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Bad bike rack locations

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Bad bike rack locations

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Old 02-02-12, 04:45 PM
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jdswitters
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Bad bike rack locations

The bike rack at our office is underneath a crab apple tree and next to the dumpsters. Most bike racks are an afterthought, and get places at the end of a project where there is room left over without regard to landscaping.

I should mention that I am happy to have a bike rack, but there are some issues. Like the birds that get in the crab apple tree and crap on my bike.

The good is that bike racks are almost always closer than vehicle parking spots.

I do a bit of site design and was a landscape designer for a few years after college, and back then I never gave much thought to bike rack location either.

What are some location issues with places you park your bike on a rack?

I am thinking this would be some good information in the future for site design, and I would like to suggest a new location for the bike rack at our office building, but dont want to move from the frying pan into the fire.

Some other issues I have seen around town is when they put a bike rack on the sidewalk, but then pedestrian traffic cant stay on the sidewalk to get around the bikes that are on the rack.


Handy picture of bike parking on rare day I rode the cruiser.
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Old 02-02-12, 05:03 PM
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Have never seen a rack like that before. Doesn't look very good.

This site has a lot of info, with lots of links:
http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/engineering/parking.cfm

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals has the first edition of their guidelines online (newer edition costs money), but the downside is that they seem to recommend wheel-bender racks:
http://www.apbp.org/resource/resmgr/...guidelines.pdf

This page has a TON of links, and is good for explaining what makes a good bike rack, and best practices for locking up:
http://www.bikeoff.org/consultation/...and_Facilities
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Old 02-02-12, 05:13 PM
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excellent information, thank you!
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Old 02-02-12, 05:24 PM
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I've become a bike parking nerd! I'm lucky that my city has been installing some nice new racks around town:



The racks have a nice rubberized coating, so no scratches on the frame.

You may want to check to see if your city has any reporting form for public infrastructure concerns. There are also some smartphone apps (like Go Request) that some cities use to get reports of graffiti, potholes, etc. I'm also lucky that my city uses this, and takes the reports fairly serious. I know that some cyclists complained about intersections where bikes weren't detected by the loops in the asphalt, and the problem was fixed in a short amount of time, and they also take requests for bike rack locations.
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Old 02-02-12, 05:34 PM
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I like bike racks that are out of the flow of traffic (slightly off sidewalks), well lit with good lines of sight (to discourage vandalism and theft) that are designed to accomodate locking the frame and front wheel.

Overhead cover is great, but not common.

Fortunately my office has an underground bike room! A best-case scenario!
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Old 02-02-12, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by erg79 View Post
I know that some cyclists complained about intersections where bikes weren't detected by the loops in the asphalt, and the problem was fixed in a short amount of time, and they also take requests for bike rack locations.
Really? Awesome!
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Old 02-02-12, 07:30 PM
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The rack in the first photo is a really odd design indeed. I suppose the intent was to facilitate holding it up by the handlebars. (Though the pictogram would seem to suggest that you flip your bike upside down.) I've seen some really interesting bike racks as I've traveled. Some were so interesting that at first I wasn't sure if they were really bike racks. I just want something that works. I'll happily lock up to a lightpost or a sign, as long as it is acceptable and won't result in my bike being cut free and impounded. My small town has very few bike racks, and quite a few cyclists. But there always seems to be some object around that works as a bike rack.
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Old 02-02-12, 08:38 PM
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I hate those squiggly bike racks that looks something like this: mmm

The racks I see around town are usually away from line of sight, occupied, or just doesn't work with my bike. Seems the most convenient places are sign posts for me, usually parking posts and NOT stop signs. I think it's just asking for it when locked to a stop sign.

Today I had to improvise when stopping at a Harbor Freight store. It has no rack or posts I can lock my bike to, so I usually make do with the shopping cart corral. But, today a bike was in that spot! I had to look around and decided to use a square pipe that runs the length of the front building wall. I guess its purpose is to prevent carts from bashing against the wall. I was able to thread a thin cable lock arond it, then loop a thicker cable through that and lock it to my bike via a U-lock. It was gonna be a quick stop. That thin cable lock to which my thick cable was attached to didn't inspire confidence. I use that as a supplement to my U-lock/Kryptonite cable.

Last edited by djork; 02-02-12 at 08:59 PM. Reason: bad grammar *hangs head in shame* I never proof-read my posts.
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Old 02-02-12, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by djork View Post
I hate those squiggly bike racks that is looks something like this: mmm
Wave racks, they're called. Agreed that they're annoying, because the frame isn't supported in two spaces, making it easier for a bike to tip over, and the bikes get crammed in there.

It seems that grocery stores are the worst for having decent bike parking. Mostly because I don't think the store thinks that people will show up on a bike to shop, and their parking lots are so large that trying to find a spot on the street to park can be a hassle.
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Old 02-02-12, 08:48 PM
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I am very fortunate with the racks at my office. We are in a new building, and my preferred rack is in a covered location that is screened from street view by a wall, plus there is a manned security camera that continually takes shots of the rack and nearby door. The racks themselves I am not too crazy about -- they are just upside down U's -- but they are very solid and secure.
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Old 02-02-12, 11:19 PM
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I've seen lots of these "lowboy" racks (http://www.american-playground.net/LowboyBikeRack.htm) and can't figure out why someone would install such a rack. They seem impossible to use a U-lock, and even a cable or chain needs to be fairly long to reach. These are really the worst design I've seen. The only thing that makes it worse is that they are usually not bolted down. What a waste.

Green Options Buffalo installs these: http://www.buffalorising.com/2009/06...for-yours.html and these are MUCH better than most other racks in the area.
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Old 02-03-12, 01:16 AM
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I hate it when businesses have wave racks but install them so close to a wall that you have to lock up lengthwise along the rack.

My office installed some really nice racks with overhead cover right by an entrance last year. Unfortunately, to get to them you have to go up a length of sidewalk shared by everyone walking into the building. Apparently there have been some incidents where people on foot felt like cyclists were passing too close. We got an intra-office e-mail saying bikes must be walked on the sidewalk. You can probably guess how well that worked.
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Old 02-03-12, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by erg79 View Post
It seems that grocery stores are the worst for having decent bike parking.
A while back, I read a thread here where some of the posters just took their bikes with them into the store. Their argument was that the bike doesn't take up any more room than a cart. And they could use their bar bag or panniers for shopping.

At the time I read it, I still thought it might be a bit rude. But then my local grocery store decided to just up and remove the bike rack that had been next to the front door. First, I was confused. Then I was kind of pissed. So I just rolled my bike through the store and went shopping. I got a few looks, but no one said anything. Then, over the next week, I saw a couple of other people doing the same thing. All of a sudden--they get a new bike rack, just in a new location. Maybe that was the plan all along, and they just timed things improperly by removing the first one before installing the second one. Or maybe it took a few cyclist tracking mud through the store to make them realize their mistake.

For me, that experience kind of demystified the taboo of taking the bike inside. So now, if a place doesn't have a bike rack, sometimes I'll just roll my wheels right on inside.
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Old 02-03-12, 01:59 AM
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I'm looking for an in-house attorney job right now and was interviewing at a famous foundation in Seattle. They have a huge bike locker room to secure all of the bikes underground, showers, locker room, and a gear grunge room to dry stuff off.

At this point, having a serious bike rack actuallly secured to the concrete in well-light visible area is critical. Some of them are not secured - a guy with a truck could just grab the rack a two bikes and be gone!!
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Old 02-03-12, 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by djork View Post
I hate those squiggly bike racks that looks something like this: mmm

The racks I see around town are usually away from line of sight, occupied, or just doesn't work with my bike. Seems the most convenient places are sign posts for me, usually parking posts and NOT stop signs. I think it's just asking for it when locked to a stop sign.

Today I had to improvise when stopping at a Harbor Freight store. It has no rack or posts I can lock my bike to, so I usually make do with the shopping cart corral. But, today a bike was in that spot! I had to look around and decided to use a square pipe that runs the length of the front building wall. I guess its purpose is to prevent carts from bashing against the wall. I was able to thread a thin cable lock arond it, then loop a thicker cable through that and lock it to my bike via a U-lock. It was gonna be a quick stop. That thin cable lock to which my thick cable was attached to didn't inspire confidence. I use that as a supplement to my U-lock/Kryptonite cable.
I have not had my bike tip over once regardless if I use a parking meter, wave rack, or n-rack. How are you locking your bike? I could see my bike rotating around the post, but not falling over.

As far as the wave racks, I only use the last space because locking my back wheel and frame is much more difficult in the middle.

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Old 02-03-12, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jdswitters View Post
The bike rack at our office is underneath a crab apple tree and next to the dumpsters. Most bike racks are an afterthought, and get places at the end of a project where there is room left over without regard to landscaping.

I should mention that I am happy to have a bike rack, but there are some issues. Like the birds that get in the crab apple tree and crap on my bike.

The good is that bike racks are almost always closer than vehicle parking spots.

I do a bit of site design and was a landscape designer for a few years after college, and back then I never gave much thought to bike rack location either.

What are some location issues with places you park your bike on a rack?

I am thinking this would be some good information in the future for site design, and I would like to suggest a new location for the bike rack at our office building, but dont want to move from the frying pan into the fire.

Some other issues I have seen around town is when they put a bike rack on the sidewalk, but then pedestrian traffic cant stay on the sidewalk to get around the bikes that are on the rack.


Handy picture of bike parking on rare day I rode the cruiser.
[IMG][/IMG]
Uh, has the sign on the bike rack come loose and turned upside down, or are people suppose to flip their bikes over in order to lock them to that rack "properly?"

And uh, what is with the hooks that are hanging under the rack?

As for suggestions on where to locate a bicycle rack. Somewhere that is in a high traffic area. I know that that sounds as if it might be contradictory, but you want it to be somewhere where if there is someone who is messing with one or more of the bikes that there's a better chance of them getting caught. You don't want it where no one is watching it.

Another idea is to have some sort of CCTV or security camera monitoring it. Such as at the library that I go to. They have a security camera on the corner of the library that has a very clear view of the bike rack(s).

Maybe an enclosure that also protects the bikes inside from the elements. As don't forget the more expensive bikes or bikes that have been upgraded by their owners have leather seats, automotive quality paint jobs.

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Old 02-03-12, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Confederate View Post
A while back, I read a thread here where some of the posters just took their bikes with them into the store. Their argument was that the bike doesn't take up any more room than a cart. And they could use their bar bag or panniers for shopping.

At the time I read it, I still thought it might be a bit rude. But then my local grocery store decided to just up and remove the bike rack that had been next to the front door. First, I was confused. Then I was kind of pissed. So I just rolled my bike through the store and went shopping. I got a few looks, but no one said anything. Then, over the next week, I saw a couple of other people doing the same thing. All of a sudden--they get a new bike rack, just in a new location. Maybe that was the plan all along, and they just timed things improperly by removing the first one before installing the second one. Or maybe it took a few cyclist tracking mud through the store to make them realize their mistake.

For me, that experience kind of demystified the taboo of taking the bike inside. So now, if a place doesn't have a bike rack, sometimes I'll just roll my wheels right on inside.
Sadly, the local VA facility that I go to is undergoing a massive remodel and they have removed the bicycle rack that used to be near the bus stop. So far from what I've been able to learn there is no plans on replacing it. So instead we lock our bikes to the chain link fence, or to support beams of shelters for newspapers dispensing machines/smokers/etc.

It would be nice if they replace the bike rack.
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Old 02-03-12, 06:27 AM
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I'm lucky as I usually have a secure area to park my bike around town.
Eg. this one is free for the first 2 hours, then 100 yen for 6 hours and 150 yen for 24 hours. Cameras and staff monitoring the area.

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Old 02-03-12, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by gronk40 View Post
Fortunately my office has an underground bike room! A best-case scenario!
How do you move up and down?
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Old 02-03-12, 07:46 AM
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No racks in the entire complex where I work. I keep bringing in up in the quality of life surveys - five years now!! I got puked on a week ago for having my bike behind the potted plants - so for now it's chained to a sign outside the building.
Even good racks and security won't totally protect your bike - my son had 1 bike stolen (with security video available for the cops) and another had the front wheel stolen (again with good security footage)...he finally started locking it to a sign and water pipe right in front of the store! Security and cops don't waste much time on bicycle theft - after all, it's not like they cost much?? Right?? Sheesh, bicycles are my son's ONLY transportation.
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Old 02-03-12, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Uh, has the sign on the bike rack come loose and turned upside down, or are people suppose to flip their bikes over in order to lock them to that rack "properly?"

And uh, what is with the hooks that are hanging under the rack?

As for suggestions on where to locate a bicycle rack. Somewhere that is in a high traffic area. I know that that sounds as if it might be contradictory, but you want it to be somewhere where if there is someone who is messing with one or more of the bikes that there's a better chance of them getting caught. You don't want it where no one is watching it.

Another idea is to have some sort of CCTV or security camera monitoring it. Such as at the library that I go to. They have a security camera on the corner of the library that has a very clear view of the bike rack(s).

Maybe an enclosure that also protects the bikes inside from the elements. As don't forget the more expensive bikes or bikes that have been upgraded by their owners have leather seats, automotive quality paint jobs.
Don't let security cameras lull into a false sense of security. A year and a half ago my bike was stolen at the community college from the bike rack right under the cameras. The bike rack was right in front of the Student Center and Administration.

At first I thought, "Well, at least it will be on camera." I found out the cameras didn't handle low lite well and I guess the bike thieves knew that. All the way up to sundown you could see my bike sitting there just fine. After the sun set you couldn't even see the bike, except when the headlights of a turning car hit it.

The security guard told me they lost bikes with just cable locks all the time. He recommended a U-lock. Now I lock my bike with both U-lock and a cable.

It still makes me mad to think about it.
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Old 02-03-12, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Uh, has the sign on the bike rack come loose and turned upside down, or are people suppose to flip their bikes over in order to lock them to that rack "properly?"

And uh, what is with the hooks that are hanging under the rack?

As for suggestions on where to locate a bicycle rack. Somewhere that is in a high traffic area. I know that that sounds as if it might be contradictory, but you want it to be somewhere where if there is someone who is messing with one or more of the bikes that there's a better chance of them getting caught. You don't want it where no one is watching it.

Another idea is to have some sort of CCTV or security camera monitoring it. Such as at the library that I go to. They have a security camera on the corner of the library that has a very clear view of the bike rack(s).

Maybe an enclosure that also protects the bikes inside from the elements. As don't forget the more expensive bikes or bikes that have been upgraded by their owners have leather seats, automotive quality paint jobs.
I have no idea why the sign is upside down or how the hooks work unless you are supposed to shred your handlebars in the process and only if you have a bicycle without cables. Fortunately I work in a very low crime area.

Our local grocery store has some bike racks out in the parking lot but right by the door they have a huge pad eye bolted to the building next to the front door. This is a coveted spot and I do my shopping early Saturday mornings to be there first.

Digital_Cowboy: I do A/E type work for the VA on the cemetery side, if you dont get a new bike rack when the construction is done someone hasn't been reading the directives.
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Old 02-03-12, 10:05 AM
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Where I work they used to have an old-school bike rack (frame w vertical bars that's not actually very useful for locking up grown-up bikes) sitting in the courtyard of the horseshoe-shaped building.
One morning I showed up and it (the entire rack) was gone.
Some "transient" guys had apparently walked up over the weekend and carried it off.

Company since installed one of the "inverted U" racks that is cemented into the ground.

What's more interesting to me is that nobody even noticed it was gone until I said something (several people were like "what, we have a bike rack?") and they probably wouldn't have replaced it at all if I hadn't complained. Heh heh.

Location-wise though, it's a good location for a bike rack as far as I'm concerned. Central, visible, not in anybody's way.
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Old 02-03-12, 05:27 PM
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JsDavis, I'm not saying my bike leans over or falls when I park it, though I suppose if I used the wavy racks there may be a likelihood that it may tip over. I mostly park by signs posts, and I've never had my bike fall, slide or rotate around the post. One thing about public racks is that they may not always accomodate bikes with rear racks. I don't see too many old school racks that you slide a wheel into. Even those racks can be had to park if you have disc brakes. But usually the wheel holders are pretty close together that another bike cannot park next to yours without its handlebar getting in the way of yours.
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Old 02-03-12, 06:41 PM
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Yeah, ours is in the building loading dock, right next to the garbage. On the other hand at least we have a rack, and it's inside in an area covered by a security camera, too, so I can't complain too much.
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