Bike Rooms, Bikeability, Custom Work, Liveability, Walkability
Welcome to Amsterdam!
If you read our blog, then you might already know that Amsterdam has some of the world’s best-designed bike infrastructure, which helps explain why over half of all commutes in the Dutch city are by bike. This has lots of benefits—less traffic congestion, better health, safer streets—but it also poses a surprising problem: where to put all those bikes when people aren’t riding them.
In residential neighborhoods, the solution is bike racks and corrals, often mounted on sidewalk bump-outs in quiet side streets.
But what about places where everybody wants to park? When Amsterdammers take the train, go to the library, work in a big office park, or see a movie or concert, they often arrive by bike. At places this popular, a few racks won’t cut it.
Enter the underground bike garage. Most Dutch cities have a few of them; Amsterdam has over 20. To American ears, it might sound extreme to dig out a garage just for bikes, but it’s not really that different from the bike rooms that office and apartment buildings in the US increasingly offer. In both cases, the idea is simple: provide a safe, easily accessible, weather-protected place to park, and people are more likely to make biking a habit, and not take up so much expensive car parking. In the Netherlands, the logic (and benefits) are just scaled up to the city level.
Here’s one example of a gemeentelijke fietsenstallingen (municipal bike parking) garage. This one’s next to Paradiso, a legendary concert hall and nightclub located in a converted church next to the Singelgracht canal.
A lot of thought goes into the design of garages like these, starting with getting in and out. Larger garages often have ramps or moving walkways, but this is a relatively small fietsenstallingen, so you take the stairs. Notice, though, that there are small channels on either side to roll your bike down.
On closer inspection, these turn out to be more than just ramps. The “downhill” channel on the right side is lined with stiff bristles that grip your bike tire and slow its decent. The “uphill” one is actually a tiny conveyor belt! — simply roll your bike onto the yellow strip, lock your brakes, and it automatically starts moving, carrying your bike up the steps while you walk alongside.
Because space is at a premium, nearly all garages use double-decker parking, with an elevated row of racks that slide out and tilt down on a small pneumatic piston. This allows for incredible density: Amsterdam’s newest bike garage in the Strawinskylaan office district holds 3750 bikes, but fits underneath a road overpass.
Most garages are staffed and guarded, and charge a (very small) fee for secure, overnight parking, which you pay with a debit or transit card upon check-out. The larger ones also offer bike repair stands, in case you need to make an adjustment or fix a flat before heading out.
And some of them are quite beautiful.
Interested in adding a little Dutch-style convenience to your office, residential, or municipal development? Our range of racks and furniture is extensive, and we customize for just about any situation.
Bike Racks, Bike Rooms, Bike Theft, Custom Work, Liveability, Bikeability
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.
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.
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
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.
Liveability, Bike Racks, Bike Rooms
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.
IMAGES VIA www.theemerypdx.com