Bike Rack Faves – LOCKitUP!

"Look, this rack was nice enough to grow a roof for me!"

Yello mighty Bike Commuters!  Mir.I.Am here working double duty as a green “snarchitect” and cycle lady today.  As the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system is becoming more and more prosthetic… err, prolific in the states and abroad, snarchitects and designers are incentivized to provide more bike racks and showers for cycle monsters in their buildings.  Here in Honolulu, all new construction projects that are publicly funded are required to meet a minimum requirement of LEED Silver rating.  An easy way to contribute towards achieving a LEED rating for a building is to provide secure bike rack parking close to the building entrance and showers for a percentage of the occupants!  Not all LEED rated buildings are required to provide this amenity, but it is usually included… (secret fist pump under my desk each time I get to nerd out and specify bike racks at work!)

Crowded "Bike" bike racks in Waikiki

Of course, as bike commuters, we know that the statement “If you build it, they will come (by bike and then take a shower)” is not necessarily true!  New racks and showers for buildings may not transform cities into Mini-Apples overnight, but it’s a chest-bump in the right direction.  As we all know, not all bike racks are created equal, and not all cyclists are equally enthusiastic about showering after a commute…   Sometimes I spice it up at work and arrive looking like I drank a bottle of Sriracha on the way over and don’t change into my office attire until my 4:00pm meeting, but that’s just me!  SRIRACHA FACE!!!!  Witch hazel in your swamp crotch isn’t for everyone.

Architects and builders listen up, straight from the mouth of the cycle monsters, here are some of our fave bike racks that help us commuters LOCKitUP!

Most Bikely Bike Rack: Dero Bike Bike Rack – nothing screams bike rack like a bike-shaped rack!  These are the ones installed by the city and county of Honolulu around the island.  They can hold up to four bikes unless some idiot has locked their moped to it illegally.  It works well in situations where you have lots of long skinny space, like sidewalks.  I like them because the height of the “wheels” makes it easy to tie up your steed through the rear wheel and triangle of the frame.  I have seen some bikes fallen over next to these racks that have been only loosely cabled.  My only gripe is sometimes the are positioned a little too close to the street side and you have to squeeze in between parked cars ad the rack to try to get to your bike.

Easy to spot from faraway, functional for multiple locking points, AND fun for Japanese tourist photo ops!

Green is the new Black Rack: Dero Recycle Rack made from 96% Recycled steel rebar!  As you can see, the racks come in two shapes: bush or tree.  Always a plus for bush-hugging architects like myself.  (I’m over hugging trees, that’s so 2010).  Steel rebar rack holds up to two bikes. The loops onthe tree seems small to me in the photo as I’ve never used one personally.  However the steel rebar has a much smaller diameter than most racks so maybe they would work well for cycle monsters using mini U-locks for their frames.  This is a smaller rack than most and requires only one connection point to the concrete, which could be advantageous for designers with tight space planning requirements.

From the Dero website… where’s the lock!?

Stealthy Designer Bike Rack: Forms+Surfaces  Olympia Bike Rack is a nice choice for a bike rack that can double as a bollard!  For designers that want something more discrete and architectural (read: no wavy racks or fence racks), Forms+Surfaces also carries a variety of options.  Maybe this one is a little too discrete, but seasoned bike commuters know how to lock it up in any situation (in a tree, top of a chainlink fence, handrails or my favorite is a fat crippled horse). I personally prefer anything with a vertical post so I can loop a cable through the front wheel, helmet, and use the vertical post to secure the frame and the back wheel in my U-lock.  Looks like the slot in the center leaves room for pedals and keeps your ride on all two wheels.  Ooooh, rack envy:

Who taught this doofus how to lock a bike!?

What Makes a Nice Rack: And because it is 1:30 am Pacific Grandma Time and I only have one brain (currently maxed out on MSG/noodle/rice overload), here is a cut and paste to an article for those of you interested in reading about how to choose a nice bike rack for your next building.  Check it out if you have the energy to click here.  If you have a lot of energy and some friends over, you can read it aloud since reading is not really a spectator sport.

Ok Bike Commuters, paste some links into the comments box if you have any opinions on your hometown racks, your fave place to LOCKitUP around your neck o the hoods, or maybe what you don’t like in a rack!  Us architects and designers would be much obliged….


  1. Jesse

    This rack is at my favorite used book store/cafe:

    Not the greatest picture, trust me I know but I was in a hurry that day. The rack is shaped like a row of bikes leaning on each others handlebars, with the wheels providing amble space to loop a cable or u-lock. The yellow pannier is on my ride at the time. The book shop even provides air for their two wheeled clientele!

  2. JohnnyK

    There are so few bike racks here in Jacksonville, FL. Most are not even unique at all. Most construction companies do not know how to properly place bike racks. On the new constructed buildings here that are getting bike racks they tend to put them too close to the buildings or try to use bike racks as some kind of security guard rail and put it to close to the edge of a sidewalk. Sadly I have yet to see any bike parking Jacksonville as innovative as you have posted here. We have the normal wave types like the ones where I work or the single post with the loops on the sides but nothing art worthy. I think there may be a few downtown that is a bit artistic and just for show I don’t think I would lock my bike to them. Also some companies have to their shame have removed their racks (aka… Wal-Greens Pharmacy) to make room for those movie boxes and the water bottle refill stations. I think if a city wants to claim they are bicycle friendly they could start by installing bicycle parking and encouraging businesses to do the same instead of making them get on a waiting list for a building permit before they can install a simple bike rack. Well at least the grocery stores here have bicycle racks unfortunately they are not placed very well and tend to be hard to lock up the bikes. Sorry for the rant but this is somewhat a sore subject here in Jacksonville, FL. and has been approached in the past on local blogs such as this one from

  3. Mir.I.Am (Post author)

    @Jesse – nice pic on flickr, I saw some of those racks in Elizabeth’s 2011 calendars so they must be popular in Chicago too! And air? Nice. I think I have seen some racks with a built in pump at UH Manoa that are ghetto-rigged but not as nice as these:

    @JohnnyK: I hate the wavy rack! Who invented that thing!? These are the bullet points on the final article I link to on how builders and designers should choose a bike rack: * Don’t waste your money.

    * Do not buy products which hold (pinch) wheels.

    * Be aware of capacity claims and avoid racks which are misused.

    * Buy products which permit the bike frame and wheel(s) to be locked.

    * Locate racks where the cyclists will go – not where you might like them to go.

    * Avoid racks that have a low profile or could cause a hazard to pedestrians.

    * Buy only quality products.

  4. Champs

    It’s a shame that proper racks can’t be installed. The City of Portland has quite a bit of useful information about it. There are guides for procuring free public racks and corrals, guidelines for art racks, and private parking facilities:

    What I don’t understand is why the fancy corrals don’t have rain shelters—it does that quite a bit in Portland, if you haven’t heard. Everything about the topmost photo in the article is awesome.

  5. Ghost Rider

    Not my photo (I took a similar shot, but can’t find it), but here’s a typical one in Tampa:

    This is the usual lockup one finds in downtown Tampa. There are some inverted Us, wheelbenders and “art racks” scattered around, but the city went out of their way to istall these weirdos in front of a lot of buildings in the CBD.

    I never understood exactly how one was supposed to lock their bike up to this…as you can see, the upper “cradles” are padded with vinyl. I just used these racks as if they were a vertical pole.

  6. Mir.I.Am

    My friend also fbooked me these guys: from Toronto me thinks.

    And I hear ya Champs on the covered racks! Here the sun and rain damage can be enough to make you drag the bike inside and stash it in the office until your bosses get mad. Different story in Portland… covered racks get best usage!

  7. Matt

    NYC had a huge campaign a few years ago for a new bike rack design and it my opinion it was a total fail. I wrote a post on it and drew up my own design for a rack, you can find it here:

  8. Karl McCracken (twitter: @KarlOnSea)

    Some nice looking racks. Our local council installed some wooden ones when they re-modelled part of the sea front. Unfortunately they’re completely useless! 🙁

  9. Walter Enomoto

    Great article Mir I Am.

    We are going to try to get bicycle parking mandated here on Maui this coming year. It’s not enough for just the State facilities to add bicycle parking, it should be ALL facilities. We’ll be using the guidelines in the APBP Bicycle Parkign Manual as the basis for this new ordinance.

    Your pic of the filled Waikiki bike rack looks them same as Front St in Lahaina on a good night. Too many bikes tangled together, not enough spaces.

    Hope to meet you next time I’m a on Oahu or look me up next time you get to Maui. Aloha 🙂

  10. Design a HVAC System Bay Area

    Sadly I have yet to see any bike parking Jacksonville as innovative as you have posted here. We have the normal wave types like the ones where I work or the single post with the loops on the sides but nothing art worthy. I think there may be a few downtown that is a bit artistic and just for show I don’t think I would lock my bike to them. Also some companies have to their shame have removed their racks

  11. Erik Mar

    I’m a US-based architect and have been specifying this rack for my recently designed public libraries:
    As a full-time bike commuter, I think they’re a little more functional (in terms of providing frame support, and in terms of accommodating more frame geometries and bikes with lots of accessories) than the Forms+Surfaces option.

  12. Mir.I.Am

    @Erik Mar – thanks for the tip! Nice Rack! I like that it is embedded in the pad with kwikcrete instead of surface mounted with bolts. I have never used the Forms+Surfaces one before either, just the Dero hoop racks. I’ll keep this one in my back pocket for the next project!

  13. Ghost Rider

    @Erik — I want to hear more about the public libraries you designed (I am a librarian by day, celebrity bike-blogger by night).

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