Greater Greater Washington

Innovative bike rack makes parking into sculpture

I was traveling recently and came across this object. At first, it looks like an artistic sculpture, but on closer examination, it's also a bike rack!


Click to enlarge. Photos by the author.

For bonus points, do you know where this is or can you recognize the location?

Here's a part of the instructional sign on the rack. The full sign gives away the location, as do these two other signs.

The sign says this is more compact than other bike racks. That's largely true, though in this configuration, the rack also requires a lot of empty space around in every direction. In an institutional setting with big open spaces (and where it can also function as art), that makes sense. In many tighter urban spaces, arranging these curved, vertical racks side by side instead of in a circle would allow storing bikes even more compactly, though less artistically.

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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Montréal? I haven't clicked any of the links, but the building in the second photo looks an awful lot like Burnside Hall (also, the remark about "institutional setting")

by Kurt Raschke on Oct 14, 2012 1:33 pm • linkreport

Links to the signs are not working for me. This could be lots of places, especially in the NE (trees). It doesn't feel like Montreal.

I like the idea of parallel racks. If they want to forgo the artistry, a lot of places could do even better and cheaper with hooks on the walls or ceiling for the front tire. Not sure if that complies with zoning codes etc.

by SJE on Oct 14, 2012 2:32 pm • linkreport

I've fixed the links. Thanks.

by David Alpert on Oct 14, 2012 2:44 pm • linkreport

Yep, it's in Montreal, on the McGill campus. Next to the statue seen in the second to last picture on this page of campus photos.

by Gray on Oct 14, 2012 2:54 pm • linkreport

Doh! it WAS Montreal. I suppose I haven't been for a while. Cute name: "bike petal"

by SJE on Oct 14, 2012 2:57 pm • linkreport

How do you lock the bike?

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Oct 14, 2012 8:14 pm • linkreport

Veronica: Basically, there is a separate metal loop next to the track where the bike sits, which comes out of the top of the rack and extends alongside where the bike goes. It comes right next to the area where the front wheel and frame meet, so you then connect a lock to that and get even a U-lock into it, the wheel, and frame.

I've uploaded a zoomed-in version of the first image. It's easiest to see the lock on the bike that's on the right side of the image.

by David Alpert on Oct 15, 2012 8:39 am • linkreport

Aaah... Thanks.

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Oct 15, 2012 9:39 am • linkreport

GREAT rack!

In Toronto, they make them artful:

Here by the Royal Ontario Museum:

https://qitsune.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/bikeracks.jpg

by Capt. Hilts on Oct 15, 2012 1:27 pm • linkreport

They had these all over downtown Palo Alto.

The configuration that you pictured doesn't make quite a lot of sense. In Palo Also, they seemed to be used less as an artistic statement, and more to cram some extra bike parking next to treeboxes and buildings, where there wouldn't be enough room to place a "traditional" rack without blocking pedestrian access.

I don't think I ever saw more than 3 or 4 of these racks placed adjacent to each other (most locations only had one or two racks). Seems like it makes more sense to use a more traditional bike rack if you've got a lot of space.

BikeArc is the company that makes this system.

Seems like a cool concept, although I never got to use one. No idea if the benefit is worth the cost...

by andrew on Oct 15, 2012 1:45 pm • linkreport

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