Ideas for Cities: Spatially and Functionally Innovative Bicycle Parking

The bicycle is an integral part of the sustainability strategy of many cities, but as its popularity as a mode of transport increases, so does the difficulty of accommodating it in urban areas. With this in mind, Kent-based organisation Cycle Pods have created an innovative portfolio of bicycle storage solutions, offering cities, companies, and schools a potential solution to their bike storage needs.

Their flagship product is the cyclepod. By storing bicycles in an upright manner, 8 bikes can be secured in a 2 metre diameter. Two locking points for each bicycle will satisfy the most security-conscious cyclist. A modular equivalent has also been spun-off from this product. Called the Spacepod, this variation comes in different shapes, allowing a bicycle park to be built along walls, around corners, or back to back. More suited for organisations looking to install bicycle parking for their employees, the Spacepod has many corporate users including The Guardian and KPMG.

Unfortunately, local councils are less known for their willingness to innovate, something which may well have resulted in the creation of the Streetpod. Allowing bicycle parking in a more traditional horizontal manner, the Streetpod secures both wheels of a bicycle with only one lock by docking the front wheel in solid plastic casing, and a metal bar for the rear wheel and lock. Whilst this design element makes the Streetpod a more visually intrusive addition to the streetscape, the benefit to cyclists – who would only need one lock to securely park their bicycle – is clear.

The needs of not only cyclists were taken into consideration in the creation of these products. Unlike traditional bicycle parking facilities, no concrete foundations are required to secure these devices to the ground. Their larger form allows for simple securing with screws, and considering the high carbon emissions associated with concrete production, this has got to be a good thing. Cyclepods are also a fully carbon neutral company – from the products they produce to the office they inhabit – and this range of designs is made from 100% recycled or recyclable materials.

So considering the spatial, functional, and environmental efficiencies of these products, it’s a real shame they are so visually obtrusive. The minimal design features of more traditional bicycle parking, whilst with its functional inefficiencies, undoubtedly makes for a more harmonious urban space. However, when a range of products comes along with as many positive design features as Cyclepods have created, it would be crazy to dismiss them for being, well, a bit ugly.