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  1. #1
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    How to promote bike racks in the city

    Hey guys,

    I'm helping this guy spread word of mouth about a new type of bike rack (the kind you use on the sidewalk, not a car bike rack) he developed. It's pretty darn cool, and I'm a biker so I'd love to see him succeed.

    Obviously bikers don't buy bike racks, it's the property owners that buy them. Do you have any ideas on how to pitch this to property owners? It's a great way for them to attract bikers, and adds value to their properties, but I can't see them shelling out a ton of money unless their tenants were clamoring for such a thing. And obviously he doesn't want them to buy just any bike racks, he wants them to buy his bike rack.

    Anywayyyy...what do you think?

    edit: I'm in baltimore/annapolis/dc

    Website is: www.velocilok.com
    Last edited by Velocilok; 04-28-09 at 09:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    ps I'm in Baltimore/Annapolis/DC

  3. #3
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    oh yeah, and here is the website: http://velocilok.com/

  4. #4
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    One idea I had was printing out flyers and putting them around apartment complexes.

    Another was to actually install a bike rack outside a property with high traffic, with a really really nice bike in it, and put a sign that said "if you can steal this bike, you can have it"

  5. #5
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    Even though there's a video on the site, it's not clear how the locking mechanism works. What makes these racks better than an upside down U style rack? I know you said that you don't need to carry a U lock, but I think that most people would carry one anyways. What if the racks are all full and you don't have your lock with you? What's to stop an unscrupulous person from putting one of these racks out and keeping a key for themselves, only to steal bikes from it? Do the racks attach to the ground, or could somebody just load the whole thing into their truck? What if a thief were to take the locking bolts in the hopes that a person would not have their own lock and just leave their bike unsecured?

    p.s. There's an edit button that you can use to add info to a post without triple posting.

  6. #6
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    Ok so the site doesn't sufficiently explain the benefits...roger that.

    It's because the rack would be bolted to the ground, and would have those bolts that lock the bike chained to the rack. So you just go into the store and get the locking caps, or carry your own around with you.

    If the racks are full, then you are out of luck I guess. I don't think he would mind telling the property owner that because the solution would just be to buy more. They would be close together like normal bike racks.

    What's also cool is that if you have a U lock you can just use that to lock it up too. It would fit right through the holes that the bolts fit in.

    sorry for the multiple posts

    thanks for the reply!

  7. #7
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    The idea of having to go into the store to ask the shopkeep for the locking pins is stupid. Just adds extra hassle for all involved parties, especially considering thats 2?3? pins per rack. What happens If the shop isnt open yet? or if I lock my bike and go for a walk and come back when they're closed?

    Having the rider carry his own set of locking pins around is bad too, since they'd be useless on the 99.99% of 'normal' bike racks. Carrying 3 Ulocks instead of the proprietary pins isnt acceptable either, those are heavy, and you'd just be better off with a single Ulock w chain/cable and using the nearby signpost instead.

    The rack looks very flimsy and easy to defeat. The bars are all much thinner than a simple inverted U rack. The way all the parts slide or rotate for adjustment just screams of weak points. And those quick pop end caps on the locking pins look like they can be forced off with either a hammer blow or a jack.

    Lastly these rack are ineffecient, all that complexity just to hold a single bike, whereas a inverted U can hold 2 and is much simpler to manufacture.



    I can see where your friend is going with this rack, he's trying to secure 2 wheels as well as the frame so that none of these parts gets removed despite the rest being locked down. This is a problem with casual cyclists who only invest in a single cheap lock that can't cover it all.

    But most serious riders already address this problem by carrying around multiple locks (typically a ULock with Cable/Chain) and use the Sheldon locking technique. Using this method also means that multiple tools are needed to defeat both locks, whereas with the velocilock all the thief has to do is learn(and they will) how to defeat those identical pins quickly with a single tool.


    And sorry to be negative but that's my honest reaction, you'll need to address all those issues before I'd comfortable locking my bike to those racks.

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    In addition to the problems already cited I note that this depends for security on a key that the user carries away with him. So a potential thief could use the rack and have all day to make a copy of the key. Later he can steal any bike left in the same rack using his copied key.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    The idea of having to go into the store to ask the shopkeep for the locking pins is stupid. Just adds extra hassle for all involved parties, especially considering thats 2?3? pins per rack. What happens If the shop isnt open yet? or if I lock my bike and go for a walk and come back when they're closed?

    Having the rider carry his own set of locking pins around is bad too, since they'd be useless on the 99.99% of 'normal' bike racks. Carrying 3 Ulocks instead of the proprietary pins isnt acceptable either, those are heavy, and you'd just be better off with a single Ulock w chain/cable and using the nearby signpost instead.

    The rack looks very flimsy and easy to defeat. The bars are all much thinner than a simple inverted U rack. The way all the parts slide or rotate for adjustment just screams of weak points. And those quick pop end caps on the locking pins look like they can be forced off with either a hammer blow or a jack.

    Lastly these rack are ineffecient, all that complexity just to hold a single bike, whereas a inverted U can hold 2 and is much simpler to manufacture.



    I can see where your friend is going with this rack, he's trying to secure 2 wheels as well as the frame so that none of these parts gets removed despite the rest being locked down. This is a problem with casual cyclists who only invest in a single cheap lock that can't cover it all.

    But most serious riders already address this problem by carrying around multiple locks (typically a ULock with Cable/Chain) and use the Sheldon locking technique. Using this method also means that multiple tools are needed to defeat both locks, whereas with the velocilock all the thief has to do is learn(and they will) how to defeat those identical pins quickly with a single tool.


    And sorry to be negative but that's my honest reaction, you'll need to address all those issues before I'd comfortable locking my bike to those racks.
    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    In addition to the problems already cited I note that this depends for security on a key that the user carries away with him. So a potential thief could use the rack and have all day to make a copy of the key. Later he can steal any bike left in the same rack using his copied key.
    It appears as though you buy a pin/key arrangement and carry that with you... so you have the set of locks that take up quite a bit less room than a U lock... or you simply use a U lock vice YOUR pin/key arrangement. It would not make sense to leave your bike and ask a store owner to give you a pin/key setup.

    The thing I wonder about is how well this fits the wide variety of bikes out there... which can range from 16 inch wheel BMX to long low recumbent bikes. Also what about the range of wheel sizes.

  10. #10
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    I'll wait to see more testing such as: freezing the lock and then wacking with a sledge hammer as they do in Chicago. Further, I think there is plenty of room for improving the design. For instance, a double slant bars from the head stand to the rear wheel would encase the bike and require only one lock. This could be a standard high security pad lock with a 5/8" shackle, much lighter and easier to carry. I would then suggest testing in New York, Chicago and LA by leaving the bike locked in place overnight and monitored with a video camera. The longer the bike remained the better the security?

  11. #11
    pedalphile
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    this seems like an interesting idea if you get enough people to buy the pin locks. I could see it working in some applications.

    Here's an idea for existing racks.

    Install a cable that is permanently attached to existing racks. This would allow riders to lock up with just a padlock that can be carried in a seat bag or pocket.

  12. #12
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    I hate to be negative to a fellow cyclists but this concept does not get me very excited. What we have started doing in Baltimore for secure bike parking are these:
    Cycling Advocate
    http://BaltimoreSpokes.org
    . . . o
    . . /L
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  13. #13
    rwp
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    This might work better if the keys worked like supermarket cart type keys where the key releases after you lock the bike, then stays in the lock after you unlock. That way anyone can use it and they don't have to carry anything around. Needs a bit of a redesign.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    I hate to be negative to a fellow cyclists but this concept does not get me very excited. What we have started doing in Baltimore for secure bike parking are these:
    Wow...
    There is no way in heck my bike would ever fit inside one of those.

  15. #15
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    Wow...
    There is no way in heck my bike would ever fit inside one of those.
    OK, I'll bite what kind of bike do you have?
    Cycling Advocate
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  16. #16
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    After thinking about these racks a bit more, I've come up with some impressions. First and foremost, I would be extremely concerned about the quality of the locking skewers that come with it. The reasons why have been mentioned in this thread. I don't see the benefit of this sort of rack over an inverted U, overall. Maybe they are cheaper, or easier to retrofit into existing concrete? Locking to them would take longer, since you would have to lock three skewers instead of a single lock and maybe a cable. They seem complicated, and difficult to use for somebody who has not used one before. If I could go somewhere and be absolutely certain that there would be one of these empty racks (and I was confident in the skewer locks) I would use it instead of carrying a U lock, unless I had to carry a pack anyways. The front loop should be a complete loop so that someone can use that to lock to if the skewers are unavailable or if they prefer their own lock. I like the fact that this guy is putting thought into ways to make cycling more convenient. In fact, I really like that. However, I think that this idea is just too infeasible for general use. They might work well for something like a university setting, where a person could receive a set of skewers to use when they registered their bikes, so that the university could assume that any bike not locked with the skewers is unregistered (again, I would have to have a lot of confidence in the skewers to go along with this). Tell your guy to keep up his line of thinking, he'll come up with a winner (not necessarily a bike rack, since those are basically perfected already) sooner or later!

  17. #17
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyhippy View Post
    Tell your guy to keep up his line of thinking, he'll come up with a winner (not necessarily a bike rack, since those are basically perfected already) sooner or later!
    +1 thought I think there is a possibility of a better rack.

    I'll note that the bike racks at the metro station by NIH (Bethesda, MD) have a three point system much in the same location as the skewers. What they did is make it sort of like a "book closing" with those three points going through the bike to a companion piece on the other side that you could then lock with your own u-lock or cable.
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  18. #18
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    It looks like and overly complicated solution in search of a problem...

    Unless every single place I normally ride to had this kind of rack/pin configuration, I'd still carry a beefy U lock that works prtty much anywhere...

  19. #19
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    What is preventing the pin design from being substituted with a pivoting, locking arm that is integral to the rack?

    Swing the integral arm over the gap in the wheel or the frame - serving the same purpose as the pin - and into an inverted fork-type slot. Have a pair of holes above this "fork" where the arm seats. Let the user stuff whatever lock he wishes in the hole above the pin to prevent the pin from being swung open again - make the hole large enough (but beefy enough around it to prevent the opening from being split by a crowbar if bent) for any run-of-the-mill chain lock, cable lock, or U lock to be fitted in the gap. User's choice, consequences are user's risk.

    -Kurt

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    OK, I'll bite what kind of bike do you have?
    Commuter
    Nice big milk crate on the rear rack that would get in the way of that shell coming down.
    Plus tall stem, and bar ends.

    Tho I can picture countless beach cruisers with ape hanger handlebars that will also not fit (pretty much any bike here in Santa Cruz).






    Anyway, based on the website, I'd guess that the velocilock rack design is pretty much finalized for manufacture (unless that one in the vid was just a prototype). Even with all the suggestions he probably can't do much to redo it can he? With that in mind, good luck with your business venture. Tho if I do encounter one when riding it'll just be another of those bike racks I don't use in favor of the nearest parking meter or signpost...

    plenty of room for more rack designs among all those out there than I don't use...
    Last edited by xenologer; 04-30-09 at 01:15 AM.

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