Home Blog Our Favorite Bike Racks (and One to Avoid)

Our Favorite Bike Racks (and One to Avoid)

written by Leah Beckett Aug 24th 2018
Office Bike Rack

When it comes to choosing a bike rack for your office, a couple of factors should be taken into consideration.

1. Will this rack be used for short term or long term parking?

Some racks work best for short term parking while others are a better fit for long term parking. Long term bicycle parking racks usually provide better security and protection from the natural elements than short term racks

2. How much space do I have?

Space is also a big factor in selecting bike racks as some are just designed to take up more square footage than others. If you work in the city, you might not have much sidewalk area to spare and may opt instead to install a bike rack in an extra room of your office building.

Other aspects to consider before installing a bike rack include 1) the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals’ recommendation that racks should have two points of contact for a bike to help support the bike frame, and 2) our suggestion that bike racks in New England should be made of galvanized steel or at least be powder coated to avoid rusting in Winter.

U-Racks

U Rack Styles

From left: hoop rack, downtown rack, bike hitch

As a regular bike commuter and leisure rider, these are my favorite bike racks for a few reasons:

  • No lifting is required to lock up your bike
  • Bikes can easily face opposite directions so the handlebars don’t catch on neighboring brakes or chains
  • Compatible with all bike sizes and styles

A series of these racks – in a parking spot or on a wide sidewalk – is called a bike corral and is a great strategy for allowing a large number of people to park their bikes at once. Variations of these racks can be found in cities and towns across the country, with examples including a u-rack shaped as a carrot in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a u-rack shaped as a bicycle in Brookline, Massachusetts.

High Density Racks

High Density Bike Racks

From left: staggered wheelwell rack, stacked rack, vertical rack

All of these rack options offer solutions for bike parking in tight areas throughout cities and congested parking lots by creating much needed room for as many bikes as possible.

The staggered wheelwell rack is designed to stagger handlebars vertically or horizontally in order to increase parking availability, thereby fitting more bicycles into smaller spaces.

The stacked bike racks are typically reserved for indoor use and are most common in office parking garages and bike cages. Examples of these include the racks near the Alewife, Davis, and Oak Grove T stops in the greater Boston area.

Use of indoor vertical bike racks is growing in popularity. The trick to making these racks work is to pair them with u-racks to increase parking density. However, if you install these in a bike room or bike cage, remember to leave three feet of space between the rack and the wall.

Rack to Avoid: Traditional “Schoolyard” Rack

Schoolyard Bike Rack

The traditional bike rack reminds me of elementary school. As a walker, I never understood how kids could lift their tire over the frame. And it turns out, they never could!

Depending on the bike, users typically can only lock one tire rather than the actual bike frame to the rack. This locking technique has deemed the traditional rack a “wheel bender” since the body of a bike frequently tips over, resulting in the bending of the wheel still locked to the rack. The most desirable spots on this rack are the ends.

No matter what type of bike rack you choose to have installed, we’re excited to get cycling with you. Before you hit the roads, be sure to brush up on a few of our bicycling articles, including a post on biking misconceptions and biking safety tips. If you need help with the bike rack selection process, contact your Outreach Coordinator for guidance.

Happy cycling!

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