Monday, 6 July 2009

Cycle parking stand design. A solved problem.

I took this photo on the 9th of September 2001. It was the first time I had seen the tulip style cycle stand, which I've since come to realise not only looks elegant, but also is one of the most effective types of cycle parking available.

In this instance such a stand is supporting a mountain bike with fat 26" tyres, a traditional Dutch bike with 28" wheels and a 20" wheel folding bike. The stands hold your bike upright while you load shopping, grip enough of the wheel not to be "wheel benders", provide a loop through which the frame can be looked and due to being on two levels they permit bikes to be parked close together without clashing so that large numbers of bikes can be parked in any given area - an essential thing here where there are often thousands of bikes parked in one place.


So, why do I prefer these to the "Sheffield stand" or "U-rack" now almost universally recommended in English speaking countries ? Capacity is a large part of the reason. These stands support a lot more bikes in the same area, and when you get used to your bike being held upright for you as you load cargo, the idea of leaning it vaguely against a Sheffield stand seems very second rate. With these stands, both sides are free so you can load a pannier on both sides without having to reposition your bike. Because of the way they grip the front wheel your bike doesn't try to roll forwards or backwards when parked. Sheffield stands also generally look rather less tidy (this used to be a link to an unsightly pile of bikes in Cambridge, but sadly that cycle-stand has been removed).

The Tulip stands are made by Velopa. You can see examples of them in use on their website.

There are more cycle parking posts.

The 200000th new cycle parking stand built at a Dutch railway station since 1999 was also a tulip stand.

11 comments:

portlandize.com said...

I've often thought that, using the Sheffield stands (they mostly get called "staple" racks here), that they are extremely inconvenient to use with pannier bags, and that I'm grateful I have a good kickstand (the Pyramid double-forked kickstand), so my bike stays steady when loading it. At some point, bikes here will get to a density (and people will start using them enough for practical errands), that Sheffield stands will become a problem, but still 80% of people just have racing or mountain bikes with no racks or anything and just use them for going between work and back or whatever for recreational rides - or they carry enormous messenger bags on their backs (if they're going shopping, etc).

Anonymous said...

How do you think the tulip stands would fare with a child on a child seat on the back? I only mention it as trying to balance a bike against a sheffield rack with the top heavy weight of a two year old on the bike of your bike while you lock it is very awkward. I'd imagine anything that supports your bike through the wheel may be problematic with eough weight on your bike though?

John in NH said...

I saw these somewhere... I just don't remember where it was, I don't think it was in the UK, it would be very surprising if it were. very cool design though, I really like it.

David Hembrow said...

Anonymous: I've used them with a heavily laden Xtracycle without too much bother. However, a child is something different and it matters more if they fall. A good double kickstand can be good idea. They come as standard on moederfietsen which are made especially for carrying small children.

coco said...

Sheffield stands are the sort of design cash-strapped local authorities in towns where cycling is rare need so they can tick the 'provide token cycle parking' box. In other words, they are perfect for the UK. Give it due credit, the design is simple (it's just a handrail!) and does 80% of the job - a winning combination in so many areas. Note though, I've found that, in Manchester's city centre, space runs out after 10am these days...

New Overlords said...

How do you U-lock the frame?
How do you U-lock the rear wheel?

David Hembrow said...

Overlords: a) You have a frame mounted lock for your rear wheel as seen here and b) there is a loop through which you can also attach your D lock, or any other kind of lock, to the stand.

spag said...

Well, I do like the U racks, at least they have some advantages (and I see them freshly installed even in Amsterdam).

1) it's easy to lock the frame to the stand with an U-lock, and this is the best way locking your bike. Bike theft is an issue in NL too.

2) I can imagine a strong bike with a nice pannier bag, but it's when I have 8 days of touring gear on my bike exactly the time when I don't even try to use kickstands or wheel holding racks. (Yes, for some people, it's a challenge to lay a heavy packed bike against something. But it's not that complicated :) )

For racks for lots of bikes (i.e. railway stations), I can go for wheel-holding ones.

David Hembrow said...

Spag: There's a loop at the top of these through which you can attach your frame using a D lock if you wish, so that's the theft aspect dealt with.

Racks which grip enough of your wheel do very well even with loaded bikes. I regularly use these with an Xtracycle, for instance.

As for touring... That's not what most cycle parking is for. I'd have a hard time parking my recumbent touring bike on one of these racks. However, that's fine. These racks are for mass parking where mass cycling takes place.

matt13 said...

Somewhere in London I've seen a mixture of both: a longer-than-usual Sheffield stand with a twist at the front which holds the wheel.

I can almost always load my panniers with the bike leaning against a Sheffield stand. If I've put too much in, I think I'd rather the bike started to fall over than risk a twisted wheel. Admittedly, that's OK for shopping but not a child...

Duncan said...

For home, and for many public places, PlantLock also provides very stable support as bikeparking. And they add some 'green' to towns & cities. There's images of them on Flickr and more at http://www.frontyardcompany.co.uk/
We find they work well when loading panniers.