A wheelie good place for old bike lovers is hidden in central Palmerston North

Green Bikes general manager Peter Cooke likes giving old bicycles a new lease of life.

Green Bikes general manager Peter Cooke likes giving old bicycles a new lease of life.

Grease is the word. Reporter Miri Schroeter talks to the man behind fixing secondhand rental bikes in Palmerston North.

The key to a good bike isn't necessarily buying new, says Green Bikes general manager Peter Cooke.

Age is just a number, quality is permanent - or at least a quick fix away from a second life. 

Cooke spends his days at The Green Hub, behind Square Edge in the central city, where a little bit of grease and grime is just part of the job.

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Bikes shape his lifestyle. He rides to work most days on one of four bikes he owns.

"I just like fixing bikes and I do similar things at home."

He gives free advice to people about all things two-wheeled,  from a 1950s Phillips sitting in the store on Tuesday, to a newer Avanti bike.

Green Bikes has a collection of old parts so Cooke is able to repair vintage bicycles donated to the shop. About seven come in each week. 

"Many people are buying new but budget bikes. The older ones are better quality."

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People often struggled to afford a good quality, new bike, but that's where Green Bikes came in handy as it had such variety, Cooke said. There were options to buy or rent for everyone. 

He enjoyed helping people get around the city in an affordable and environmentally-friendly way. 

Green Bikes wasn't always about hiring and selling bikes. It started off with a free-for-all approach about 20 years ago.

People could grab a bike from around the city, cycle to their destination and leave it for the next person. Occasionally a bike would end up in the bush or river. 

Green Hub manager Yvonne Marsh said when helmets became compulsory, that system stopped working. Now the focus was on offering long-term rentals. 

Cooke said about 90 per cent of rental bikes went to students but there were also tourists that would ride around the city for a day. 

Palmerston North was a flat city with scenic river routes, which made cycling a great way to see Manawatū, he said. 








 - Stuff


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