Racking up Points

The good news is a lot of places have started adding bicycle racks to accommodate people who arrive by bike. The bad news is, these racks don’t actually accommodate people who arrive by bike.

Putting a rack in some dark corner does not make a place bike friendly.

Racking up Points

I’d no more want to leave my bike there as a parent would want to leave their child here:

Racking up Points

Even when the bike rack is placed in plain daylight out front, it doesn’t necessarily mean we can actually lock up to it.

Racking up Points

Also, the bike rack you bought may have been designed to fit your budget but not actually designed to fit real bikes.

Racking up Points

These bike-friendly gestures are basically empty gestures. None of us will bother to lock up to these racks since we want to keep our bikes (and all it’s pieces) intact. It’s our ride home after all.

Instead, we will lock up to something, anything, more secure.

Racking up Points

So, when buying and installing a bike rack please consult someone who rides a bike.

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49 Comments on "Racking up Points"

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I install racks in DC. Thank you, thank you for posting this. Bike racks aren’t something people think about enough.

Eric Herot

Sometimes it seems like they don’t get thought about any further than “sell me the cheapest thing available that’s called a ‘bike rack’.”

Eric Herot

Nary a truer post has been made on this blog.

Do you ever get the feeling that most bike racks are just junked police barricades that people were able to pick up at the scrap yard for a few bucks? Given the vast quantities of money people spend on parking real estate, the scant provisions for bicycle parking are truly perplexing (especially at the city parking level).

Andy M-S

My local Bruegger’s is on a bike trail, and so has a bike rack, but it’s in the back corner, essentially invisible from the store–which is otherwise surrounded by parking lot. I usually skip the rack and just lean my bike against the window and then sit next to it. So far, no complaints (and some nice compliments on the bike).

I’m going to have to try the Stop’n’Shop trick!


Nothing would make me happier than to ban companies from selling dishrack-style bike racks. They are everywhere and terrible! Every indoor parking garage I’ve been to installs these, and my bike won’t fit over the top of them, so I’m extremely limited as to how many places I can actually lock up!

OMG yes! My least favorite example is Whole Foods, who finally responded to incessant demands for more parking by putting in a wheelbender which is nearly impossible for any bike with fenders or a basket to lock to, and which blocks the more useful Wave style racks. Annoying greenwashing by a company that should know better. It would be so easy for big companies like WF to have a corporate spec which dictates a brand of rack, and the installation details. I have brought my bike into a couple of places without any issues. I think next time I go… Read more »

Local WF is okay (big looping pipes embedded in concrete), local HD is not (rack sits on dirt, can be knocked over with a gentle push).

Right now, I rely on the cargo bike’s sheer self-locked mass and weirdness to make it unattractive to thieves. I suppose, in a pinch, I could add e-assist, just as anti-theft ballast.