caMden Bike Stand

From the BBC London Newsfeed:

The latest Design Against Crime idea to go public is the M-shaped cycle stand, the shape of which makes it easier to lock both wheels and frame to the stand and harder for thieves to remove it.
Tested over two years in Camden, north London, and Brighton, the “caMden” stand has now been adopted by councils nationwide.
Adam Thorpe, who headed the team which designed the stand, said: “At the start of the project we saw thousands of people locking just the top tube of their bikes onto stands, which make them easy to steal.
“The shape of our stand makes it obvious that the whole bike needs to be secured. It should encourage more people to cycle, safe in the knowledge that their bikes will still be there upon their return.”

I applaud all effors to create better bicycle infrastructure, but this article made me laugh a little bit. I am one of the cyclists he referrs to who just lock the top tube of their bikes onto stands. Suggesting this makes a bicycle easy to steal is just silly. It doesn’t make a hill of beans which portion of the frame you lock to the stand – nobody’s going to steal it without cutting the bike, the lock, or the stand.

It would have been more accurate for him to say that only locking the top tube makes it easy to steal the wheels, leaving a stripped-down frame still locked to the stand. Ok. Let’s assume that’s what he meant.

Cyclists aren’t stupid (errr… most of them). They know that they’re leaving their wheels unprotected. They do it because they don’t want to have to carry multiple locks around with them! Anyone willing to carry multiple locks currently doesn’t have a problem locking all parts of their bike. You don’t need to lock the wheels onto foreign objects like stands, you can just lock the wheels onto the bike frame, then lock the bike frame to the stand.

A standard sized U-Lock should be able to fit around one wheel, the frame, and the stand. If you want the other wheel secured, you’ve got to carry a separate lock, or at least a cable of some sort to snake through it. A mini u-lock (like I use) will only fit around two of the three. What a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that just locking the back wheel to a stand inside the rear triangle of a frame effectively locks the frame as well. Since the wheel is larger than the rear triangle, even if somebody removes the rear wheel, they can’t steal the frame or the wheel unless they squish, fold, or cut through the rear wheel (it’s possible, but it would probably be easier to just cut through the lock itself). See photo below for an example.

There is one aspect that I do like about this design, though. Since it’s more than just a pole in the ground, it provides somewhat of a flat surface to lean the frame of the bike up against, which is a lot better than just a pole in the ground that allows the bike to rotate around it and fall over.

Ok, so kudos to Mr. Thorpe and london cities for taking bicycle security seriously, but it seems like this new product is solving a non-issue. They look like very fine bike stands, but I fail to see how it adds additional security over standard stands.

2 comments to caMden Bike Stand

  • Rory

    Hey. I have a question for you, but I don't have your email address or phone number. If you have either of mine, get in touch with me.

  • I wonder what they had for stands before. maybe they just had short poles that you could lift the lock right over. you're right though- bikers are pretty clever and usually can figure out some way to secure their bikes. If nothing else, this might bring some attention to biking and encourage new people to try it.