Bike to Work Day 2010

Bike to Work Day 2010 was not a big hit with my coworkers…  the only bike on the rack this morning (around 8:15ish) was my 1980 Schwinn LeTour (de Taco).

Oh well.  More room on the trails for me!  Right?  Anyone else out there ride to work today?

Incidentally, let’s take a moment to talk about this bike rack at my office building.  There’s a little more to providing good bike parking than simply setting a bike rack down in a parking lot and calling it good.  Here’s what my office building got right:

  • The rack is located very well.  It’s on the lower level of the 2-level parking ramp, which means it’s sheltered from rain, snow, and sun.  It’s located right next to the stairs out of the parking ramp, in a high pedestrian traffic area of the ramp – and as close to one of the doors to the building as it could be and still be sheltered by the ramp.  Fantastic!

Here’s what they got wrong:

  • To someone that doesn’t ride a bike, this probably looks like a perfectly normal and typical bike rack.  And that’s exactly what it is.  This is probably the most ubiquitous bike rack design ever – and most cyclists hate racks like this.  You’re supposed to slide one of the wheels between two of those vertical bars – those bars place lateral pressure on the bike rim, which holds the entire weight of the bike up.  The only problem is that rims aren’t designed to withstand lateral pressure – they’re designed to withstand vertical pressure.  Most cyclists call racks like this a “wheel bender” because that’s exactly what it will do to your wheels.  This is especially true if the rack is nearing capacity, so people are likely to bump into your bike while trying to get theirs in or out of the rack.  Also, this type of rack makes it extremely difficult to adequately lock your bike to the rack (the frame will be too far away from the rack to use a u-lock).  Notice how I’m using the rack incorrectly in the photo… I’m just leaning the frame of my bike against the side of the rack.  This is the best way to use a rack like this.
  • The rack is not secured to the ground.  This means that it is susceptible to vandalism.  Specifically, it means that on snowy days –  days when the sheltered spots in the parking ramp are in high demand – some motorists will think it’s reasonable to just pick up the rack and move it out of the way so they can park there.  And they’ll do this whether or not there are bikes chained to the rack at the time or not.  Really.  It happens.
OK, so tell me about your bike ride to work this morning?  How was it?

11 thoughts on “Bike to Work Day 2010”

  1. Our local bike to work day was a rainy day in May, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm for our new bicycling mayor. I had a roundabout route that day, far from the downtown celebration and paid the penalty for still not having put a front fender on.

    My garage has an excellent bike rack, the kind the looks like a sea monster, so easy to lock, and next to the exit where there is a manned (or womanned) ticket booth for a little bit of extra security.

  2. @david – I think that the national bike to work day is in May as you've said. I think Minneapolis pushes theirs back a couple weeks hoping for better weather…. it still rained today…

  3. @InspectorReuben – what, you can't carry your tools & ladders & stuff on a bike? You're just not using the right bike. HA. Just kidding. Some professions do not lend themselves well to bicycle transportation… yours is probably one of them. Hey, did you make it out to the last police bike auction?

  4. I was surprised to see what seemed to be fewer riders on bike to work day than on most other days this spring. Must have been the threat of rain that scared people off – I personally didn't get rained on somehow. Since I didn't realize that it was bike to work day until about 10am when I had a meeting with a coworker wearing a sticker saying "I Biked," I also missed out on all of the free stuff being given away downtown. Anyways, nice cool pleasant ride, but need to prepare for next year so that I can collect free crap.

  5. Ugh, I hate those bike racks. I was confused by this when I first started riding again because they worked GREAT for me as an elementary school student riding to school. Then I remembered how much smaller our wheels were back then.

  6. My bike is further than my office so I opted to walk – from my bedroom to my livingroom. 🙂 The bike's on the other side of the livingroom in the dining nook.

  7. @Joe – I was keeping my eyes open on the greenway for n00bs, too, but didn't spot anyone obvious…

    @Emily – we ALL hate those racks. Anytime you see one of those racks, you can be certain that it was selected by someone who hasn't had to lock a bike up in a long time (since they were in elementary school…)

    @Ren – Must be nice. I'd just watch Tyra and court tv all day long if I worked from home.

  8. I totally didn't know it was bike to work day. Dang! I'll just have to make my own "bike to work" day once my new tire comes in the mail.

    That bike rack is pretty unbelievable. Are you allowed to bring your bike inside?

  9. @Sassy Sarah – I AM allowed to bring the bike inside, but I don't really like to.. I've done it before when I've forgotten my lock or something… but I generally think bikes belong outside.

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