GREENetwork

Bike Racks

We have 30 outdoor bike racks on campus that can accommodate a total of 323 bikes. We also have one indoor bike storage room in Harriett House that can accommodate up to 14 bikes (you can sign up for a key to that space here). The campus map includes an overlay that shows bike racks; just click the checkbox next to "bike racks" beside the map.

It's a little outdated now, but in the summer of 2015 we took pictures of every rack on campus. And if you're reading a page like this, you know you want to look at them.

Bike Rack Standards

A number of the racks on campus have been around for much longer than their expected lifetime; one, in particular, was installed as early as the 1970s. Older racks often don't meet the expectations of modern-day cyclists, who prefer to use high-quality "U-locks" and like two points of contact with the frame to avoid bent wheels. The rest of this page outlines the decision-making criteria for placement and design of new racks as funds become available or during major construction or renovation projects.

Placement

Racks should not be placed in an area that obstructs pedestrian access. They should always be secured in place; freestanding bike racks both are an invitation for thieves and have a tendency to move out of place. If special events or snow removal are concerns, racks may be rail-mounted and removed certain times of year; in those instances, signage should be placed on the racks at least a week before removal to give people adequate time to move their bikes.

People riding bikes expect to be able to park very close to the door of their destination building. While bike racks may be too much of an aesthetic drawback immediately adjacent to some building entrances, they should be placed within 50 feet of at least one building entrance. Racks should be within eyesight of a building entrance so people can easily spot them if they’re looking; this has been shown to reduce rates of locking to non-racks.

Any new construction should include bike racks in the initial design phase. If possible, projects should include a shelter for racks where bikes would be protected from the elements.

Number of spaces

Our goal is to provide bike parking based on the higher of the following two numbers:

Racks that are very close to multiple buildings can count toward more than one building’s bike parking capacity until they start to show overcrowding.

Rack design

Bike rack design and best practices have changed a lot in the last decade or two; importantly, many older racks do not allow people to use the current gold-standard in lock design, which we encourage our students to purchase and use. Older racks also correlate highly with damage to bicycles, especially on college campuses; before it became common to provide two “touch points” for a bike, poor bike rack design led to many inadvertent games of dominoes with bicycles, leading to broken front forks, bent wheels, and other types of damage.

In addition to upgrading our oldest racks, we also have a need for additional racks in certain areas of campus. Notably, certain buildings like Gulick Hall have high numbers of people locking their bikes to objects other than racks because the only racks are in places where they don’t feel comfortable riding.

Whenever possible, bike racks should fit in aesthetically with the surrounding area. Most new racks should be green, which is both a school brand color and the color of many natural elements around campus.

All new bike racks should provide two “touch points” for the bikes, which helps prevent bikes from falling over and enables owners to use U-locks.

Many racks meet these criteria. Three options for new installation are Dero’s Bike Hitch , the Bike Dock from Bike Fixation, and ‘UX’ Racks on Rails from Madrax. The Hitch is especially suitable outside academic and administrative buildings, where long-term bike parking is less of a concern and aesthetics are a higher priority; the Bike Dock is better for residential buildings, where long-term parking is more common and aesthetics are less of a concern. The ‘UX’ Racks on Rails is well-suited for situations where a rack may need to be relocated every once in a while, for instance during infrequent special events or seasonally for snow removal.

Rack replacement

When possible, older racks should be replaced with racks that meet these new criteria. Factors that influence the decision to replace a rack include:

  1. Is the rack structurally unsound or unsafe?

  2. Has the rack’s design contributed to bicycles being broken?

  3. Is the rack frequently at capacity and could a different rack better accommodate demand?

  4. Does the rack not allow people to properly use U-locks?

  5. Does the rack show signs of age (rust, dents, etc.)?

When a rack is replaced, all efforts should be made to put the old rack to good use. Consider whether the rack can be re-used in an underserved area of campus or whether a local nonprofit might want it. Ask the School of Art if anyone there might want the metal for a future project. If it’s in such bad shape that it can’t be reused, it should go to an appropriate recycling facility.