Bike shelters don’t need to be a bore

Andrew Murray, managing director of Autopa, says that providing cycle parking is essential to achieve sustainability aims for modern commercial and office developments, but that doesn’t have to mean visually unappealing structures.

In an attempt to encourage workers to adopt a more sustainable approach to getting to and from work, cycle parking is an essential requirement for all new commercial buildings.

Creating a cycle parking area is a relatively simple task, but with a plethora of different storage options available in the marketplace, there is no reason why the finished area should not be as appealing as the architecture that surrounds it.

Bicycle storage solutions are available in wide range of styles, shapes, sizes, colours and materials, making it easy to create a bicycle parking area that will enhance and compliment the wider architecture of any site.

Stands and racks

The foundation of any good bicycle store is the cycle stand, the most familiar being the Sheffield Cycle Stand. Favoured by both cyclists and regulators alike, this simple yet effective stand has become a stalwart of British urban architecture and can be found in use across the country on a daily basis.

A range of hooped stands available in a variety of different styles and materials have been created due to the Sheffield’s popularity. This gives specifiers the flexibility to customise their cycle parking areas to fit in with the wider aesthetics of a project.

A hooped stand is a simple and cost-effective parking option but the stands must be allowed room for bikes to be manoeuvred into place. To be able to secure two bicycles per stand, there needs to be a 800 mm space between them and they must be placed at least 400 mm away from any other obstruction. If you are working on a tight or awkwardly shaped site, a cycle rack, rather than a collection of cycle stands, might be a better fit.

Cycle racks can be tailored to a site’s exact requirements, and are designed to provide high-density cycle parking and exploit every last inch of space available. Semi-vertical or vertical cycle racks are ideal for narrow sites while an alternating-height cycle rack is perfect for sites that need to store a lot of bicycles in a relatively small space.

To gain the maximum number of BREEAM points on a project, you need to create at least two bicycle parking bays per 10 members of staff.

Take cover

Gone are the days of the traditional bike shed with its corrugated roof and rickety frame. Cycle shelters have evolved over the years to meet the ever-changing needs of cyclists and are now available in a wide range of materials and constructions to suit every architectural style.

Free-standing, wall-mounted, cantilevered, curved roof, flat roof – there are wide range of options available to specifiers.

The most popular cycle shelters are freestanding structures, with a galvanised mild steel frame and a clear plastic sheet. These materials are ideal for shelters as they are flexible, hardwearing and require little maintenance throughout their life-span; perfect for a busy commercial site.

An open-sided, free-standing shelter is ideal where the cycle storage area is easily visible from the main building. For less visible parking areas, or for longer term cycle storage, a compound or secure shelter may be more appropriate.

Doors, side panels and gates can be added to certain styles of shelter to create a secure and sheltered cycle complex. A range of locking mechanisms can be used to further protect these areas, including padlocks, keypads and proximity card entry systems.

Under the BREEAM assessment method, all cycle parking must be covered overhead, either by a purpose built shelter or an existing building.

Location, location, location

The positioning of the cycle shelter compared to the other amenities on-site is essential to a parking area’s success. Bicycles are expensive items and cyclists need to feel confident when leaving them unattended throughout the working day.

Installing the storage facilities as close to the main building as possible, in a prominent and well-lit location, will help assuage any fears that workers may have over using the allocated parking areas.

A further thing to keep in mind when considering location of the bicycle parking area is that to comply with BREEAM regulations it needs to be within 100 m of the building’s entrance, and the area needs to be lit outside of daylight hours.