Thursday, March 17

Rackless Bike Shops

"Bicycle parking is the indicator species of this new economy, with a business's enthusiasm for its two-wheeled clientele being easy to gauge by the quantity of bike racks out front." --Elly Blue, How Bicycling Will Save the Economy (If We Let It)

The places we frequent are typically bicycle friendly. All the businesses in Olde Town have the cool hitching posts. The grocery store we patronize has racks as well. In fact, the ARC Thrift Store adjacent to King Soopers also has sheltered racks and they sell used bikes. The McDonalds in the same shopping center has a weird mini-swingset type rack. The local Kmart and Target both have bike racks, though only Kmart's is under cover. What is profoundly puzzling to me though is the complete lack of bike racks outside the two nearest bike shops.

Our "neighborhood" bike shop, Foothills Cycling in Wheat Ridge, not only doesn't have bike racks, but there's nothing nearby to which you can lock a bike. We found out the hard way when we took a family ride down to pick up some tubes and had nowhere to lock our bikes. We cabled them together and hoped for the best. At least there's an overhang where you can get the bikes out of rain or snow while you go inside. That's the only plus.

Arvada Bike also has a paucity of bike racks and every time I've been there I've had to lock my bike up to a "No Parking" sign next to the main entrance. While I love their customer service and their selection of bikes and accessories, I wonder why there is no rack. There is a good east-west bike route (W 66th Ave) that passes right by the store, and Olde Wadsworth comes up from Olde Town to the south which is a great short connector route between Ralston Creek Trail and 66th. There is an entryway just inside the first door where you could get out of the weather, but I don't believe there's anything to lock a bike to inside the vestibule.

Most, if not all, of the other bike shops we've visited in the metro area have bike racks. The Golden bike shops rely on the sidewalks racks provided by the city. I won't count it against them, but I wonder if the roadie stronghold Big Ring would provide racks if they weren't already there. I can't remember if Pedal Pushers has outside racks, but if they don't they make up for it with customer service.

Cycle Analyst in Denver has racks by the front door, as does REI. Salvagetti not only has outside racks, but also has a floor stand inside the main door where customers can prop their rides. I think this is a truly bicycle friendly gesture and a rare one indeed. I can't remember the setup at Red Rocks Cyclery in Morrison, but I believe there are outside racks there. It is more of a waystation along the road for cyclists riding from the Lakewood/Littleton suburbs up into Bear Creek Canyon, up through Red Rocks or MTBing into Matthews Winters/Dinosaur Ridge or Mount Falcon Open Space. And then there is Wheat Ridge Cyclery: they have ample racks, but not on the wall where the customer entrance is located.

I just wonder what kind of bike shop owner doesn't cater to ride-up cyclists, the cyclist patron. Why would a bike shop welcome only customers who arrive in a motor vehicle?

Is there a problem when non-cycling oriented businesses (grocery store, fast food, thrift store) have better bicycle related fixtures than a bike shop?

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