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Even a simple bike rack confuses some

April 27, 2010 Bicycling 15 Comments
ABOVE: bike incorrectly locked to an inverted-U bike rack
ABOVE: bike incorrectly locked to an inverted-U bike rack

This bike should be parallel to the curb, not perpendicular.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. Andrew says:

    Not exactly fair as most of our memories of bike racks were perpendicular to the rack.

  2. JZ71 says:

    Since there is no “bikers' ed.” required before one can ride, and no license, why are you surprised? If no one tells you, how do you know?! (And that applies to the riding part as well as the parking part.)

  3. G-Man says:


  4. moorlander says:

    so what is proper form – the front tire inside the U?

    • moorlander says:

      nevermind, I now see this – This bike should be parallel to the curb, not perpendicular. I ride frequently and I never knew that was proper form.

      • Rob says:

        Come on Steve!
        The bike is fine. If it was parallel to the curb then the rack would probably only fit two bikes. The person locking the bike obviously had to lock his frame to the quick release wheel through the fork and parking it parallel would make this harder, and obviously allow for less people to park. I don't see how this is a problem. It is not blocking the sidewalk, and we should be happy that someone is actually using the bike rack and not driving.

        In Europe you would be lucky to see an empty bike rack like this one, and usually one has to cram their bike against a number of other ones.

  5. SUP SUP says:

    So what, it looks fine to me. Find something worth talking about.

  6. matthew says:

    Is there anything that you don't complain about? Probably should try and get a law passed.

  7. MattH says:

    If the sidewalk is wide enough for this to not block foot traffic, than it is fine. There is no “standard” and shouldn't be. I ride everywhere and lock my bike where I can, when I can, so long as to not be an inconvenience to others. At least someone else is riding, as indicated by the photo.

  8. wrong wrong wrong says:

    wrong. i rode with the kids to the ball game last year and some guy did as you suggested leaving no room for locking up more then one bike. this guy is doing it correctly.

    • dustinbopp says:

      wrong wrong wrong, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Just Google “inverted u bike rack” and find multiple links to proper alignment (just as Steve indicated). The idea is for each rack to accommodate two bikes (one on each side) allowing for two points to lock a variety of bike sizes and shapes — other types are limited in their universal usefulness. Having two points to lock to is very important to deter theft. Other cities where cycling is more prominent have huge bicycle theft problems. The problem you encountered was not misuse but lack of enough bike racks.

      • w.e says:

        However, by 'misusing' the rack so egregiously, this individual has made it possible for up to 4 people to cram their bikes on this rack. Compliments to the biker for their attempt at accommodating other bikers.

        It's a metal loop stuck in the ground. If someone is keeping their bike from being stolen by interacting with it in some way, the right things have happened.

  9. anonymous coward says:

    Maybe it's just because of my experiences overseas in Japan, but I thought the front tire was supposed to be in between the two posts of the “U” and when the “U” ran out of room, people could latch one more bicycle onto either side of the “U”. I've just never seen a bike rack of that shape in which the bike was parallel to the U.


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