Bike-Parking Solution: A 5-Step Guide

At Spruce and Gander, Inc., we’ve learned that bike-parking is important for areas that are frequently visited by people on their bikes for both the visitor and the facility. Whether it is mainly occupied by bike commuters or recreational riders, our experience shows that bike-parking solutions help maintain order and minimize potential damage or theft to the bikes, as well as minimize damage to trees, signs, and other surrounding amenities that may be substituted in their absence.

Bike parking solutions require both the proper infrastructure and the equipment to create a convenient, short-term bike storage area. This 5-Step guide will help you determine the best solution for your bike-friendly space.

1. How many racks do you need?

2. Find the perfect location.

3. Choose your mount.

4. Create a functional layout.

5. Choose your style of rack.

1. How many racks do you need?

First, identify the density, popularity, and minimum requirements of the area where bike parking is needed. Many cities, towns or other governmental organizations have set minimum ordinances or other mandates. Library.municode.com is a great resource to begin your search. Local bike advocate groups could also offer helpful insights based on experience. We recommend visiting PeopleforBikes.org to find links to local advocacy groups.

The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) also provides recommendations for minimum parking requirements in their Bicycle Parking Guidelines resource:

  • Hospitals/Health Care: 1 space for each 20,000 sq. ft. of floor area | Minimum 2 spaces
  • Schools: 1 space for every 20 students of planned capacity | Minimum 2 spaces
  • Colleges and Universities: 1 space for every 10 students of planned capacity | Minimum 2 spaces
  • Business Offices: 1 space for each 20,000 sq. ft. of floor area | Minimum 2 spaces
  • Off-street Parking Lots/Garages: 1 per 20 auto spaces | Minimum 6 spaces. For more urbanized or bike-active communities, plan for another .5 – 1 spaces per volume.

2. Find the perfect location.

With short-term bike-storage locations, it is important to keep convenience and security in mind while also considering these factors:

  • The closest rack should be installed no more than 50 feet from the primary entrance of the building or intended destination and closer to the entryway than the nearest car parking stall. If racks are too far away, it is likely that closer substitutes will be used.
  • Choose a location that can easily be seen and next to open paths of travel without interfering with them. If the racks are too tucked away, they are less likely to be used and have an increased risk for potential vandalism.
  • Make your bike-parking obvious with signs, delineators, and markings on the ground to help the cyclist find the right place.

3. Choose your mount.

These are the main options, listed in order of most secure to least secure:

  • An In-ground Mount is the most secure. With this mount, the rack is placed with the feet a designated distance below the surface level. Concrete is then poured embedding and securing the legs.
  • A Surface Mount involves securing the rack to the surface with wedge anchors and metal flanges on the rack. When surface mounting, it is recommended that tamper-proof hardware be used. This will help restrict a thief’s ability to unsecure the rack from the ground.
  • A rail mount has multiple racks bolted to rails. The rails can then be anchored to the surface or left freestanding.
  • Freestanding bike racks are the least secure and are not anchored and rest on the surface. Bike racks that have a freestanding mount should have an enclosed locking element.

Tip: By far, the most secure mounting surface is concrete. We recommend removing asphalt or pavers and pouring concrete footings (for In-Ground Mounts) or pouring slabs (for Surface Mounts). For more natural surfaces like dirt and grass, pouring concrete footings for an in-ground installation is also the best decision, with freestanding racks on rails as the next best option.

4. Create a functional layout.

Your bike-parking site layout should optimize efficiency and functionality. There should be enough clearance to navigate bikes between the racks, and the racks should be accessible from all sides to attach a lock from any angle. Racks can be oriented parallel or perpendicular from the nearest wall or obstacle.



•Setback of 48" recommended | 36" minimum from walls and other fixed objects

•Setback of 24" from roads/parked cars

•Setback of 96" from walls to create aisles or allow walkways for pedestrians on sidewalks

•Spacing of 72" recommended | 48" minimum between multiple racks



•Setback of 48" recommended | 36" minimum from walls and other fixed objects

•Setback of 36" recommended | 24" minimum from roads/parked cars

•Setback of 132" from walls to create aisles or allow walkways for pedestrians on sidewalks

•Spacing of 48" recommended | 36" minimum between multiple racks

5. Choose your style of rack for function.

While having a unique looking rack that catches people’s attention is something we endorse, it’s also important to keep in mind the functionality to the user. These are the most effective shapes of racks:

  • U-Bike Racks (or Inverted U-Racks / Staple Racks) are the simplest, but also highly functional because cyclists have the ability to lock the bike in two places at once. These racks have excellent durability and are easily customizable beyond just a “U” shape.
  • Post and Ring Racks provide security and support and have been a bike parking favorite for years. These are slightly less customizable because the height of the ring needs to be within wheel height for all kinds of bicycles.
  • Wheel-Well Secured Racks add a level of support by holding one of the bikes wheels, keeping it upright. Racks with staggered vertical heights allow for more bikes to be parked in the footprint.

At Spruce & Gander, Inc., we work with Madrax, a high-quality, experienced bike rack manufacturer that creates functional, beautiful, and long-lasting bike rack solutions. View our portfolio from Madrax for ideas and inspiration and check out examples of our work at the Santa Rosa Courthouse, and the True Worth Shelter.

For more information, please contact: Spruce & Gander, Inc. (877) 650-771.


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