Life Cycle’s mission is to support more individuals to get cycling and to help them overcome the barriers that are preventing them from getting going. As an organisation, one of the issues that we find hardest to advise on is the issue of where to park your bike at home. Those who live in flats, houses on narrow terraced streets (which is half of Bristol), or who share accommodation are often prevented from cycling by virtue of having nowhere to store a bike in their home. We’ve heard stories of people keeping their bikes under their bed, and having to carry it up and down three flights of stairs every time they want to use it - which is enough to put all, but the most committed, off cycling. However, this could all change with the installation of Bristol’s first ‘bike hangar’ on a street in Windmill Hill thanks to the joint efforts of local residents and Bristol City Council.
The Bike Hangar was first used in London Borough of Lambeth to address domestic cycle parking issues, and is now being widely used by local authorities. Essentially it is a large, lockable container that takes up one car parking space, and allows secure parking for six-bikes. Local residents wanting a bike parking space in the container can apply for a permit and then receive a key enabling them to keep their bike in their street in a dry and safe place.
Not only does the scheme provide storage for bikes, but it offers security, reducing the likelihood of bike theft. There can’t be many long-term cyclists who haven’t had a bike nicked at some point, and will know of the agony it causes. For many, having a bike stolen is the last straw – it puts an abrupt end to their cycling days as they decide not to replace their bike. So hopefully, the new hangars will prove their worth both in terms of enabling people to cycle, and in reducing bike theft.
This of course remains to be seen, but I for one am extremely optimistic about the new hangars, and hope in due course to see them springing up all over Bristol.