No Rack?! Now What?

Inspired by a discussion on the LinkedIn Bike Commuters Group

No, not that kind of rack so get your mind back on the bike. The question is, What do you do when your destination lacks a bike rack? (aka bike parking)

#1—Vote with your wallet! Take your dollars to places with bike parking: My closest grocery store has a rack so I like going there. When I set a meeting at a coffee shop I choose one with a bike rack whenever possible (and it’s usually possible). 

There are racks next to Taste, Madeleine’s, the Rocket Bakery on Main, and Coffee Social for starters. Other spots like Rocket Bakery at 1st and Cedar or Rockwood Bakery on 18th have railings you can hitch to.

I'm especially fortunate that my workplace has both outdoor racks and indoor hanging racks in secure locked spaces. Employers who want to attract healthy, active employees need to think about things like end-of-trip facilities (secure bike storage, showers, space to change clothes). Building owners/managers might want to look at these issues too, to make their facilities more attractive in a tough economy for commercial real estate.

Improvise: Street signs, hand rails, fences, benches and other fixed items enable you to use your lock. Parking meters are a last resort since you could just lift the bike, lock and all off the meter so it’s a defense in name only.

Impose: I have taken my bike into a couple of grocery stores and asked someone at the closest courtesy desk or checkstand if I can stash it against the wall near them and if they'll keep an eye on it, explaining that I have to do this since they don't have a rack. No one has ever turned me down.

I occasionally have to go to a meeting at a facility that lacks both racks and anything to lock to. One of our newer local event facilities presents me with this. I take the bike in, explain that there's no parking for me and ask if there's somewhere I can put it.

So far every time I’ve asked, staff have let me put it in a side room, a hallway, near the coat rack or somewhere that doesn’t inconvenience others but gives me more peace of mind that my transportation will be there a couple of hours later when I need it.

The key for me is two sides of the same coin:
  • “Entitlement"--I am a customer and they need to make it possible for me to deal with my transportation.
  • Lack of "entitlement"--I ask politely if they can help me solve this problem and they always do. I think I'd get different (worse) treatment if I got self-righteous or huffy about it.
I also bear in mind that I am almost never dealing with anyone who made a decision not to put in a bike rack, and they probably can't make one appear later either.

It's like dealing with customer service on the phone: they didn't design the problem so they don't really own either problem or solution. They're just there to make you feel better so you'll keep bringing them your business.

And you’re there to remind them that if they want to continue getting your business and that of other people on bikes, they might want to suggest to management that a bike rack should be installed.

1 comment :

  1. Hey, even Hobby Lobby has a bike rack. Probably because it used to be Joe's outdoor, but still...and it is under a roof.

    Sandra B


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