At a time in which cities need to be more adaptable to account for population growth, cycling is becoming an obvious commuting choice more than ever. However, where can you confidently park your bicycle knowing it won’t be stolen, or damaged by weather? Unsurprisingly, bike friendly countries like the Netherlands and Japan are making innovative bicycle garages a reality. And fortunately, other countries are catching on.
Some cities have been fantastic in realising and actioning the need for innovative bike storage. Instead of building multi-plex carparks, they are making inventive multi-storey bike garages and easily accessible stands more readily available. For those of us who do get around by bike, there’s nothing more frustrating than attempting to squeeze your bike into an already over-crowded parking space, which is 200m away from the entrance of your local train station, grocery store or office building. Parked bicycles can also become a hazard to pedestrians, particularly when a row of them collapses like dominos or when a cyclist carelessly parks in the middle of the sidewalk.
Without the support and convenience of bike parking, cyclists can quickly feel discouraged from using their preferred method of transportation – even though cycling is economically and environmentally a superior option. Check out the latest trends in bicycle parking that make storage as easy as riding a bike!
Located directly next to Utrecht Central Station in the Netherlands, Stationsplein has spaces for an impressive 12,500 bikes, making it the largest parking facility in the world. Better yet, the bike park is open 24/7 and includes a bicycle and service point for repairs, maintenance, parts and accessories. Additionally, about 40 employees work here, some of whom have a disadvantage in the job market. The staff assist commuters, supervise the parking facility and ensure bicycles are parked correctly and are not left in the facility for more than 28 days. Best of all, Stationsplein is designed to allow you to ride through the complex (15km/h max) so you can find a park and arrive at your train platform in five minutes or less. There are even special parking places available for cargo and wide-handled bicycles.
Popular across Japan and China, automated underground bicycle parking systems allow cyclists to park and retrieve their bicycles in just under 13 seconds. Since the process is entirely computer operated, all you need is a special tag attached to your bike so the system recognizes you. Once the front wheel is pushed forward and inserted into the slot, the automated machine takes your bicycle and smoothly parks it below ground. The underground parking area looks similar to a beehive and is inaccessible to people, making it a secure parking solution and an efficient use of space.
Often referred to as a commercial bike rack or bike stand, bicycle parking racks come in a variety of forms and designs across the world and are also available for home installation. They serve one main purpose: to securely lock and park your bike to a reinforced object, which is often attached to the ground or a building. These days, however, you may find them as an aesthetically pleasing addition to city landscapes and homes – particularly for bike enthusiasts. In some major European cities, advanced bike racks negate the need for heavy locks or chains. Such heavy duty, solar-powered bike stands allow you to lock your bike securely with the simple push of a button via an app on your smartphone.
As world-class bicycles continue to be built, the demand for safe and secure lockers is increasing. And although strong and secure locks are available, this unfortunately doesn’t deter thieves from pulling bicycles apart. Not only do sturdy steel lockers prevent thieves from accessing your bike, they also offer protection from harsh weather conditions and serve as a fantastic storage system at any time of the year.