Bike Racks and Bike Shelters for Schools and Education
Cycling is Good
It wasn't long ago that students cycling and walking to school were the norm; today, students usually take the bus or are driven to school. Some schools, colleges and universities have even banned bikes altogether. That's scary to think about. How are students supposed to get their much-needed physical activity?
There are numerous benefits to cycling to school. Engaging in physical activity by biking enhances fitness, promotes cardiovascular health, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves children's motor skills, balance, and coordination. Moving more and getting the recommended daily amount of exercise is also good for kids' mental health as it effectively reduces stress and anxiety.
Additionally, riding a bicycle to school helps reduce CO2 emissions and traffic on the streets during the busy morning hour.
These are all great reasons for your school to encourage more students and parents to bike to school. If you're unsure, however, where to start, read on to find out more.
Bike Dock Solutions Cycle Parking Guide
One thing that stops students, parents and anyone from biking to and from work or school is the lack of cycle storage. Students and their parents worry that even if they cycle to school, there won't be anywhere safe to store their bikes whilst in classes. This is a problem which your school needs to solve to get more people on their wheels.
Sometimes planning for bike parking is simple; you buy a bike rack. Sometimes, it requires more planning. Either way, you want to get the most for your money while staying within your budget. Bike Dock Solutions works with schools, colleges and universities across the country to deliver the most practical and affordable solution. At Bike Dock Solutions, we know the value of quality bike parking, but we also realise that the correct advice is often just as important.
So where do you need to start? Firstly...
Identify Needs and Problem Areas
Taking stock of current bike usage is an essential first step in determining your needs. A simple way to start is to conduct a bike count over three typical days during good weather. As you are counting bikes, take note of these issues:
Are bikes parked, so they are easily accessible?
Are bikes parked where they should be and not locked to trees, posts, benches, etc.?
Having a good idea of how many bikes you would be catering to is the best place to start. However, we always advise our clients to be prepared for the future. Once your students see there is a safe and secure space for their bikes, and you start encouraging more of them to get on wheels, you will likely find more and more of them joining in. This means you can overprovision your bike storage capacity now in anticipation of the growing need, or you can earmark a place for future expansion.
Choose the Right Location
Bike shelters are often relegated to the back of a building or tucked to the side, out of sight. This discourages the use of the bike store as it is not convenient for cyclists. Bike racks or cycle shelters placed out of the view of passers-by allow thieves more time and privacy to steal.
So, the best place to put your bike storage is by a main entrance where it is convenient for bicyclists and in a visible and well-lit area. Not only does the higher visibility cut down on theft, but it also raises the profile of your bike program and will encourage more pupils to cycle to school or university.
In short, when choosing the location of your bike shelters or bike racks, keep in mind your users. Bike storage solutions must be easy to find and get to, accessible to all students and ideally close to your building.
Consider Unique Solutions
When deciding your bike storage strategy, you have several general directions you can go in. You can choose a simpler and more minimalist approach where you install bike stands or bike racks. Or you could consider more complete and secure solutions like bike shelters and compounds.
As we said above, a major reason students do not cycle is the inadequate provision of safe storage for their bikes. Bike stands and cycle racks are a great way to provide security for your pupils' bikes. They are easy to install and use and can protect bicycles from theft when used alongside a good chain.
However, unlike uncovered racks, bike shelters and compounds offer bicycles protection from the elements. A shelter's roof keeps rain and snow off of bikes and their riders, and a compound can provide added security.
Different bike racks and installation methods provide varying levels of security. When choosing a bike rack for your school, college or university, you will probably want to consider these questions:
How important is security? Is theft an issue at your school?
How many bikes will you need to park, and what space is available?
What will the bike rack be placed upon? Asphalt, grass, pavers, concrete?
Capacity and Space Use
Once you have thought about your needs – how many bikes you're likely to store, what type of bike storage solutions you would like to install and what level of security you need, you may have a few additional questions about space and installation surfaces. Here are some of the most popular ones we get answered.
How much space do I need?
A typical bike needs an area of approximately 0.6 x 1.6 meters to park efficiently and still allow easy access to each cycle. However, the exact amount of space you need will depend on several factors, especially the type of bike shelter, bike rack or bike stand you choose.
As a first point of reference, always check the size specifications on the particular product you are looking at, or go to our bike storage calculator.
Another worry clients often have is how the bike storage they purchase will be fixed to the ground with respect to surfaces. Different products may work best on different flooring. However, we can usually find bike storage that fits your requirements and space.
Concrete is the best and least expensive surface material for various rack types and installation methods. Both underground and overground mounts work well on concrete and are easy to install.
Paving Slabs and Asphalt
Other hard surfaces such as asphalt, pavers, or tile may or may not be suitable for a surface-mounted option. Factors affecting the suitability of these materials include:
The thickness of the surface material
The makeup of the below-grade material
Freestanding racks are recommended for these surface types.
Dirt and Grass
For organic materials such as dirt and grass, you will need a bike rack with a freestanding option, or you may pour concrete footings to anchor the stand down.
Whatever the surface is, there is usually a solution, we are always happy to advise on specific cases, and all you need to do is get in touch with one of our experienced advisers. We will find a way to make bike storage work for you and your premises.
I wanted to express my thanks to all the staff at Bike Dock Solutions for the very competitive and professional service they deliver. They were able to demonstrate flexibility and consideration to meet my school's design requirements."Paul Jordan, Headteacher, Thames View Infant School, Dagenham
As the matters of cleaner air and reduction of CO2 emissions are getting more and more pressing, government and local authority funding is becoming increasingly common. It is always worth checking with your local Council about what is available to you as a school or if any current national funding programs are running.
Local Authority Funding for Cycle Shelters
Local Authorities have allocated budgets to support and develop local schemes to develop their communities.
The starting point would be to contact your local Travel Planning Officer at your Council; they will be able to advise on any schemes that would be relevant and offer advice.
Grants and Charities aimed at increasing Cycling Infrastructure
Sustrans are the leading UK charity aiming to enable people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Further information can be found their website.