19 January 2009

Parking hoop-la

My Biking Partner spotted this collapsed bike (top) round the corner from where we live yesterday. Clearly it was dangerous - not only blocking the pavement, but also at risk of being squashed by the car.

So BP did what any public-spirited citizen would do: leave the bike where it is, and go home to get the camera.

It was for a good cause though. Pictures were taken and emailed to local council cycling officers with a request for cycle hoops to be installed.
We really like cycle hoops. Devised by a student called Anthony Lau, they are intended for places where there isn't space for conventional Sheffield racks, but where the demand for bike parking is such that people shackle up to road furniture anyway.

Adding the hoop (right) turns a greasy pole into a sensible bike park. You have two points to lock it with your two locks, it won't fall down, and you can't lose your bike to that trick of unbolting the sign at the top and sliding the bike up and off. It happens. (The hoops need special tools to undo them.)

The hoops cost shillings, and are easy and quick to install. Southwark and Lambeth are already rolling them out, which I suppose is what you do with hoops; you can see lots of examples along Union St (right) from Southwark tube station, for instance. More details on www.cyclehoop.co.uk.

And yes, of course we did put the bike back upright. After waiting a few minutes on the off-chance that the driver of the parked car might turn up and accidentally steamroller the bike, of course. That would have been a cracking YouTube video.


  1. Mind you, sheffield stands aren't much cop for keeping bikes upright either, and they're not very dense which is a problem if you have many bikes to park.

    What is very popular here is the tulip stand. Very dense, and keeps your bike from being damaged by falling over. The density issue is a big thing when you start having parking in a fair quantity.

  2. I can't recall having had a problem with gravity using a Sheffield, but the density thing is certainly an issue. It's almost the norm to see a rack of Sheffields used on only one side each.

    I'm intrigued by the tulp stand. But maybe they'll get too popular, and you'll have tulpstand mania, with certain coloured types changing hands for millions of rijksmarks, and then the bubble collapsing... nah, that could never happen in such a level-headed place as the Neths!

  3. There are certain cycling groups that would have a fit if the local authority tried to install something like tht 'tulip' stand. Its Sheffields or nothing from now on in I understand.

  4. Oh I've had gravity problems with Sheffields! At the rear of the National Gallery, frinstance, where they're on a slope. (I've had gravity problems cycling in Sheffield too, for that matter.)

  5. Yep, it was the first bubble. I sometimes wonder if the number of bikes here is now a bubble. Bikes here outnumber people by quite a lot, but how many bikes can one person ride ? Mind you, I'm as guilty of bike-hoarding as anyone...

    Regardless, sales seem to relentlessly increase year on year. Batavus, one of the biggest brands, recently announced that they upping production to make enough bikes. I heard the same from Azor last time I visited them (they're local). They didn't manage to have a winter slow down as in previous years as there were too many orders.

    As for parking... I used to think that sheffield stands were the bee's knees until I came here and saw how amazingly better the tulip style stand works. I'd put them down as "wheel benders", but they are not. It's almost impossible to bend a wheel in them as they support too much of the wheel, and in too sturdy a fashion.

    They have the major advantage that as both sides of the bike are free, you can load your shopping up into panniers on both sides, unlike the sheffields. Your bike stays put with these, which greatly reduces the risk of vandalism after its fallen over.

    You can see empty sheffield racks, ignored by Dutch cyclists, in the video here.