A bicycle parking rack, usually shortened to bike rack and also called a bicycle stand, is a device to which bicycles can be securely attached for parking purposes. A bike rack may be free standing or it may be securely attached to the ground or some stationary object such as a building. Indoor bike racks are commonly used for private bicycle parking, while outdoor bike racks are often used in commercial areas. General styles of racks include the Inverted U, Serpentine, Bollard, Grid, and Decorative. The most effective and secure bike racks are those that can secure both wheels and the frame of the bicycle, using a bicycle lock.
Bike racks can be constructed from a number of different materials. Durability, weather resistance, appearance, and functionality are extremely important variables of the material of the bike rack. Construction materials include stainless steel, steel, recycled plastic, or thermoplastic. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, and each is unique in appearance from the others.
The visibility of the bike rack, adequate spacing from automobile parking and pedestrian traffic, weather coverage, and proximity to destinations are all important factors determining usefulness of a bicycle rack. These factors will help increase usage of the bike rack, and assure cyclists their bike is securely parked.
Early models tend to offer a means of securing one wheel: these can be a grooved piece of concrete in the ground, a forked piece of metal into which a wheel of the bicycle is pushed, or a horizontal "ladder" providing positions for the front wheel of many bicycles. These are not very effective, since a thief need only detach the wheel in question from the bicycle to free the rest of the bicycle. They also do not offer much support, and a row of bicycles in this type of stand are susceptible to all being toppled in a domino effect. These types of stand are known as "wheel benders" among cyclists.
A modern version is known as the "Sheffield rack" or "Sheffield stand" after the city of Sheffield in England where these were pioneered. These consist of a thick metal bar or tube bent into the shape of a square arch. The top part is about level with the top bar of the bicycle frame, and thus supports the bicycle and allows the frame to be secured. The origin of the racks was when the frugal citizens of Sheffield had to decide what to do with some old gas piping. Local cyclists suggested the cycle rack idea and two simple bends later, and a little concrete in the ground, the rack was born. At the time this was a revolution in a world of 'single-point holders' that bent wheels and offered little lockability for frames. A version of this design feature a second, lower horizontal bar to support smaller bikes (this version is also known as "A stand"), and are coated to reduce their surface hardness and to not scratch the bike's paintwork.
Since 1984 the City of Toronto has installed post and ring bicycle racks consisting of a steel bollard or post topped by a cast aluminium ring. In August 2006, it became publicly known that these stands could be defeated by prying the ring off with a two-by-four.
In Amsterdam two-tiered bicycle stands are ubiquitous. Bikes can be parked in a smaller area as the handlebars (usually wider than the back of the bicycle) of every other one is at a different height (either high or low). These racks are made of steel and have a large bar to which the frame may be easily locked. Most Dutch bicycles have a rear wheel lock, so that wheel need not be locked.
Bike parking needs vary from environment to environment.
Many different styles of bike rack are available to match any environment. Specific details such as bolt size, tubing diameter, tubing style (square or round), height, length, and many other things vary with manufacturer, but typically, there are six general styles of commercial bike rack.
|U-rack||Staple, Sheffield rack||Basic bike rack that is used in urban areas because it can be placed along sidewalks without taking too much space away from pedestrians.|
|Wave||Serpentine||The wave is an extension of the U-Rack. Waves accommodate more bicycles than the single U-rack, but only support a bicycle frame at one point (as opposed to two points with a U-rack), resulting in a greater chance of the bicycle falling over when parked in the rack.|
|Bollard style||Post and ring||Bollards are short vertical posts most commonly used as traffic or parking barriers. Bollard style bike racks add one or two arms to which bikes may be secured. Post-and-ring racks are a North American variant on the bollard type.|
|Grid style||Ladder||The grid consists of vertical bars that connect larger upper and lower metal tubing that accept bikes on one or both sides of the rack. Grid style racks can be left freestanding or anchored to the ground with permanent or temporary anchors. This rack does not allow both the wheel and frame of the bike to be locked, allowing for potential theft of the bicycle.|
|Innovative||Innovative designs incorporate both utility and style. Many bike rack engineers have made small alterations to basic bike racks to improve functionality and appearance.|
|Decorative||In response to the often unique nature of commercial areas, some environments require a more decorative bike rack. For example, a public aquarium or zoo may prefer a shark shaped bike rack over a traditional style bike rack.|
|Double deck||Two-tier bike racks can be used to increase bicycle storage capacity in a fixed space. In order to easily maneuver a bicycle onto the top tier, some double deck bike racks incorporate hydraulic pistons to lift the bike into the rack after the user has locked it.|
Bike racks can be mounted to a surface in a number of different ways.
Commercial bike racks can be constructed with a variety of different materials. Some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a finishing material are the weather conditions the bike rack will need to endure, the overall style and look of the atmosphere, the volume of bikes the rack will be holding, and environmental issues.
Where a bike rack is installed is just as important as how safe and useful it is. The better the location, the more use the bike rack will encourage. Bike racks should be installed in an area that is highly visible to the public. By avoiding isolated areas and hidden spaces, cyclists will feel safe enough to lock their bikes there. Crowded locations will also deter bike thieves from stealing bicycles. Also, by placing bike racks in a highly visible area, the location will most likely be near common places of interest, making it more convenient for people to ride their bike to their destinations.
However, while a bike rack should be implemented in a visible area, it is important that the bike rack have adequate spacing away from pedestrians and other traffic. Bike riders will need ample space to maneuver their bike around and into the rack, without hitting other parked bikes, cars, or people. It is also important to place bike racks far enough away from doorways, sidewalks, or paths where it may obstruct traffic flow.
Another important factor to consider is weather protection. If bike racks are being used for long-term parking, the bike rack should be placed under some form of weather protection. This will not only help protect the bike rack from corrosion, but also encourage bike riders to store their bikes there for extended periods of time.
Although the primary use for a bicycle stand is for parking, it is useful at times to use it for adjustments. While it is difficult to spin a rear wheel while making derailleur adjustments, if a stand were high enough to support the rear of the bike by the saddle nose, then this problem could be solved. Generally speaking, stands are not high enough for this and quite often have bracings and other obstructions in their construction that would prevent such use.
Along with bike racks, often other cycle infrastructure is added to a cycle parking project. This can include bike pumps and repair stations to allow on-the-go maintenance of bicycles, and wash stations for cleaning. Some modern, large scale projects use technology such as bicycle detection systems to show users whether there is space available for their cycle, and e-bike charging stations to allow electric bike users to plug in while away from home.
The term bike rack can also refer to: