When it comes to running a school, or any major facility designed to accommodate many people, you have to take all sorts of things into consideration. From how the lawn is manicured to the size of the parking lot, and everything in between, you have to make sure that you cater to your visitors.
For students, there are few inventions more useful than the bicycle. Bicycles provide a great way for kids to transport to and from class without having to worry about gas, a car payment, or insurance.
As the leader of a school you need to make sure that these kids have a safe place to stash their bikes when they are in class. Of course you might instantly think that a bike rack is a simple thing to add to your building. Yet sadly it isn’t. So instead of blindly picking a few racks to install we will educate you on the finer points that make up their differences.
Here are a few of the top affordable options on the market:
1. SARIS Stainless Steel Grid Rack
This bike rack, made by SARIS, can be installed anywhere. It’s 60″x43x31″ in size and, allows for up to 10 bikes to be stored at once. Need one a little bigger? They also make an 18 bike capacity rack as well. This is an affordable, light, option that can turn into a permanent storage spot.
This single rack weighs in at 37 pounds and will provide a super secure spot to shack up two bikes. While these are a touch pricey, the fact that you can move them around is a big deal. If looks are important and you expect only a few students to ride bikes, these are a great choice.
3.U-Two Model Black Finished Rack
This sleek U Rack model has two different loops to allow for up to four bikes to find their way home. Made by Tapco, this model can be placed just about anywhere as it is very size appropriate. For the smaller school, or merely a tertiary area, you can’t beat the U Rack.
4. Hollywood Racks Dual Use Rack
This heavy-duty grid rack is made by one of the best in the business. You can fit ten bikes total, five on each side, and you can secure it anywhere. The zinc coated power grade finish will keep it looking good year round. Easily connectable to other gridded bike racks.
5. Swagman 6 Bike Stand
An efficient solution for a school that needs an affordable option. The Swagman 6 bike stand is small, sturdy, and the perfect way to start your own bike parking area. You can easily get four or five of these for cheaper than the bigger grid racks and cover all of your bases.
Understand the needs of your students.
We’ll now look at a few different common needs for students.
1. How many bike slots should be available?
After a little bit of time at your school you should get an idea as to how many people will be taking advantage of the bike rack. If you run a school that has thousands of students then your needs will be quite higher than a small rural establishment. If your school has a large student parking lot, provided that the kids have licenses, than that too should be taken into consideration.
2. How long will the bikes be locked?
When looking at commercial bike racks you need to also consider how long that they will be in use. Is your school day only going to run six hours? Eight hours? The longer they will be locked up then the better they should be secured.
3. What is the weather like in your area?
If you live on the West Coast where cold and snow are rare than your need for durable bike racks may diminish. If you live somewhere where rain is a common occurrence, you may need more protection. No student will want to bring their bike to school if the elements will rip them apart while they watch from the window.
4. Where should the bikes go?
Pick a place where students tend to end up. The bike rack should be located in common areas that are not too far away from the doors. This will encourage students to reliably use them and it will also make them feel like their bike is more secure.
Bike Rack Class Systems.
Now that we know what our students need we can make the proper next step. Bike racks come in two different classes and each class offers its own positives and negatives. Using the above questions to guide you, you can now choose one of the two classes going forward.
1. Class 1: Long Term Rack
These bike racks are made for places where bikes are going to be stored for a long period of time. These racks tend to focus on their shelter from the weather and thieves while being easily accessible to the students who store there.
2. Class 2: Short Term Rack
Class 2 racks are perfect for areas that students will not be leaving their bikes in for very long. Common places for these could be in the parking lot or next to the baseball fields for when students come to practice. Shelter and security are not stressed for these styles.
Selecting a bike rack mount.
Now that you are ready to purchase you need to start looking at the gritty details, including the type of mount that will be employed. There is much to be gleaned from this section so we will kick you off with a few quick details to get your wheels turning. The mount is how the bike rack stays in place and it is the core component of the safety behind the device. Here are the major forms of mounts that can be purchased.
1. In Ground Mounts
Ground mounts are considered the safest ways to secure your bike rack. These mounts are made of steel and planted almost a foot deep into the ground. These are the most effective against thieves but should only be implanted in places that you intend to keep the rack long-term.
2. Surface Mount
As you can assume from the name, surface mounts are only useful superficially. They attach on, using a flange, to existing concrete. They aren’t as secure or as permanent as the above-listed mount but they are very convenient and easy to install.
3. Wall Mounts
If floor space is lacking then opt for wall mounted bike racks. They take a bit more work but they can keep an area clutter free while still being functional. These racks mount straight to the wall.
Choosing the right style rack.
Now that you know how you will mount the rack into place, considering both location and rack security, you are ready to select a design. Bike racks are like any other piece of furniture: they come in many different sizes and shapes while offering their own personality and resourcefulness. We will briefly touch on a few of the most popular styles of racks.
The U-Rack is a style of rack comprised of round or square tubing that weaves up and down like the letter ‘U’. These are simple in design and installation and are small enough to put just about anywhere. Each rack can maintain up to two bikes at once.
2. Bollard Racks
These racks work as both blocking gates and bike places. They are typically thick shafts installed into the ground with a pair of handles coming off of the edge. Bicyclists can attach to the handles and rest easy knowing their bike is safe. They come in various styles and sizes and can be bought in individual units.
3. Grid Racks
The Grid Rack is the classic bicycle rack. It is a long rectangular shape comprised of gridded poles that allow riders to latch up. They are sizable but they are the most durable and usable in terms of quantity.
Now that you know the style of bike that you want you can select the material that it will be made out of. There are only a few options and we will briefly look over them.
A galvanized finish will give your rack a sleek and clean look. The entire rack will be given a hot molten zinc bath that gives it both corrosion protection and long-lasting durability.
2. Recycled Plastic
If you want to be Earth-aware then you can go for the recycled plastic models. These tend to be more expensive but they are eco-friendly, durable, and completely recyclable.
3. Stainless Steel & E-Steel
Nothing says long-term and secure quite like stainless steel. E-Steel is a type of steel that is coated with protective, anti-corrosive, resin based paint.