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Old 01-19-06, 08:24 PM   #1
wirebabe
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bike rack design ideas?

I'm a bicyclist who is also an artist, and I've been commissioned to create bike racks for a new mixed-use development in Seattle. I'm tired of the lack of interesting and useful rack designs out there, and would like to generate any comments about necessary or useful parameters from all you rack users, and from guerrilla bikers who lock to alternative sites that work well.

F.Y.I.: These will necessarily be racks to hold just two bikes at a time, but there will be multiples of them.

Thanks!
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Old 01-19-06, 08:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirebabe
I'm a bicyclist who is also an artist, and I've been commissioned to create bike racks for a new mixed-use development in Seattle. I'm tired of the lack of interesting and useful rack designs out there, and would like to generate any comments about necessary or useful parameters from all you rack users, and from guerrilla bikers who lock to alternative sites that work well.

F.Y.I.: These will necessarily be racks to hold just two bikes at a time, but there will be multiples of them.

Thanks!
While doing research on something else, I started this list. Might generate some ideas.















Boxes








This one uses Pittsburgh's 3 rivers as a design element:



http://www.wweek.com/html/bop99-arts.html

I thought that big chain, strung between posts would make a great rack.

Last edited by slagjumper; 01-19-06 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 01-19-06, 09:34 PM   #3
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I find nothing works better than a plain pole, as long as it has something to keep the bike from being slid over the top. Bikes vary a lot in their dimensions, and I find with the other designs you invariably run into bikes that just don't fit,
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Old 01-19-06, 09:53 PM   #4
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Racks should be made so that the bike easily locks to the rack. The cyclist should not have to study the design to figure out how to lock the bike to it. And it should hold the bike UP, if the bikes need kick stands to keep from falling, redesign the stand.
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Old 01-19-06, 11:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCCommuter
I find nothing works better than a plain pole, as long as it has something to keep the bike from being slid over the top. Bikes vary a lot in their dimensions, and I find with the other designs you invariably run into bikes that just don't fit,
Luckily I don't need to lock to this very sturdy bike rack at work.
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Old 01-20-06, 08:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wirebabe
I'm a bicyclist who is also an artist, and I've been commissioned to create bike racks for a new mixed-use development in Seattle. I'm tired of the lack of interesting and useful rack designs out there, and would like to generate any comments about necessary or useful parameters from all you rack users, and from guerrilla bikers who lock to alternative sites that work well.

F.Y.I.: These will necessarily be racks to hold just two bikes at a time, but there will be multiples of them.

Thanks!


http://www.nkcdc.org/artracks.htm
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Old 01-20-06, 10:05 AM   #7
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These racks are the ones used at my work place.

Major benefits: Multiple places to secure the bike; the bike rolls into a slot; the loop supports the bike while I remove panniers; it is clear and understandable how to fit multiple bikes into it.

Drawbacks: Takes up a largish footprint; putting multiple racks in rows would be a problem; boring.

One suggestion I have: start with functional, and then make it interesting.

Here are some examples from the Tempe area: http://www.dero.com/funky.html
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Old 01-20-06, 10:31 AM   #8
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Criteria of a good rack:

- requires a lot of effort to cut/pull from the ground/damage
- Uses no bolts that can be undone to compromise the integrity of the rack
- cutting one or two segments should not expose all the bikes on a rack to theft
- should keep the bike upright
- should not damage the paint or contact any moving parts (derailleur, for example)
- should not allow bikes to become entangled with each other (ie. adequate separation)
- should accomodate bikes with wide tire widths
- should allow the use of cable and U-locks

As long as a rack meets these criteria, you can make it as fancy as you like...
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Old 01-20-06, 11:49 AM   #9
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It's rare for me to find a rack that offers any kind of security, if I find one at all. So I'll usually lock to any solidly rooted vertical structure I find by sliding a u-lock or heavy chain around it and around the stays and rear rim. A heavy cable then goes through the frame and front wheel.
If a punk wants my ride, they're gonna -work- for it.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:15 PM   #10
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I don't like any rack as they are too exposed and inviting theaf.

The best rack is a bike locker. Some of current lockers are about 6 inches too short and lights have to be removed to use them. Remember there also may be a few that want to lock recumbents or other "strange" bikes.

Ideal locker would also have a hard lock receiver that would accept say a forgetaboutit lock. That way someone could use a locker or normal locking positions with their forgetaboutit lock.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:55 PM   #11
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Please, whatever you do, don't authorize a bike rack that you haven't tried using -- COMPLETELY! That means tying it up securely using heavy duty cables and mini-locks available from any bike store.

My blood pressure goes up a little whenever I visit one of our brand-new neighborhood libraries. Supposedly a "high-power" architect was paid big bucks to design the building. But his idea for a bike rack is a SLOT in the ground with a round ring next to it for a lock up. The slots collect rain water and crud, and if you try to park an adult bike in one you are likely to get your tires bent. Only thin, useless chains can possibly make it through the ring. Grrrr.

Another common design that has a major flaw are these racks that are waved like a series of "U"s next to each other (same as the one labeled "Bike Racks" in your photos). The rack would be fine, EXCEPT that everywhere its stationed 18 inches from a wall, making it impossible to put your back tire through the rack. Grrrr.

I agree that the best rack is a post (like a parking meter) with a large top so nothing can slip over the top. At first this doesn't seem very creative, but you can make the top look like anything: Giant lollipop, Carousel horse head, Spirally loops, bust of Alfred E. Neuman, etc.

The lockers are cool in concept, but at least where I live you have to register to get permission, get a key, etc. Without this beaurocracy, there are people who would use the lockers for permanent storage of all sorts of thinks -- not necessarily bikes. So it works best in situations where the same people are going to be showing up every day.

Anyway, why does everyone have to be cutesy with bike racks? Can't we just get one good standard emplacement that works well everywhere? Nobody tries to get cutesy with parking stalls for SUVs. (actually, has anyone else noticed that as cars have gotten bigger, parking garage designers, apparently in 1970s time warp, are making more and more "compact" spots?).

Last edited by MarkS; 01-20-06 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 01-20-06, 06:26 PM   #12
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Someone once posted this pdf on bike rack recomendations.

http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/pdf/bikepark.pdf

What ever you do, please don't place them flush with a building wall. Also, simpler is easier for maintence people to keep clean over time. Everything looks good when new. But 5 years from now, some designs become a tangled mess.

Anyway, I'd like to see the design you finally come up with.
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Old 01-20-06, 06:44 PM   #13
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Oophs, it appears Mark has encountered the same problem with the worm/wave rack. Except I've seen it placed 3 or 4 inches away from the wall.
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Old 01-20-06, 08:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff-o
Criteria of a good rack:

- requires a lot of effort to cut/pull from the ground/damage
- Uses no bolts that can be undone to compromise the integrity of the rack
- cutting one or two segments should not expose all the bikes on a rack to theft
- should keep the bike upright
- should not damage the paint or contact any moving parts (derailleur, for example)
- should not allow bikes to become entangled with each other (ie. adequate separation)
- should accomodate bikes with wide tire widths
- should allow the use of cable and U-locks

As long as a rack meets these criteria, you can make it as fancy as you like...

Let me add one more tidbit... should not be a wheel rack... they are hard to lock to, and may cause damage to wheels.

This pic is an example of what NOT to do.
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Old 01-20-06, 10:21 PM   #15
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In reality, I'd rather lock my bike up to a natural gas line than a bike rack. No thief is gonna try to cut through the pipes to get to my bike!!
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Old 01-20-06, 10:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slagjumper
Blessed is the post and ring.
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Old 01-24-06, 12:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unkchunk
Someone once posted this pdf on bike rack recomendations.

http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/pdf/bikepark.pdf

What ever you do, please don't place them flush with a building wall. Also, simpler is easier for maintence people to keep clean over time. Everything looks good when new. But 5 years from now, some designs become a tangled mess.

Anyway, I'd like to see the design you finally come up with.
Thanks -- I have that pdf too. The Spot Bike program in Seattle installs racks in places that make sense from a civic point of view as well as with the users in mind. They have good people who work with the Bicycle Alliance and know what they are doing.

I'll post the design when it is a go-ahead. Thanks for your input.
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Old 01-24-06, 01:16 AM   #18
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I absolutely HATE this style of bike rack:



I like the simple "A"-style racks we have here in Seattle. They keep bikes upright, take up minimal space, and you can fit up to 4 individually locked bikes on one, which is all the capacity that's needed most places. They're not fancy, but they work.

I would rather lock to a stop sign than one of those stupid "wave" racks.
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Old 01-24-06, 03:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Let me add one more tidbit... should not be a wheel rack... they are hard to lock to, and may cause damage to wheels. . . .
genec is right, the the rack should use the bike's frame, not the wheel, to support the bike. The wheel racks are real handy for people who want to vandalize a bike.

Also, think about location. The racks should be visible enough to deter theft, but far enough away from regular foot traffic so that vandals have to go out of their way to get to the bikes.

Finally, if the storage is for the same people every day (like commuters) consider rental bike lockers. They have to have contracts with individual people because if you don't, the lockers become used as storage, homeless shelters, or a place for prostitutes to do tricks.
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Old 01-24-06, 03:37 AM   #20
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I hate, hate, hate wheel racks. Ironically, my bank uses them and I had to use the ATM machine when depositing. High security my ass.
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Old 01-24-06, 03:57 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicbicyclist
I hate, hate, hate wheel racks. Ironically, my bank uses them and I had to use the ATM machine when depositing. High security my ass.
I'd attach my bike to pretty much anything to avoid using a wheel rack.
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Old 01-24-06, 09:51 AM   #22
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I hate, hate, hate wheel racks. Ironically, my bank uses them and I had to use the ATM machine when depositing. High security my ass.
I just ride up to the drive through to use the ATM.
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Old 01-24-06, 11:25 PM   #23
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Wheel racks are out, so are wave racks.

I am working on something that is a modification of the post & ring idea, more like a post with the first two leaves of a sprout coming out of the top, hopefully done out of stainless steel.

For curbside racks, I think there are actually civic parameters that require them to be bolted to the sidewalk rather than cast in... something to do with their need to "break away" upon impact by a car...

The locations for these will be quite public, out in front of a bank, close to Title Nine and Gregg's Greenlake Cycle, and not really meant for long-term parking. The inside of the building might have others meant for that, or for residential visitors.

Keep those comments coming...
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Old 01-24-06, 11:30 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the images... curious about what you were researching...

And although this one is impractical for many reasons, it is also intriguingly straightforward, and compellingly low profile. And maybe a little harsh. But it's a great picture.
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Old 01-25-06, 12:53 AM   #25
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This may be a good resource of info for you.

http://www.bikeiowa.com/asp/hotnews/...sp?NewsID=1262
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