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Characteristics of good office bike parking

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Mobility Advisor Roel Lenoir of 3pm compiles a list of the top 10 considerations when planning office bike parking.

The following article, written by Roel Lenoir, was originally published in Dutch on the 3pm blog in May 2018.

“Do you want an exit ticket?” The receptionist asks as I hand in my access pass. She opens a drawer and grabs one.

“No thank you”, I say. “I'm on my bike. I put it in front of the entrance, because I was not allowed in the parking garage.”

“Oh, yes,” she closes the drawer again, “I just checked. Colleagues who come by bike simply put it on the sidewalk. Here at the front door. The municipality has deposited those staple racks. Quite handy.”

"Certainly," I say. The cyclist in me is crying.

Staple racks on the sidewalk is not good office bicycle parking

Then what? Your bike will be dry and safe in a good bicycle shelter. A place where you can put your expensive e-bike down for a day without the mega-heavy chain locks around it. A place where you feel safe yourself. There are good racks in it. And there is a bicycle pump and a plug for that e-bike. But there's more. I made a list.

1. It starts at the location: near the entrance

The good thing about those bike staples is the location. You can make it easy for cyclists with bicycle parking close to the entrance. You reward the cycling colleague for good behaviour. And you do that with the privilege of a parking space next to the front door. Not somewhere in a corner of the parking garage. No, as close as possible to the entrance.

That used to be the privilege of the management. Now it belongs to the worker who comes by bike.

2. You must be able to enter and exit the bicycle parking facility

The accessibility of bicycle parking is a critical consideration. How do you get in? Will the door open automatically? Or do you have to push it open with your front wheel while holding your handlebars with one hand and pressing your card against the scanner? And can visitors also get in? Is there a staircase, and if so, can you easily go up and down it? With a bicycle? Or is it so steep that you crash down when you can no longer hold your bike? I recently visited an employer where they had a special bicycle transport lift made. Nobody used it. It was too complicated.

3. You must also dare to enter the bicycle shed

Bicycle parking can be quite spooky just like parking garages. It must be light, well-arranged and safe. So that you dare to park or pick up your bike at any time of the day. Think of:

• Lighting.
• The clarity. Can you see who is there? Are there corners, niches, unclear corridors?
• The accessibility. Can anyone enter or do you need a special pass?
• Security cameras.

4. Racks that do not damage the bike and cyclist

Bicycle racks come in many shapes and sizes: single layer and double layer, staples and clamps. But what is a good rack? Manufacturers have set standards together with the Fietsersbond. They call it FietsParKeur. They look at:

• Convenience when placing the bike
• Convenience when securing a bicycle
• Risk of damage to the bicycle
• Risk of injury to the user or passer-by
• Crack resistance
• Durability

FietsParKeur is therefore a list of bicycle racks that meet the quality requirements. The quality mark does not help with choosing a rack.

How do you choose a bicycle rack?

Suppose you are faced with the choice to purchase new bicycle racks. The following questions then determine the choice of rack:
• How many parking spaces do you need?
• How much space do you have?
• Does a double-layer parking system (ceiling height) fit?
• How much budget do you have?

But watch out for front wheel folders

Bicycle racks with front wheel clamping are a point of attention. The so-called 'front wheel folders'. You shouldn't use them. They have the reputation of ensuring a blow to your wheel. Many cyclists refuse to push their front wheel into such a clamp. I'm one of those. The strange thing is that there are racks with front wheel clamping that meet the standards of FietsParKeur.

5. Space for bicycles that are different

In a good bicycle parking facility for employees there is sufficient space for oversized bicycles such as cargo bikes, recumbent bicycles and bicycles with such crates on the handlebars. At least 10% of the space is mentioned as a figure. An inventory in advance of the number of expected oversized bicycles can help.

Racing bikes actually require special racks. Because of their vulnerability, riders usually do not put them in standard bicycle racks. They prefer to put them next to their desk. Make an inventory in advance of how many racing bikes you can expect.

The number of employees traveling by e-bike is increasing. Sockets for e-bikes or charging points for batteries therefore belong in a garage, with—of course—parking spaces for e-bikes.

6. Dressing room and possibly a shower

Most cycling colleagues live so close that they crawl behind their desks from their bikes. Changing clothes is not necessary. But there are also those that come from afar. Or who get on the racing bike, and use their bike ride as training. They want to freshen up and change clothes after their bike ride. And you would want that too, I can tell you. A changing room is therefore part of a good bicycle shelter. A shower is even more beautiful. And think of lockers for storing clothes.

7. Hooks for rain gear or other cycling clothes

Sometimes it rains when you cycle. Then it is useful if there is a place where you can hang your wet clothes to dry. That may be obvious, but it is sometimes not. I know of a ministry where employees took brackets with suction cups and pieces of string to hang their wet stuff. Also provide adequate ventilation so that once the rain gear is wet, it can also dry.

8. Tools and a pump

A bicycle pump and possibly some tools to make minor repairs complete the bicycle parking. I already mentioned electrical sockets for e-bikes.

9. The eye wants something too

The design of the bicycle shelter naturally also determines its attractiveness, but also how safe people feel there. The neighboring Kleine Nobelstraat facility in The Hague is a public bicycle parking facility. Here visitors to the city center of The Hague can park their bicycles, but also residents without their own shelter. There is a coffee bar, a reading table, space to tinker with your own bicycle and a toilet. But it is primarily the interior that ensures people like to park their bikes there.

10. And don't forget the parking space for visitors

It is not just advisors like me who travel by bicycle on business. Customers can also visit by bike. Consider your hospitality and ensure that a visitor can park his or her bicycle safely. If only with a staple at the door.

And now?

Build a new bicycle shed? That is possible, of course. But you can also start smaller. By installing a power outlet, for example, or by placing a rack for visitors. Our checklist can help you further.

Would you like to bring Dutch expertise into your bicycle parking project? Try contacting one of our members: Armada Mobility, Falco, Jan Kuipers Nunspeet, or VelopA.

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