Brisbane is a great city to visit and tour on a bicycle both around the city and in the surround areas, including wetlands like Boondall, Breaches such as Redcliffe and Islands like North Stradbroke. If you are visiting or don't own a bicycle, then here are some options for hiring 2 wheels when you need them.
Supposedly the easiest way to get on a bicycle within the city and inner suburbs is to jump on a CityCycle bicycle. While similar programs have been highly successful around the world the uptake has been disappointing.
Courtesy of Brisbane City Council
There are 150 stations around Brisbane and the first 30 minutes of a trip is free, so if you wanted to pop around various places in Brisbane, then it is a cheap and healthy way to get around. Most stations have bicycles available, though occasionally I go past a station which is empty. Some users have reported arriving at their destination only to find it full of bicycles, so they have to ride on to other parking stations.
The bicycles themselves are not exactly sporty and so are most suited to slow casual riding along flat paths around the city.
Other problems include having to be a subscriber and pay a subscription charge. There are casual subscriptions for visitors to Brisbane, but you have to register in advance online. It means you can't just decide on the spur of the moment to jump on a bicycle and ride. Also if you wanted to take a bicycle for the whole day without returning it until the end of the day, it would cost you $77, not exactly competitive pricing.
Courtesy of Brisbane City Council
The biggest hassle is Australia's bicycle helmet laws. While there are some helmets available, you really have to bring your own as not every bicycle comes with a helmet and people often steal the helmets.
Overall this service attracts a dedicated clientele and some visitors give the bicycles a go to get around Brisbane. The hassles and limitations keep people away from this service.
It is pretty easy to hire bicycles with prices starting from $25 for a day (8 hours) with many bicycle hire companies willing to drop off and pick up the bicycles to you.
One the best places for hiring a bicycle is of course right where you plan to ride it. The Gold Coast has many places near the beach where you can hire a bicycle but in the Brisbane area the options are more limited.
Courtesy of Coochie Boat Hire
One of the best options is the Moreton Bay Bike Hire, right on the beach at Redcliffe. From there you either cycle up to Scarborough or down as far as Woody Point and even over the bridge to Brighton and Sandgate. Unfortunately it is only open on weekends and public holidays. Sandgate also has nearby bicycle hire, includinjg Hoffy Cycles.
If you head out to the Islands such as North Stradbroke at Straddie Super Sports in Dunwich or Fishes Cafe at Point lookout. On Coochiemudlo island Coochie Boat Hire also hires out a range of bicycles.
Get an electric bicycle
An alternative to standard bicycles are electric bikes. These are great for easy touring and tackling hills. You pedal them like a normal bicycle and the electric motor provides you with a boost up to 25 km an hour. You can obviously go faster under your own pedal power.
While for most journeys around Brisbane I would stick to an ordinary bicycle, an electric bike is great for older or less fit people, longer journeys and taking on hills. My friend recently took his electric up Mt Coot-tha, something you would want to be fit to do on an ordinary bicycle.
Electric Bikes Brisbane hires eBikes for $60 for a 24 hour period and they will drop off and pick up from your location, though they are located out at Enoggera not far from the start of the Kedron Brook Cycleway: one of the best cycle journeys in Brisbane that takes you up to Nudgee Beach, Boondall Wetlands and Sandgate.
Just buy one
You can pick up a new bike from places like K-Mart and Big W for $100 or a better quality second hand bicycle for much less.