The Art of Bike Racks

“The Acorn City” – Raleigh, NC

“The Acorn City” – Raleigh, NC

Some have said that Da Vinci’s sketch books contain drawings of a bicycle.  This may or may not be true but we do know that a bicycle without pedal appeared in 1817.  It enjoyed limited popularity.  In 1870, the first all metal High Wheel Bicycle was introduced and named.   Bicycles have evolved considerably since those days and so have bike racks.

Right from the start, trees, signs, benches, and just about any other immobile objects have been used to secure bicycles.    U racks, wave racks, and bollards remain popular, but many cities are opting for more sophisticated designs.

The Bison in Norman, OK

The Bison in Norman, OK

The “bike station,” is an indoor or outdoor area that houses hundreds of bicycle.  It may also offer lockers, changing rooms, and rental, repair, and sales facilities, such as the one in WashingtonDC. (home.bikestation.com/bikestation-​washingtondc)

The Tomato outside a market Rock Hill, SC

The Tomato outside a market Rock Hill, SC

The Japanese have taken bike storage to a whole other level – below ground.  The bicycle is rolled onto a street level platform that whisks it away until retrieved by its owner. http://youtu.be/yIHrmN_ptJc

Some towns have re-invented the bike rack as street art.  Recently, we learned of the City Center Bike Rack Design competition in which the winning bike rack designs will be placed in City Center Philadelphia.  Other communities have launched or completed similar projects, with some interesting results.