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We've got pop-up bike racks, where should we put 'em?

Matt Fordham
Local initiatives
May 6, 2020

We’ve got racks for about 50 bikes ready to deploy wherever they’re needed (and wanted) in Pt Chev. These are the racks used at Bike to Football last winter, and then at the Here Comes the Sun event at Pt Chev primary.

Since then they’ve been deployed around the school for the kids, but with the COVID-19 lockdown they’re not seeing much use. Last Friday the school leadership (thanks Stephen!) arranged for the caretaker to drop 50 outside the school gate for us to collect.

Saturday morning I took a stroll up to Pt Chev Road to grab a coffee and see where we might want to drop racks on Sunday morning. This photo below was a pretty typical view.

Outside Little French Pastry was the worst - lots of customers waiting for coffee, bikes leaning on bins and posts, and families trying to walk past on the footpath. It’d be lucky if there was 20cm physical distancing, let alone 2m. Rather than wait until Sunday, we thought we might as well drop a few off ASAP so quickly went home and hitched up the bike trailer with racks for about 15 bikes.

Note the dad + daughter learning to ride in the background. How many photos taken in the last month have random bikes in the background??

Dropped them outside a few places on Pt Chev Road - and the dairy down by the beach. Within minutes they were being used.

We all know Pt Chev has gone through an upswing in cycling during the COVID-19 lockdown, and it’s great to see that people are continuing with it.

Having these racks out gives people a place to park bikes without them getting damaged, stops shop windows getting scratched, stops resident’s fences getting damaged, and provides space for physical distancing on the footpaths.

We’ve still got 30-odd racks at home and are ready to drop them wherever they’re needed. Reach out to us if you know somewhere that needs them. Seriously, reach out

But, bigger picture - let’s not make this all about COVID-19. Here’s some pictures of what bike parking looked like in Pt Chev prior to lockdown.

All these people are trying to park their bikes respectfully with the facilities available (none). Some of them - without wanting to - could be damaging shop windows and fences, and others are getting in the way of pedestrians, mobility scooters etc.

We’re seeing an increase in cycling during the COVID-19 lockdown, and it’s looking like it’s going to continue - which means even more pressure on bike parking. In our Bike Pt Chev survey (only two days old and ongoing), almost 70 households have responded and:

  • 76% biked more during Level 4 than before.
  • 90% are keen to keep biking through Level 3 and beyond (10% maybe)
  • 83% are planning to make local trips by bike to shops, dairies, takeaways
  • 72% say more/better bike parking would be useful to help them carry on biking around Pt Chev.

There is a serious appetite in Pt Chev for getting around by bike, and yet hardly any infrastructure for it.

Bike Pt Chev can keep putting out pop-up bike stands, but they won’t last forever. As a community, we need to start thinking of longer-term solutions.

There’s a tendency in many parts of Auckland to stand back and wait for AT and the Council to sort stuff like this out, and then get behind a keyboard and start bleating about them not doing things fast enough...

But, why wait? Let’s do it ourselves, for ourselves. We’ve got this. Here’s a few ideas to get the ball rolling, and we are keen hear more from you all...

  1. Businesses. Tell us what you need. More and more people on bikes want to come to your place for a meal, to grab some wine, to do their shopping. We’ve got racks to drop outside your shop whenever you want them.
  2. Customers - use it or lose it. Use the racks we’re putting out, and if there aren’t any at the places you’re going then keep asking for them. Like I keep telling my kids - you don’t ask, you don’t get.
  3. Home DIY’s etc - get your thinking caps on. Here’s a few super-basic ideas from 2 minutes on Google. Got a favourite cafe you want to offer to build one for?

How to Easily Build a Cheap Multi-Bike Hanging Storage Rack ...
Build an Inexpensive Bike Rack | DIY Network Blog: Made + Remade | DIY
Space Saving Garage Bike Storage - Room Pictures & All About Home ...
Bike Racks: 16 Ways of Building Your Own Pallet Bike Rack | Pallet ...

Finally - the world is changing fast right now and we will all make mistakes trying to rapidly solve the issues we're seeing on our streets as we come out of lockdown. Let's give each other permission to try, learn, improve. We made a bunch of mistakes laying out the first set of racks last weekend, and will make more this weekend. Each time we learn... This isn't about spending months designing a perfect solution. This is about acting now to keep Pt Chev and our community safe.

Have fun out there. Be safe.

Matt Fordham

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