Wednesday, April 17, 2024

‘The demand was there’: Hillside Shopping Centre to open free bike valet this week


Cyclists can now shop without worrying if their bike will be stolen or tampered with at Hillside Shopping Centre. 

On Friday, April 6th, the mall will unveil its brand new, free bike valet service in collaboration with Capital Bike, which will be open for the public to leave their bikes safe and secured. 

They are opening this service because of a high demand for bike parking at the mall, as well as the increasingly high value of bikes and accessories. 

“[Bike theft] hasn’t been so worrisome for us, but what really sort of propelled us to go forward with this is the value of peoples’ bikes now,” said Michele Paget, Marketing Manager for Hillside Shopping Centre.

“People put a lot of money into their bikes, with COVID, especially with these trailer hitches families have — they’re very expensive.”

“A lot of people aren’t comfortable leaving their bike, period, anywhere, because of the value. That was really what spurred us on.”

The bike valet won’t just be for bicycles, it will also welcome strollers, scooters, and other forms of active transportation.

Paget told Victoria Buzz her and her colleagues were inspired by the City of Victoria’s bike valet and had their own rendition in the works, due to the high demand, just before the city announced they’d be reopening this year. 

“The demand was there,” said Paget. “We were getting lots of emails from customers asking for more bike racks.”

“We were thinking about doing something quite some time ago.”

It will be conveniently located on the Hillside Avenue side of the building, just across from the main food court entrance in the parking lot. 

The bike valet will take up about four parking spaces from vehicles, but it will provide space for around 35 to 40 cyclists to park their rides.

“It’ll run a bit like the coat and parcel check, so when you bring your bike up, you will be given a ticket and the other ticket remains with us,” Paget told Victoria Buzz. 

“You can also leave your helmet, your pannier, any other items that are securely attached to your bike.”

For the first few weeks, the service will operate between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays with hours expected to be extended as the weather in Victoria warms up heading into May. 

The bike valet is just a pilot project, so Hillside is just testing the waters this spring to see how the people of Greater Victoria respond, but for now they plan on running the service right up until September 30th.

The launch day of the bike valet will be a special event and will also be a call to action for people to donate to a fundraiser for Riley Pelkey, a 10-year-old boy who was severely burned in a gasoline explosion in Central Saanich. 

Donations can be made onsite at Hillside Shopping Centre this Thursday, April 6th. 

Curtis Blandy

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