Sad Bike Rack Next to a Tree in Urban Setting

Sad Racks Episode #13

Old Dog Tied to Tree

We love greenery. We also love bike parking. But together? Not so much. This … interesting combination of urban forestry and a bike rack is bad news for everyone.

The first issue is the bike rack itself. Most rack manufacturers have moved away from this antiquated ‘wheel-bender’ design since it does not provide two points of contact to support the bike. And it doesn’t allow cyclists to lock their bike frame to the rack if used as intended (not like the bike parked above). The rack isn’t physically bolted to the ground and instead uses the tree as a “security post” of sorts. While this technically secures the rack, it also makes it hard to use and reduces parking capacity. 

As you can see in the image, when faced with a strange parking situation, bikers just make do. In this case, a rider has docked their trusty steed to the side of the “parking area,” where they can lock their frame directly to the rack. While this makes sense from the user’s perspective, it encroaches upon the pedestrian space. 

As for the poor tree, we feel that life is tough enough for urban foliage without being subject to bad bike parking facilities. If you’ve ever taken a bike pedal directly to the shin, then you know how this tree feels every time someone tries to squeeze into this confined space.

Considering that cyclists spend more in a month on goods and services than patrons who arrive by car, we think it is well worth accommodating cyclists with parking that doesn’t force them to abuse the poor urban trees.

Bikes Make Life Better is dedicated to helping employees at large organizations use bikes for healthy sustainable transportation. We’ve designed bike programs, facilities, and fleets for Airbnb, Facebook, Kaiser Permanente, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Salesforce, Stanford, Walmart and others.