01 February 2009
Vertical bike parking?
There's a shortage of cycle parking, as we know. Developers never put enough in flats and councils never put enough in city centres.
The two middle photos on the right demonstrate that. The Damoclean balcony parking for small city flats is somewhere in Southwark. At least it presents something of a challenge to the thief with vertigo. The Evel Knievel solution for pubgoers in a hurry was spotted in Dublin.
But comes another day, comes another award-winning (for which read 'entertainingly impractical') bike-parking solution. (Top right, from last Friday's Evening Standard, via Freewheeler's busy Waltham Forest blog.)
"The device can be fitted to any wall and uses a simple hoist, powered by an electric motor, to raise and lower the bicycle. It could be operated by a remote control, or by the owner swiping their Oyster card on a reader", says the Standard.
Perpendicular storage may be fine in a guard's van, but turning your home's front elevation into a cycling assault course doesn't appeal to me.
For one thing, it looks awfully exposed to the elements. For another, it seems just too damn cumbersome. An essential pleasure of cycling is door-to-door convenience - people will always prefer the simple, straightforward lock-up directly outside an entrance to a 'proper' cycle park even 50m away.
See, for example, Tate Modern or Kings Place. Both organisations thoughtfully provide cycle parking just round the corner. At Tate it's a nice covered bike shed, of the sort the big kids at your school were smoking behind during dinner break. At Kings Place it's a set of 'CaMden' stands.
But at both places, you'll find most bikes are instead chained to the railings directly outside their entrance. (Whether the railings proved safer we don't know, but we do know that the Camden stands proved a magnet for thieves.)
And the faff of getting a bike down from the side of a house would be a major disincentive to use your bike for a short trip. The bike would end up just being left up there, unused.
Clearly the idea's been tried before, in this Oxfordshire village (right): imagine how long that bike must have been stuck there.