08 June 2010
Racking brains: New parking at Waterloo
Waterloo has installed a big new wodge of double-decker-rack cycle parking (right), and yesterday we nipped round to have a look.
They're said to increase the bike park spaces at the south London hub from 212 to 534 - hardly Dutch, but a big improvement.
And we're impressed by the racks themselves. They're smooth, straightforward, robust, and even include a soft friendly fibre strip along the sidebar to protect your frame's paintwork. The convenient height and length of the sidebar makes it easy to apply two locks.
We find them a bit less fussy, easier to use, and sturdier than the similar racks that were installed in Euston last year. (Waterloo's racks are made by Bellsure, a Guildford-based company.)
They're clearly very security conscious here at Waterloo. Five seconds after I started taking snaps of the racks, the plain-clothes security manager and two uniformed officers swooped on me. Perhaps, in their religion, when you take a photograph of a bicycle, you steal its soul.
Once they were satisfied my Lumix camera had only a 10x optical zoom, and not a pair of integral bolt cutters, their wariness changed to friendly banter and it was all very amicable. Seriously, we're pleased to see that the bikes are being closely watched. And they even let me steal my own bike back.
Amusingly, the old sign telling you not to chain your bike up anywhere in the vicinity is still there. It says any locked bikes will be wheelclamped and released only on payment of ten quid.
The new racks were opened last Tuesday by transport minister Norman Baker. We're on his side, as he once failed to get a bike on MPs' expenses for shuttling around London.