To Ride or Not to Ride?Written by: Brad Done
More and more people want to become less attached to their gas-guzzlers and get into Bicycling. Reliance Foundry, a provider of bike racks for cities and businesses across North America, has identified three areas that affect would-be commuters in their decision whether or not to hang up the car keys.
Riding a bike doesn’t do much good if there is nowhere to park. Cities across the country have implemented plans to promote cycling for commuting, and providing bike parking is usually included.
- Some cities, like New York, have repurposed parking meters to become bike racks. This is exciting for cyclists, as meters on their own are not a secure bike stand option. By removing the meter heads and fitting new hardware additions onto the poles, options for secure bike parking grows exponentially.
- Other cities that have bus or subway lines are slowly incorporating additional bike parking at commuter stations. People might live too far from their work to bicycle the whole way, but they might be close enough to a transit station. Bike racks on the fronts of buses, and bike lockers positioned and accessible at transit stations are a big bonus for bicyclists.
- Offering indoor bike parking in parking garages is another way cities can support cycling.
NOTE: A few Google searches can tell you if your city has a plan to encourage cycling. If in doubt, call the department of transportation for your city and ask what plans they have to promote cycling. If your city does not have a short and long-term strategy for bicyclists, joining a local advocacy group or attending a local community board meeting might be the place for you to start.
2. Bike Security
The reason more people don’t cycle in big cities is fear that their bike will be stolen. However, bike theft isn’t just for big-city-living. Any time you leave a bicycle without locking it up properly, there is a good chance your bike will not be waiting for you when you return.
There are things you can do to increase the likelihood that your bike will be where you left it when done with work / shopping / coffee with a friend. First, secure it to something that was made for bike parking. Riders will often attach their bikes to fences, trees, signs, parking meters or any other fixture. Do not do this! Secure bike parking racks are designed to provide you ample space and multiple positions to lock your bike solid.
Second, lock the back wheel to the stand inside the rear triangle. Use a U-Lock for the frame and back it up with a cable lock around your wheels. In addition, don’t forget to check that it actually IS locked. A surprising number of people think they are locking their bike, but the lock is not attached properly, or only locked to itself, leaving the bike completely unprotected.
Even with the best, most secure lock, if someone wants to steal your bike badly enough they can figure out how to do it. If you can come to terms that sometime, somewhere, somehow, your bike could be stolen, you’ll ride much easier. Follow that acknowledgement up with an investment in good locking equipment (and making sure you know how to use it) and you’ll be much more comfortable taking to the streets.
Business support for cyclists has increased over the past decade. Most businesses take pride when the community recognizes them as being an environmentally conscious place. For example, Birdbath Neighborhood Green Bakery in NYC was a co-winner of the first “Bike-Friendly Business Award” offered by the DOT and Transportation Alternatives. Birdbath offers a 25% discount to customers who arrive via bicycle or skateboard. They also make deliveries by cargo bike. More and more businesses in NYC are offering a discount for bicyclists, and take pride in being a bike-friendly place.
Wanna know where the “bike-friendly” shops in NYC are? Check out: Biking Rules!
Business Support is important for customers, but it also is important for employees. Having a place to park a bike when the distance to work is ridable, a place to freshen up and store your helmet, etc. makes commuting possible and enjoyable for employees. Businesses that are bike-friendly toward employees benefit from happier, and often healthier, employees who are likely to speak positively about their company because of its concern for something that matters to them.
In some cities, businesses can request the city to install bicycle parking in front of or near their locations. If the area around the business meets the criteria, the city will install bike parking and pay for it! Reliance Foundry, based out of Vancouver, Canada, offers secure bike parking options.
Bike riding for hobby, sport, commuting and basic transportation is steadily increasing. Certainly, some cities been more proactive than others. Speaking up through commuter advocacy in the workplace and with city transport offices will do wonders to ‘get the wheels turning’ if things seem stuck where you live.