Encouraging your customers or visitors to arrive via bike to preserve the environment and reduce parking lot crowding is as simple as giving them a secure place to keep it while they're using your facility. However, most pre-made racks have serious design flaws that discourage bike riders from wanting to trust their $2000 street bike with them. Order a set of custom fabricated steel bike racks designed with these four tips in mind to make the most of your investment.
Two Points of Contact
Standard upright bike racks tend to be designed for the rider to lock the front wheel of the bike to the rack. Unfortunately, this design is not secure because it's easy for an experienced thief to quickly disconnect the wheel and make off the rest of the bike. Even if the rider uses the rack in a different way to secure the frame itself with a lock, it leaves the wheels vulnerable to theft.
For maximum security without an enclosed locker space, stick with a design that allows for two points of contact with the bike or more. A good example is the simple inverted U shape found in many cities. The bike can be chained across both vertical supports to protect the wheels, and most bikes are high enough to be connected to the top of the arch as well for a third point of contact.
Aside from choosing a design based on its number of contact points with the bike, consider what kind of message you can send with how the device looks. Make your bike racks more than just a parking area by
- Picking a whimsical or artistic design that attracts attention just for the appearance
- Working in your company's logo or name into part of the rack
- Indicating the purpose of the racks by giving it a visual bike theme.
Ordering a custom metal bike rack gives you more control over how the piece fits with the rest of your business' exterior design. Don't settle for the same old metal rack when you can turn the device into a form of advertising or public art.
On top of picking a shape that works better for bike users, consider how the entire rack attaches to the ground. Many business owners install bike racks as a retrofitting measure instead of adding them when the parking lot or walkways are first being poured, so they try to rely on heavy weights and bars to keep a free-standing rack in place. You'll get far greater security by anchoring the rack in concrete.
Limiting the number of ground-touching supports in the design allows you to make just a few holes in the ground outside your business instead of having to tear up a large section of parking lot or walkway just to properly install the rack in the ground. For example, the rack design that involves a circular frame mounted on a single straight post has only one section that needs to go into the ground and still offers multiple points of contact with the bike.
While steel is tough enough to resist the best efforts of bike thieves as long as it's not spread too thin, it can still damage the bike itself and make riders less likely to stop at your business. Coat all exposed metal with a tough epoxy product or a powder coating to keep the edges from scratching or denting the frame of the bike. Even a thick coat of paint acts as a buffer against damage, and these coatings also extend the life of the bike rack by preventing rust and corrosion. Most steel fabrication companies are also set up to handle the coating process so you don't have to send the racks to another company to have them finished.
Contact a steel fabrication company like Suburban Welding & Steel LLC to get started on your bike rack design.