moment, starting with the green bikes, but we want to look at expanding the project with charging stations in town.''

The bikes can be hired at Glenfalloch for $45 a day, or $30 for a half-day.

- Liam MacAndrew. 

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