You’re doing it wrong: Bike Racks

I’m hereby starting a new series of posts, on a topic I’m sure is close to all our hearts: Why other cyclists are doing absolutely everything wrong and should stop now please.

We all do it. We love doing it. Now I’m going to do it here.

First up, bike racks.

Specifically, the kind of multi-bike racks that many progressive workplaces have in their car parks, so their workers can arrive happy, flushed and awake – by bike – in the morning.

Apparently, none of you know how to use them. Let me show you a picture of some idiots doing it wrong.



Notice, if you will, the handlebars of the road bike at centre left crammed up against the tubing of the bike rack itself. Notice also the overlap of the handlebars. This results in drop bars entangled in cables, bar ends scratching bar ends, scuffed brake levers, gear cables pulled until your indexing is out of whack and all kinds of general horror. The high rack to the left is basically unusable because of the tangle of handlebars and nobody seems to have any sense of order. Worse, the derailleur of the road bike at centre left is right in the firing line should the commuter bike at centre-right be removed roughly by a less-than-careful owner. And these people obviously are¬†less-than-careful because of the way they’ve parked. QED.

Protip: STOP DOING THIS. It’s an inefficient use of space and – to put not too fine a point on it – a fucking mess.

Also, helmets must be clipped to the stem and draped over your handlebars. It’s the rules.

Conversely, here’s how it’s actually done


On the left, my Trek Domane. On the right, m’colleague Tim’s Trek Madone. Nestled together in perfect harmony. Tim’s front wheel is in the elevated portion of the rack, lifting his handlebars clear of the rack’s tubing. My handlebars are free of obstruction and unlikely to be dinged, scratched or mangled when Tim removes his bike later today. And there’s no way I can wreck Tim’s derailleur, and no way he can wreck mine. And there’s plenty of space in the high rack to the left, should someone wish to use it, notwithstanding the idiot who parked there with his front wheel in the rear-wheel position.

This, friends, is how it’s done.

And this also applies to the wall-mounted racks some workplaces provide. Though apparently no-one at my workplace can figure those out either


Now write that out five hundred times and DON’T let me catch you doing it again.


4 Thoughts on “You’re doing it wrong: Bike Racks

  1. Wow. I have never seen or used those bike racks before but I think I would be one of those idiots. haha. At least now I know.

  2. Bill Holliday on 8 July, 2015 at 1:42 pm said:

    I ride a hub-geared 20″ folder with large wooden box mounted on the rear carrier to carry my work gear and also the groceries on the weekend. No way would it be at all compatible with these stupid bike racks. And what about the people who ride recumbents or bikes with child carriers on the back? And judging from the lack of mudguards, racks or lights, the riders of the cycles pictured must be of the fair-weather, daylight only variety.

  3. WrongerYet on 10 August, 2016 at 6:55 am said:

    I get what you’re saying. When I drive, I always back into parking spots unless diagonal. Yet, you seem to be assuming everybody rides the same configuration that you have deemed Worthy Of Parking At Your Workplace Etc. If everyone only ate vanilla ice cream, think of the precious freezer space saved in grocery stores! I ride with rear panniers. I avoid removing them. Makes it a little tougher to sidle in & lock up that rear wheel. And who wants to get their U-lock greasy by locking it near the chain? You go ahead and use those low wall mount and every other on the floor mount. I’ll do what works for me, despite the fact that the rack designers/installers/owners don’t consider my choices worthy of consideration. Enjoy your dish of vanilla!

    • I know what you mean though. My bikes are fairly vanilla, but my 29ers don’t fit these racks at all well.

      At a previous workplace, this diversity was recognised, and a variety of racks were provided (although inevitably, some arse with a vanilla bike would often take the racks that were best for 29ers and vice versa). This workplace, not so much.

      They’re shitty racks, but if people think when using them, they’re better than nothing.

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