As the economic black dog of Covid-19 keeps nipping at the wheels of Green Bikes Palmerston North owner Peter Cooke is determined to keep the operation clicking over.
He says times are tough due to the lack of international students and overseas visitors.
The hireage side of the business is down 80 per cent from pre-Covid days when he would rent bikes to European and American students.
Cooke purchased the business in 2019 from the Green Bike Trust after there was talk it would otherwise close as it was struggling to find funding.
Cooke says he is running Green Bikes in a similar way to the trust with a focus on environmental good.
He receives donations of used bikes on a weekly basis that he will give a new lease of life to and sell if he can, thereby keeping them out of the landfill.
Cooke considers it a charity-minded business. His weekly revenue target is $500, something that is sustainable only because he has low living costs and doesn't pay commercial rent.
Normally he would be busy hiring bikes to international students as semester two starts, somewhat offsetting the slowing down of sales due to the cold weather.
He is selling some of the rental fleet and is confident he can keep the business going. He also does repairs and sells through Trade Me.
Cooke takes on volunteers, particularly those who might need a bit of direction in life or are unsure what career to get into. Honesty is the main requirement.
He currently has two volunteers, one a school boy and one a member of Menzshed Manawatū.
Cooke says he has often needed help in the past and enjoys helping others. He is particularly keen for a volunteer to do administration and marketing or even build a website.
Cooke worked for the trust for a year in 2007-08 when it was at the former boiler room building at Massey University and received training from a qualified bike mechanic. After being laid off, he continued to develop his bike mechanic skills at his home workshop. He returned to the trust in 2014, firstly as a volunteer then as manager.
Cooke says the trust opened in 1996 in Waldegrave St.
Greens Bikes is behind Square Edge Arts Centre (walk through the building) or you can get to it via Jersey Lane (off Fitzherbert Ave). It is open Mondays 10am-12pm and Tuesdays to Fridays 8.30am-4.30pm.