It may be stating the obvious, but an easily overlooked reason why many people don’t cycle, is that they have nowhere to lock their bike at home. Most of Bristol’s housing stock was not designed with cycle parking in mind, and even new builds which are supposed to cater for cyclists, often do so in a limited way.
City living, in old houses with front steps, divided into flats, shared by lots of people often without front gardens and almost always without garages are difficult places to store bikes. As are large blocks of flats, where no provision has been made for bikes. At the same time, pavements cluttered with cars and sometimes bins, make it extremely difficult to get in and out with a bike.
Ring any bells?
The truth is that many, many people live in property that does not currently cater for bikes; and if we want to get more people onto bikes, this is something we need to tackle as a priority. Retro-fitting cycle storage can be done, and the good news is it can be done on a budget too. Something as simple as wall hooks, or a pulley system in the hall, so you can hoist you bike up out of the way, will set you back £25 - £50.
Of course, this may not be a workable solution, if you share with lots of people or have kids, who all have bikes too, and you may need to find a way to keep yours and everyone else’s bikes secure and dry outside. We’ve discovered some great DIY bike shelters around Bristol from which you can take inspiration.
We’ve also worked with a local designer and landlord to develop ideas for outside shelters in really tiny spaces. The shelter below in a very narrow front garden, has space for two bikes, and has a hinged roof to make access easier.
It’s worth talking to your landlord about installing some secure parking. There are good reasons why landlords should consider it – not least that properties with secure cycle parking are few and far between so landlords who provide such facilities are never going to have trouble finding tenants.
At the end of the day, lack of cycle parking, or inadequate facilities for parking do stop people from cycling. Hauling bikes up and down stairs or having to lock a bike in the rain on a railing or gate, is enough to put people off taking to two wheels. To overcome these problems in existing properties Life Cycle has produced a report which is full of ideas and suggestions on how to retro-fit good parking into existing properties.
We are also keen to see good cycle parking design incorporated into the planning system because ultimately we need all new builds to have ample, high quality parking available as this will help make cycling easy and therefore more likely to be the chosen method of transport for residents.