Bike Racks

Bike Racks, Bike Sharing, Custom Work, Walkability, Bikeability, Liveability

Sustainability That Looks as Good as It Feels

Karl Miller Center

Portland State University just celebrated the grand opening of the Karl Miller Center, a state-of-the art facility featuring a bright, open atrium. This eye-catching building is a campus jewel, so the bike racks slated for installation right outside need to look the part. 

 

Clint Culpepper, the Bicycle Program Coordinator at PSU, could have purchased brand new racks to install, but utilizing refurbished bike racks better aligns with the university’s focus on sustainability. “Nothing would make me feel worse than turning a bunch of bike racks that were totally usable and serviceable into metal recycling just to buy brand new ones,” he said. Last year Clint enlisted the services of Huntco Site Furnishings to transform dozens of old, beat up staple racks into freshly painted bike corrals, and he decided it was time to refurbish a second batch.

From Clint’s perspective, the hardest part of the process is ensuring there is adequate capacity for bike parking while the old racks are removed and refreshed. The rest is as easy as making a phone call. Huntco picks up piles of assorted staple racks, sorts them, and welds matching racks onto sets of rails to make bike corrals. Fresh powder coating is applied and then the corrals are delivered back to PSU, looking good as new and ready for installation.

 

The updated bike corrals don’t just benefit campus cyclists. “Everyone on campus likes it when the bike racks look nice,” Clint reports. Not every user of a building wants to have a bike rack sitting right outside the front door, but there’s less resistance when the racks look good. So when the next batch of refurbished racks is delivered in a few weeks, rest assured that the Karl Miller Center will get the dazzling accessories it deserves.

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All Photos:  Thomas Teal 

 

Bike Racks, Bikeability, Liveability, Walkability

More Ideas from France: How to Turn an Orphaned Lot into a Neighborhood Treasure

Every city has orphaned lots: those islands of land stranded by an unfortunate intersection, too small or oddly-shaped to build on. But while some linger as undignified patches of asphalt or concrete, others become true neighborhood amenities, often because of smart use of street furniture and bike infrastructure.

Here in the US where uniform grids reign supreme, a triangular plot of land is pretty rare. But in European cities, defined by centuries of overlapping urban design, they’re everywhere. Lille, a city in northern France that we’ve written about before, is no exception. Here’s one cut-off triangle, in the working-class Moulins neighborhood:

Moulins_Neighborhood_Overhead_view.jpg

What potential do you see in that little triangle? A park? A bikeshare station? A patch of calm in the urban fabric that draws people together? How about all three?

Here’s what it looks like at ground level:

This little scrap of land, it turns out, has a lot going on: shaded benches, a line of bike racks, a heavily-used bikeshare station, and a perimeter of bollards to protect the whole thing. What could’ve been an urban afterthought is, instead, a neighborhood gathering point, serving commuters in the morning and evening, and friends and families in the afternoon and evening.

 

It also makes nearby outdoor seating much more attractive—here’s a mid-morning view from “Le Triporteur”, a restaurant/cafe across the street:

By 7pm, that patch of sidewalk will be packed with local residents, eating frites and drinking Belgian beer, despite heavy traffic on the major avenue right out front.

It’s a scene replicated all over town, and in countless other European cities: find an orphaned bit of land, protect it from traffic, add features that invite bikers and pedestrians, and you quickly have a little slice of community, that entices people outside and into local businesses.

 

 

Here’s another example, along Rue Solferino, a busy street about a mile away:

What was just a strip too narrow to build on instead becomes a lovely, bollard-protected public square, enhanced by trees, art, and seating for a facing cafe

Obviously, there’s more to these wonderful public spaces than just some bollards and a couple of benches, but they couldn’t exist without them. Infrastructure does more than just provide a place to sit. It also defines a space and lays a foundation. And what these tiny parks—and thousands of others like them—clearly show, is that once that foundation is laid, amazing things can happen in the most neglected places.

 

Bike Racks, Bikeability, Liveability

Bike Parking App: Snap a Rack, Build a Map

 Rack Locator

Rack Locator

Nathaniel Burnett, cycling enthusiast and founder of The Bicycle Parking Project, hopes that his app will eliminate one excuse people have for not riding their bikes. The app utilizes both external data sources and user-generated content to create a map of existing bike racks. Users can plan ahead or instantly locate bike parking near their destination without scrambling to find a secure rack on foot.

Publicly available data from many metropolitan areas including New York, San Francisco, and Chicago have already been imported into the app, populating several thousand bike racks per city. App users have occasionally supplied city data, too. A cyclist in Omaha, Nebraska, wanted local racks to be included on the map. He contacted the city to request the required information and forwarded the resulting data file to Nathaniel. Omaha’s bike racks were on the map later that same day.

 

Users can add individual bike racks by quickly snapping and submitting a photo through the app. The new location marker and corresponding photo detail is displayed in real time, though Nathaniel monitors all submissions and deletes any that aren’t legitimate. User-added rack locations have popped up across the globe, including cities in Europe, India, Australia, and South America. Users can also report location markers where the rack is missing, typically due to an error in the data file.

 DIY Rack Mapping

DIY Rack Mapping

 Adding the rack photo to the map

Adding the rack photo to the map

 A pin indicates the rack has been added

A pin indicates the rack has been added

Before creating his own, Nathaniel tried using another bike parking app. He was disappointed that the new racks he submitted were never incorporated into the map and wanted his version to empower fellow cyclists to actively develop this community resource. The more users interact with the app, the more refined and helpful the map will become.

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For cyclists who don’t need help finding parking, the app has one additional tool: it allows users to drop a pin to mark the location of their bike. In areas where bike racks are prevalent or in unfamiliar neighborhoods, this feature ensures riders don’t forget where they parked.

The Bicycle Parking Project app is available for both iOS and Android. While the number of downloads is still in the thousands, the positive feedback Nathaniel has received from users encourages him to continue the work. As the map becomes more comprehensive in local areas, it may also become a resource that city officials and business owners utilize to identify where there is an absence of bicycle parking.

Header Image Courtesy CC: Diane Yee

 

Bike Racks, Bike Rooms, Bike Theft, Custom Work, Liveability, Bikeability

The Peloton Apartments: Helping a Bike-Themed Building Live Up to its Name

 (Image courtesy peloton Apartments)

(Image courtesy peloton Apartments)

When the name of your apartment complex is Peloton, you pretty much have to get the bike amenities right. And the Peloton Apartments, recently completed on a rapidly growing stretch of North Williams Avenue in Portland, does not disappoint.

For the non-bike-nerds out there, a peloton is a group of cyclists riding in tight formation, to reduce air drag during a race or group ride. It might seem like an odd name for a brand new, somewhat luxurious housing development whose tenants are more likely to be programmers than bike mechanics, but this is Portland after all, and the bike-friendly lifestyle takes all kinds. It helps that the Peloton’s three buildings are flanked on either side by two of the busiest bike routes in the city: in warmer months, rush hour traffic on North Williams and its southbound sister North Vancouver is upwards of 40% bicycles.

 Santoprene protects on the Burnside racks.

Santoprene protects on the Burnside racks.

So in addition to three rooftop decks and some beautifully tricked-out common areas, the Peloton also serves as a kind of showcase of great bike amenities. There’s a whole ground-level bike parking area in the main building, equipped with dozens of Huntco’s Burnside staple racks, their elegant rectangular tubing softened on the edges with Santoprene bumpers, to protect delicate paint jobs. And set back from the woonerf that divides the complex (a delightful Dutch-style alleyway, accessible to the public) is a protected bike room with more than 200 Huntco Hawthorne wall-mounted racks, perfect for that second (or third) bike you don’t use quite as often.

 BV-1 bike lockers and Burnside racks

BV-1 bike lockers and Burnside racks

Banking on the idea that several tenants will have bikes that they treasure and pamper, there’s an in-building Bike Club room with bench-mounted repair stands and a variety tools, and 10 gorgeous, mint-colored BV-1 bike lockers. Between these amenities, even the most road-obsessed tenant is going to feel well taken care of — an unusual value proposition for an apartment building.

 

The net effect of all these amenities, so thoughtfully installed, is a sense that this is a place that really means what it says. There are plenty of new apartment buildings using bike-centric imagery or messaging to sound more current, or more eco-friendly, but for anyone really making a go of active transportation as a daily habit, this kind of infrastructure is more than just a nice afterthought — it’s a game changer.

 

Bike Racks, Liveability, Bike Rooms

A Bike-Friendly Brewery is Up Front About its Commitment to Cycling

When Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing decided to expand operations to Asheville, North Carolina, they knew bikes were going to be involved before they even got started. The brewery’s flagship beer is called Fat Tire, after all, in reference to the European bike journeys that first inspired its founders, and bikes have featured prominently on its labels and marketing efforts for years. What non-Coloradans might not know is that Fort Collins, where the brewery has its headquarters, is one of the bike-friendliest cities in the nation, a fact that New Belgium has both embraced and encouraged since its founding 25 years ago

In addition to brewing beer in Asheville, New Belgium also constructed a 141,000 square foot distribution facility – essentially an enormous refrigerated warehouse – that employs dozens of local residents and earned LEED Platinum certification shortly after opening in 2015. The Huntco-built Fin bike racks out front were part of that, but they also send a message: that bikes and beer are part of a happy, healthy life, and that New Belgium wants to see more of both.

“Some of our employees have actually bought homes within biking distance of the distribution center,” says Michael Craft,

a long-time employee who moved out to Asheville after the expansion. He goes on to explain that Asheville’s improving bike infrastructure, combined with New Belgium company incentives (employees get a free bike after one year on staff), has attracted workers inclined toward active transportation, and inspired others to give it a try.

 

Having a great-looking place to lock up when you get to work certainly doesn’t hurt either.

 

Photography: Oppenheim Photo

 

Bike Racks, Custom Work, Liveability

Bike Rack Resurrection

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Recycling’s usually something we associate with beer cans, soda bottles and newspapers — simple things you can dump into a hopper and watch new products emerge from the other end (or something like that). Recycling’s not for anything big, expensive or useful we’re told, especially if we inquire about a damaged electronic gadget, and are advised to simply get a new one. 

We already had a bunch of racks piled in a storage area, and realized there was a lot we could probably do with them.
— Clint Culpepper, Bicycle Program Coordinator at PSU

old racks, removed for construction

What about bike racks though? Clint Culpepper, the Bicycle Program Coordinator at Portland State University, faced this question a few months back, when a series of construction projects required removal of dozens of old staple racks. “We already had a bunch of racks piled in a storage area, and realized there was a lot we could probably do with them.”

 

In the early days of on-campus bike parking (more than, say, 10 years ago), racks were bolted into the concrete individually — a pretty labor-intensive approach when you’ve got thousands of bikes to accommodate. These days, the Bike Corral is the gold standard: four staple racks welded to two strips of plate steel for perfect positioning, better security, and faster installation.

 

Because most of the cost of a bike rack is in the steel, reuse makes a lot of sense, both environmentally and economically

prepped for fresh coating

“We basically called up Casey [Rice, at Huntco],” says Culpepper, “and said ‘Can you take care of this for us?’” Over the course of a few weeks, we trucked over 100 used racks of various sizes, shapes and states of repair into our shop. We burned off the old chipped paint, cut off the mounting flanges, welded them into corrals, and sent them off for powder-coating. 

 

The result? 40 pristine corrals of consistent height and shape, in flawless PSU green, ready for installation. The cost? 40% less than buying new ones, not to mention massive energy savings by keeping the old ones out of the scrapyard. 

recycled, Refreshed and ready to roll

a new life, as corrals

Culpepper explains that reuse is already a familiar option for PSU: a popular, long-running campus program has been refurbishing old bikes and providing them to students for years, part of an overall ethic of getting the most out of what you already have. As the campus continues to grow and evolve, and the fraction of students biking to school keeps rising, refurbished infrastructure doesn’t just make sense for the environment, it also makes sense for the bottom line.

 

Bike Sharing, Liveability, Bike Racks

Portland’s Turning Orange

One of the things we love about making bike racks, street furniture and other public amenities is how they can transform streetscapes, letting people know that this is a destination, not just a thruway. And one of the best examples of it just hit the streets of Portland, in the form of a new bikeshare system called “Biketown”.

The bikes and the racks that make up the Biketown system aren’t just reliable and well-designed; they’re also orange. Bright, eye-catching, unignorable orange. The bold color (and the odd name) both stem from the fact that Nike (Oregon’s most famous company) kicked in several million dollars to make it happen. And no, in case you’re wondering, it’s not pronounced “Bikey-town” -- though plenty of us call it that anyway.

Regardless of how you say it, the system’s impossible to miss. Driving through the city’s downtown or east side, chances are good that you’ll catch a glimpse of orange every minute or two, and the overall effect is powerful. Portland’s got plenty of bike infrastructure, of course, but if you’re not riding a bike, it’s easy to ignore. A 60-foot long row of bright orange fins, on the other hand, is a quietly exuberant reminder that bikes are part of what makes the city – as ordinary and indispensable as bus stops, storefronts and parking lots.

 

It’s exciting because it means that everyone who travels through the city must, sooner or later, acknowledge the existence of biking here, not as a temporary anomaly, but a permanent fixture. It’s the sort of subtle shift in perception that organized rides and awareness campaigns try to engineer, but rarely succeed at. A similar shift happened when NYC’s Citibike program launched, helping to shepherd along a citywide embrace of bikes, bike lanes and bike commuting that eventually earned it the title of Best Cycling City in the US.

Now, Huntco didn’t make these racks, but we love them just the same. They’re elegant, they’re sturdy, they look great. And more important, they make the city better for everyone.

 

Liveability, Bike Racks, Bike Rooms

Bike Room of the Month: The Emery

The Emery, a 7-story apartment building in Portland’s rapidly growing South Waterfront neighborhood, wears its eco credentials on its sleeve. A tight cluster of high-efficiency apartments, located next to a streetcar, light rail and aerial tram station and a major bike route, the Emery is actively marketed toward young professional singles and couples interested in active transportation and low-car living. For a building like this, a great bike facility is a necessity, not an amenity.

 

·        1061 Square Feet, with plenty of circulating room

·        160 Wall-mounted Stirrup Racks, black powder coat finish

·        Keycard Access and 24/7 security camera monitoring


An additional 20 Stirrup Racks are mounted in a publicly accessible hallway next to the bike room, providing covered parking for visitors and employees of the restaurants on the Emery’s ground floor. In smart, modern buildings like the Emery, every bike gets a civilized place to park.

 

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IMAGES VIA www.theemerypdx.com

 

Liveability, Bike Racks

More Parking in the Pearl? Yes.

Bike Parking, that is!

 

We're proud to announce the new LEED-Gold-pursuing Pearl West building, designed by Hacker Architects and GBD, installed stainless steel Sol racks. They've done a beautiful job with the built-in outdoor furnishings to create a walkable, park-like space. 

 

Go test em out! (It's a good excuse to swing by REI, up on the next block.)

 

We were lucky enough to get an install shot.

And we stopped by the other day to see the finished space. Cant wait to see some businesses in there. (Our designer is super excited about the Wacom Store already.)

 

Bike Racks, Liveability

Why do bike corrals look like that?

IMAGE CREDIT: THE IMPRESSION THAT I GET / CC 2.0 LICENSE

Here in Portland, bike corrals are a big deal. These on-street rack clusters have been popping up in front of commercial and public venues since 2001, and the city currently boasts over 130 of them – more than any other city in North America, and enough to hold over 2000 bikes. You’ve probably heard about their advantages already: 10 times the vehicle density of car parking, better businesses visibility, improved pedestrian safety (especially when installed near intersections), not to mention the fact that bike-bound customers tend to visit more often and spend more.

 

The way these corrals get designed and installed has changed a lot over the years, though, and their standardized form gives some great pointers for anyone trying to design a public bike parking area. Take a look at the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s official design drawing, and a few things immediately jump out.

Click to Enlarge

For one thing, every rack has breathing room: 28 inches between racks, and two feet from the curb. Years of trial and error have shown this to be the sweet spot, maximizing parking density while still letting riders fit a bike on both sides of each rack. And unlike those first corrals in front of PGE (now Providence) Park, which placed racks perpendicular to the curb, current corrals angle them in about 30 degrees. This keeps bikes from intruding too much on the active roadway--especially important when you’re parking a longtail with an extended wheelbase. 

 

The other big advancement is in how corrals get protected and accessed. Other early examples, like the corral in front of Stumptown Coffee on SE Belmont St, are completely surrounded by raised curbs and reflective posts, which do a great job of keeping cars out, but also make it tough to roll a heavily loaded bike in. Current designs put a raised parking block at either end, but leave the long, street-facing side open, marked off with a bold reflective stripe. Combined with bike-stenciled access spaces at either end, this creates a sort of miniature bike parking lot with easy roll-in and roll-out.

"EARLY VERSION" IMAGE CREDIT: SCOTT BEALE / LAUGHING SQUID / CC 2.0 LICENSE

"CURRENT VERSION" IMAGE CREDIT: GREG RAISMAN / CC 2.0 LICENSE

The bad news, if you’re a street-facing business in Portland, is that these corrals are so popular that there’s a year-long waiting list to get one installed. The good news for everyone else, though, is that these principles work just about anywhere else, and the math is the same: a 29’ corral holds 12 bikes, versus just a single car when parallel parked.

 

 

For more information, check out Huntco’s Bike Corral product page.

 

Bike Racks, Custom Work

What can you do with a customized rack?

In progress, At the shop


We’ve been making customized bike racks and site-specific furnishings for years, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve fabricated cats.  

 

The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) in Portland is a great volunteer-based, veterinarian-founded organization that takes in thousands of stray cats every year from around the region for spaying or neutering, all at no charge. They’d originally wanted a couple of standard Sol bike racks for their their new building, but realized during planning that it was also an opportunity to get their message out to the neighborhood in a friendly, playful way. So this is what they had us build instead: 

Install in progress at the new FCCO building


The racks (which work just like a typical Sol rack) are instantly recognizable as cat faces, but with a unique detail: the flat-topped ear on one side is what’s called an “ear tip”, and it’s a standard indication that a stray has already been spayed or neutered. So in a way, the racks help spread the word about spaying and neutering without saying a word. 

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Because we do all of our fabrication here in the US, Huntco is able take on all kinds of custom orders, often on short notice and based on simple, straightforward descriptions from the client or architect.


Besides being a lot of fun for us — who wouldn’t want to fabricate an enormous cat face out of powder-coated steel? — they also add unmistakable character to the streetscape, and help organizations announce themselves in a way that’s a lot more approachable and distinctive than another sign or billboard.


This project was in Portland, but people are looking for secure, functional bike parking in cities all over the US. Here’s hoping more of it has a face that makes you smile.

See more examples of custom bike rack and site furnishings here.


 

Bike Racks, Bike Sharing

Learning to (Bike) Share: Exploring Multi-User Cycling

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Adding a bike share system is an excellent way for any major metro to cut down on traffic, add easy travel options for tourists and city dwellers alike, and boost local economy. 

Cities nationwide are implementing public and private programs, each with a different way of payment and different share policies. The question for bike share planners: Is there a simple method for people to share bikes?

 

Huntco Site Furnishings and Go By Bike Make it Easy
 

The Portland program, set up at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus, is the latest site to try out the bike share model that was originally developed at Intel® and has been further explored by the Open Bike Initiative.  

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Go By Bike stand image courtesy: gobybikepdx.com

 

Even though a high tech company designed the system–there is not a lot of tech involved–making the system simple and easy to use. The Go By Bike share at OHSU uses distinctive blue bikes, blue metal bike racks by Huntco, and a combination U-lock for secure bike lockup. 

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Go By Bike U-Lock image courtesy: bikeportland.org

 

OHSU employees and students, who register with an OHSU email, can choose a bike from the rack and text a number to receive the bike’s specific U-lock combination. Users can access the system within a day of signup.

 

The open-source lock-based system lowers the barrier of capital startup costs, which for Docking systems can be out of reach for smaller budgets. Docking stations are around $50,000 each, require a power source, and the bikes must be locked to a slot in the dock. Kiel Johnson, the owner of Go By Bike, estimates that this 2-node, 13-bike system costs under $9,000 to set up. He also notes "Setting up the technical part of the system costs $900, the only other part are custom racks and bikes + maintenance…great for businesses and campuses."

 

Locks vs. Docks

Using locks facilitates a more conventional bike usage style. Cyclists can ride and run errands as they wish, without having to worry about finding a specific docking station while using the borrowed bike to avoid overtime fees. 


Docking stations can be necessary where urban bike parking is sparse or inconsistent. These docking stations are a way to claim public space, and ensure a safe location out of high traffic areas. This is less of an issue when an area has plenty of space in the form of protected racks and lockup areas. 

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Image courtesy: Adam Fagen/cc/flickr

 

It is yet to be seen if docks or locks are the better long-term answer. The appropriateness of each structure will vary from city to city and will depend on the existing views regarding bikes, infrastructure, and political disposition. 

 

Portland-wide Bike Share

Starting in the summer of 2016, Portland, Oregon will experiment with a hybrid of dock and lock methods. The large-scale 75-station/750-cycle system, run by Motivate (of CitiBike fame) will feature credit card payment machines at bike drop-off/pick-up locations. The custom bikes come with smart locks and can be parked at any rack for the duration of the cycle trip. Bikes will need to be returned to a Motivate station when the cyclist is finished with their excursion.  


DIY Bike Share? 

Smaller, DIY operators that are interested in providing low-maintenance/-infrastructure bike shares have the potential to crop up all over Portland. Neighborhood associations, facility managers, small businesses, campus associations, city councils, and hospitality ventures have a vested interest in promoting bike share systems. 

 

The Ace Hotel, a Portland fixture, has started its own bike share program and offers house bikes to borrow for free, or hotel patrons can rent custom made cycles (by Jordan Hufnagel) for a reasonable price. Needless to say, having your brand roll around the city can’t be bad for business.

ace_hotel_Bikeshare.com

Photo Courtesy: ACE Hotel

Envisioning the Future

Whether bike shares come from large corporate ventures, or DIY small business; regardless of which method, docks or locks, are used; it is clear that with the rapid growth in Portland proper and the nation’s other cities, there is a need for accessible and affordable transportation.

 

 

 

Bike Theft, Bike Racks

Vandal-Proofing: Safety Bolts

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We make our bike rack installations as difficult as possible for thieves to remove or tamper with, without taking extreme measures. 

All Huntco flange bike racks are available with a minimum of two breakaway nuts (as shown here, one per side). The Burnside, Sellwood, and Fremont racks all come with four bolts. Security is our priority!