Freshly-painted yellow bicycles are being parked around the Crookwell neighbourhood to encourage conversation and build support for the concept of the Goulburn to Crookwell Rail Trail.
Five bicycles have already been distributed by the Friends of the Goulburn Crookwell Rail Trail (GCRT) group, with another 12 on backorder.
Matthew Ford, a volunteer of both the Friends of the GCRT and the GCRT Committee said the bicycles were a conversation starter.
“The bikes look fantastic with a couple of different tones of fluoro paint and are jazzing up the streetscape with only positive comments that I have heard,” Mr Ford said.
“The yellow bikes symbolise a rebirth of cycling in a safe place and the creation of a new tourism industry,” he explained.
“We are taking bikes due for the scrap heap,” said Mr Ford.
“The first five were purchased for $20 from the Goulburn Men’s Shed… and turning them into bold and attractive symbols for another kind of recycling – the reuse of the dormant public asset, the current disused rail easement.”
He said the community has begun to openly discuss the economic benefits of tourists visiting the area to ride along the rail trail.
“Wherever rail trails have been introduced, ‘wallets on wheels’ have followed with a multitude of small business success stories following in their wake,” Mr Ford said.
“It represents incredibly good value for money to up-cycle.”
Both of the groups are confident the trail would be a destination for tourists and a boom for local industry.
“I recently drove six kilometres along the Diamond Road and driving very slowly due to lambing, I was struck by the beauty of the surrounding farm and natural heritage,” said Mr Ford.
“At about the pace of a pushbike, I could see how tourists could be enchanted by the experience.”
He added that while talk of travel might be surreal due to COVID-19, the project would be beneficial to commence soon.
“The business case for the GCRT is particularly good considering the growth in the local and NSW economy expected from across border visits from the ACT, and capturing Sydney cyclists travelling to Victoria to visit the extensive network of rail trails in that state,” he said.
The project has been put forward for two rounds of government funding, which combined would meet the cost of the project. The successful recipients will be announced later this year.
The funding would mainly be spent on resurfacing parts of the track, fencing and road-crossing signage.
“A lot of planning and detail is going into completely new fencing along both sides as well as comprehensive stock crossing, and any practical measure a farmer may need to keep stock and tourists safely distanced,” he said.
Further groups supporting the rail trail include the Goulburn Chamber of Commerce, the Goulburn Cycling Club, both the Goulburn Mulwaree and Lachlan Shire Council, Goulburn Rotary Club, and the staff and students at the Goulburn Police Academy.
The corridor identified for the Goulburn to Crookwell Rail Trail is 57 kilometres long and passes through eight stations.
Yellow bicycles were also displayed around Tumut, Batlow and Tumbarumba, to support the Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail.