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.
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