How To Attract Renters With Premium Bicycle Parking Amenities
Bicycle commuting is on the rise, especially with Millennials, and one sure way to attract their attention is by offering the best in bicycle parking amenities and bicycle racks.
By Robert Caston
According to the League of American Bicyclists, bicycle commuting has risen 62%. In bike friendly cities that have invested in their bicycle infrastructure and added safer bike lanes, the number of bicycle commuters has risen by an impressive 105%!
There are 62 million Americans who ride a bike today. Bicycling is particularly popular with Millennials, that huge demographic born between 1980 and 2000. In fact, in a surprising trend, that group is now waiting longer to obtain their driver’s licenses. According to AAA, the number of cars also purchased by people 18-34 dropped almost 30%.
How are they getting around instead? Bicycles, trains, buses, Ubers and ZipCars.
Not only are Millennials interested in the benefits of bicycles, but so are municipalities. City administrators are building up their bicycle infrastructure to encourage more bicycle riding and less automobile driving.
Transportation planners are adding more protected bike lanes, bike share programs and bicycle racks. Many have adopted a “road diet” planning strategy that places less emphasis on roads and designates more funds for alternative means of transportations, especially bicycles.
New York City’s Mayor Bill deBlasio spent $100 million on bike lanes and making city streets safer for bicyclists. In the next decade, Seattle plans to spend $1 billion on their bicycle infrastructure. Los Angeles created a “Green Streets” program to add more bike lanes.
To cover their investment in bicycling, most cities now are rewriting their zoning codes and requiring more short-term and long-term bicycle racks for parking. In fact, new or renovated apartment buildings in some cities are now required to add indoor bike rooms.
But rather than consider long-term bike racks for apartment buildings as an extra cost, the great benefit to landlords of adding a bike room is that this space can be a highly-marketable commodity to attract tenants.
For example, the City Tower in Brooklyn showcases their bike room located on the 19th floor so that cyclists can park their bikes in front of spectacular city views.
Best practices for bicycle parking
According to the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals there are two forms of bicycle parking - short-term and long-term.
Short-term bicycle parking is achieved by the installation of bicycle racks in front of retail stores or restaurants. Typically this would consist of u-shaped racks or wave bikes racks. This parking is generally considered to be for a limited time, say 1-4 hours.
Long-term bicycle parking is for tenants or employees who park their bicycles overnight or for several hours. The ideal place for long-term bicycle parking is a secure, indoor bike room.
One of the big challenges that bicycle owners face today is the rising number of thefts. According to the FBI, more than one million bicycles are stolen every year. Thieves have become more adept on cutting through even the best of locks. Combine this with the rising cost of bicycles, especially bicycles with new lightweight carbon frames, and there is a real challenge for building owners to provide a secure means for residents to lock their bikes.
Dragging a bicycle up a flight of stairs to an apartment or on an elevator is not a pleasant experience. Bicycles scratch or dent walls. Dirty and wet bicycles create a hazardous messes on floors.
The best solution is to provide a bike room. Locate these bike rooms on the first floor to provide easy and quick access for bicyclists.
However, apartment space is at a premium. The average bicycle is 6 feet in length. Owners face the challenge of providing adequate parking in a limited space for a large number of bicycles.
There are new types of bicycle racks, such as the Uplift Bike Dock floor rack offered by The Park and Facilities Catalog, that offers high-density parking to maximize square footage.
Another solution is to consider vertical bike racks such as the DoubleUp offered by The Park and Facilities Catalog. For these bike racks, the bicycles are loaded standing up and suspended on hooks. They come available as either wall mount bike racks or freestanding bike racks.
This helps to utilize the floor to ceiling space for bike storage as well.
Best practices for bike room parking is to provide at least a 6-foot minimum space for aisles on the sides of the bikes or down the center.
For vertical, wall-mount bike racks, a floor to ceiling space of 92-inches is recommended. There should be at least a 36-inch aisle space out from the handlebars and a total of 75 inches of space extending from the wall.
To provide the best in security, the APBP recommends that there be three points of locking contact with a bicycle – the frame, front wheel and the bike rack. A hardy U-lock is generally the best type of lock to use. Be sure the cyclist has the ability to pass the lock around those three points of contact.
How to add extra appeal to any bike room or bike storage area
If a landlord wants to really create an appealing bike room or bike storage area, there are now products available that any cyclist would truly appreciate. Adding these amenities creates even better marketing opportunities that will appeal to Millennials and all bike owners.
Here are a few:
- Bike Repair Stations – these public bike repair stations come with a variety of handy tools attached to a sturdy metal frame. The tools are connected by a tough airplane-grade wire that allows people to make repairs or adjustments to their bike, but keeps the tools secure for use by others. Some bike repair stands also come with a wheel chock to hold the bike upright.
- Public Bicycle Pumps – there’s nothing more frustrating than walking out to your bicycle and finding a flat tire or tires with low air pressure. A landlord would be of great service in this case by providing a public bicycle pump.
- Bike Wash Station – as you can imagine, bicycles get dirty from roads, snow and rain. These handy bike stations help remove the grime and dust off bike frames and gears.
- Vending Machines – here’s a way for landlords to generate extra revenue. Provide a bike vending machine with tire tubes, patch kits, etc.
- Signage – for a busy bike room, add a sign that clearly states the rules. The message can also include tips on how to properly lock a bike, local maps, etc.
Bicycling is booming in America today. Millions of people now prefer getting around on a bicycle. For a small investment, savvy landlords will see this as a big opportunity to add bicycle parking amenities to make their property more attractive to this massive market.
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