Criteria for choosing a Bicycle Rack

What criteria should an organization consider when purchasing a bicycle rack?

Here’s my quick answer. What would you add? Any recommendations?

(I like the ones in Uptown Waterloo that feature a heavy duty steel ring afixed to a solid steel post buried in concrete. I also kind of like the stuff from


  • Close to the main entrance areas
  • Good visibility
  • Good lighting
  • High pedestrian traffic
  • Good view from within the building


  • Frame height and contacts the bicycle in two spots to keep the bike upright.
  • Anchored to the ground, immovable.
  • Great if the steel is coated in vinyl or rubber

8 thoughts on “Criteria for choosing a Bicycle Rack

  1. Aloha to a fellow carless Kitchener/Waterloo resident! I prefer my feet to wheels (extremely clumsy). Anyone who choses alternative transportation is good people in my books :)

  2. My pet peeve: placement so that the rack can be used to its full capacity: no blocking walls or access ways that can’t be interfered.with.

  3. I like the post and ring bike racks, although I feel like they’re often poorly placed and block sidewalk access which I’ve seen lead to vandalism. I REALLY like these racks. There’s no better way to tell a cyclist you care about them than by taking away an *oh-so-important* parking spot.

  4. Older Email forwarded from @mikeboos
    Toronto has some guidelines for bicycle rack choice here:

    Click to access bicycle_parking_guidelines_final_may08.pdf

    Section 2 describes and provides examples of good rack design.

    My preferences for bicycle parking gravitate towards those that you
    put your bike alongside, not those that you put the front or back of
    your bike into, (which can be problematic as what’s on the front or
    backs of bikes can be different from each other)

    Good designs:
    The ring-and-post style is one of my favourites.
    The upside-down U:
    I’ve seen these circle ones at new buildings on campus:

    There are some fairly creative ones out there too:

    I haven’t used one of these yet, but I suspect the spiral ones are
    quite good too:

    The racks that came as part of the King St improvements are good in
    theory, but they need to be better anchored, as a few have come loose,
    rendering them useless.

    Mediocre racks:
    Suspended triangles:

    Suspended circles:
    The above two not only have one point of contact, but make it hard to
    lock both the frame and the wheels
    ‘Wave’ racks (one point of contact):

    These awkward things limit tire thickness, don’t play nice with
    fenders, and are often still hard to lock to the frame:

    These things are really only good for parking two bikes to the sides
    if you have fenders:
    – same goes for those old green triangular racks on campus
    Low-profile ‘wheel-benders’ often found in front of Canadian Tire.

  5. For regular, all day use: indoor or covered (sheltered) bike parking is best.
    Best if that shelter was lockable, but only if it used by only a limited number of people.

    But I agree that the location of the bike parking should be no less convenient than the car parking for the same facility. Ideally, it should be much better, as it should be easier to get closer to the building with a bike than a car.

    The racks made by Peak (of CA,USA) are really great because they hold the bike upright and also allow the frame to be locked to the rack. These racks are the ones that works best with smaller bike frames (ie kid’s bikes), and with frame designs that don’t have a high top-tube (easy step-through and/or women’s bikes). This is the kind of bike rack being used by the City of Toronto in it’s bike corals.

    I’ll take ‘Hanger Style’ racks in a pinch, but these have problems with bikes that have front baskets and bags and such, and don’t hold smaller (kid’s) bikes well, or at all.

  6. I did a post a few days ago on the mall down the road from me, and how they re-did their bike parking:
    The one in the pictures 6 and 7 down I like. They hold a number of bikes and are fairly secure.

    I despise these ones, which unfortunately my grocery store has. IMO a big “avoid” to businesses…That is if they even produce these kind anymore.

    One more thing I’d add to location is, *if possible* put the racks where they are covered. The old Zellers left their bike rack in the open. When Walmart took over they placed it under an “overhang” by the entrance (pictures in the first link I posted).

  7. My bike rack at work is just horrible…. I can’t find them but they are atrocious! (i’ll post a photo soon) – The pro big pros is that it’s well covered and in a very high traffic area, also seen by the security desk, the one out back has no hope in seeing my bike locked to is – it’s a terrible bike rack in a ’emergency exit’ area that no one walks by – under an over hand and feel like I could get mugged there… haha :)

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