The useless bike rack

Note to strip mall managers: I have this strange aversion to tying my bicycle to a rack that can be moved with one hand.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid.

19 thoughts on “The useless bike rack

  1. ProchaineStation

    ugg, I see this all the time.

    At the Harvey’s on St.Michel and Cremazie their bike rack has no poles… just a spot to sink the front wheel in…. safe.

  2. Vahan

    It is all about paying lip service to the new sexy “green”. They are saying, hey look we care about the environment, we care about the congestion of our parking lots, come one come all by bicycle, look at all the racks we have installed. This is the same with the STM pulling three seats out of every Metro car to accommodate wheelchairs, that is great, besides a handful of stations with elevators how do you get access to the platform, is there a secret passageway in the back somewhere? Or even the busses that tilt to let on wheel chairs, in all my years I have seen it used once, far out in the suburbs, and it took about 5 minutes to lower the bus, get the wheelchair on, lift the bus and move on again. Sorry, two times, once more on the 535, full bus, lowered for a large baby carriage, full bus, that was a good day. Great investment for all those buses. Or how about the corner of all the sidewalks cut away for easier wheelchair access, good luck getting around in the winter, it is almost impossible to walk how is a wheelchair rider going to move around the city to get a bus that will take them to an elevator-able station? Or how about the scam of paying 5 cents for plastic bags. I asked a pharmacy why they started this, of course the “we care about the environment and want to help reduce”, speech came out. I said look around the store at all the over-packaged products made by companies polluting the earth and maybe testing on animals, how is that good for the environment? How about all the perfumes you are spraying into the air, running all the lights and A.C when there are maybe 4 customers at night? Complete silence. So my nickel is being used how? It is all about appearance of caring.It is great for marketing, but hollow. Fairy-dust in our eyes.

  3. Just Me

    What about those stupid bike racks the STM has put on busses on a couple bus routes (and plan to expand the project to more bike routes in the next few years)? When the bus is stopped at a bus stop (or a red light), what’s going to stop anyone from grabbing one of the bikes off the rack and riding off with it while the owner is sitting on the bus??

    1. Shawn

      At least the rack is in the front, in full view. I recall being in San Francisco about ten years ago where the rack was on the back on the bus, I’m pretty sure.

    2. ProchaineStation

      What’s going to stop anyone from grabbing a bike from a bicyclist at a red light? The bike racks were a great idea, and I already used it on the second day of service, it’s very easy to use, and I didn’t hold up service, by the time I secured my bike (which took 10 seconds)it was the same amount of time that the person in front of me took to scan their Opus. Bike racks are also exclusively on 2011 buses which all have camera’s.

      1. Just Me

        What if your bike is the first one, and then someone puts a bike on top of it – when you go to get your bike you’ll have to take that other bike off first to get to your bike, what happens if you damage that other bike… What if you just take that first bike off, throw it on thr ground, take your bike and ride off leaving that other person’s bike laying in the street?

        1. ProchaineStation

          It’s just as easy to get the bike closest to the bus as it is if you were to get the bike furthest from the bus, there is a large gap between the bikes. All you have to do is pull the bar off the wheel and slide your bike off the rack. Their is no need to stand right in front of the bus and move the other bike out of the way to grab yours.

    3. Aaron

      Those bike racks are very useful. And they’re not some crazy new concept either – Edmonton, for example, has had them on many buses for years now, I used to use them frequently and never once had a problem.

  4. Apple IIGS

    Speaking of those ‘U’ shaped bike racks, they are the ONLY ones in Montreal I find usable (well, when they’re actually bolted to the ground!). My bike has a quick release for the front wheel, so with it off and the bike low to the ground, you can forget about using those stupid useless rings on parking meter posts.

    Of course since these U racks are so useful, the city of Montreal decided only to keep them installed during the summer months for the most part. That leaves me hunting for the lone stop sign or no-parking poles to lock my bike up to. Toronto on the other hand has dedicated bike posts and suits people who remove their wheels and people who stand them up as-is. AND they’re kept installed year around, imagine that.

    1. ZDZedDee

      Hi Apple,

      1) You can still lock your bike to the parking post below the bike-lock “ring.”
      2) Montreal in winter 2010-11 did not remove the U-stand bike rack, and you can see many salt or snow-removal-equipment destroyed bikes still dangling from them.

      My vote for most useless bike rack is the front-of-the-front-wheel-only bike rack which was perfect for the happy/peaceful/safe world 50 years ago but is seriously deficient in the security-of-locking parameter.

      PA supermarket just installed one of these on parc avenue, outremont buys them by the dozen, and the Home Depot on Beaubien west (?) just installed a second one. BAD NEWS!

      See here for an example.

      Fagsteins unsecure bike rack does certainly qualify as useless.

      My dream is for covered bike racks – rain does insidious things to bikes. (the grande bibliotheque has a huge overhang area near the bike racks that they have converted into one o fthe most luxurious outdoor smoking sections in the city. I’d like this establishment to become a lot more friendly to bikes and a lot less friendly to smokers. (end of rant).

      1. Apple IIGS

        ZDZedDee: As for locking up my bike to the parking post, that won’t physically work. The post is too THICK, preventing me from fitting my U-lock–not unless I carry my front bike wheel around with me after locking up my bike. What I do is remove the front tire, place it beside my bike, and then insert the U-lock so it’s passes through the bike frame, rear tire and (detached) front tire. To do that, I need a narrow long pole.

        Toronto keeps its bike loops near the edge of the sidewalk, that way it’s clear of any snow clearing.

        I think Montreal has to be one of the unsafest cities in the world for bike riding, what with the conditions of our roads (definitely worst in North America, and most parts of the world!), endless construction and crazy drivers. I spent far too much time looking down at the road for holes, then concentrating on what’s in front of me.

  5. Blork

    Well, the fact that you can drag the bike rack around doesn’t mean much. Try doing that with a bike attached to it. Bearing in mind that most bicycle thieves do not operate with pickup trucks, so anchoring your bike to a big and awkward hunk of metal isn’t entirely ineffective.

    What bugs me far more is the number of bicycle racks that appear to have been designed without bicycles in mind. For example, at my neighbourhood Provigo there’s a rack that *in theory* holds a dozen or so bikes. But most bike wheels won’t even fit into the narrow slots, and even if one did you’d only be able to lock the front wheel to the rack, which is essentially useless. So you have a bike rack designed and installed by people who don’t actually ride bikes.

    Which is not unlike our public transit system; designed and planned by people who don’t actually ride the Metro. How else do you explain the fact that every new public transit idea is designed to cram more people into the Metro at rush hour?

    If these people actually rode the Metro at rush hour they’d know that most of the time you can’t even fit a piece of paper into the Green or Orange line trains anywhere near downtown between 7:30 – 9:30 am and again in the evening. So why do their new initiatives always involve loading more people in at the extremities?

    1. Aaron

      “How else do you explain the fact that every new public transit idea is designed to cram more people into the Metro at rush hour?”

      Umm, what exactly are the supposed to do? Start public transit ideas designed to deter people from riding transit?

      1. blork

        How about putting some serious thought — and money — into creating new tram lines feed into downtown? That would take pressure off of the Metro, and trams are more consistent and reliable than buses.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater. I’ve been using Montreal public transit almost non-stop for more than 20 years. I’m a serious hard-core user. And that’s part of the reason why I don’t like plans that make an overcrowded system even worse.

        The best thing to do would be to expand the network widely, so it’s more like a web (like Paris or London) than just a few lines. Unfortunately we missed the boat on that one, and tunnelling is just way too expensive, so we’re stuck with our four lines and all we can do is make them extend farther into the ‘burbs.

        1. Fagstein Post author

          How about putting some serious thought — and money — into creating new tram lines feed into downtown? That would take pressure off of the Metro, and trams are more consistent and reliable than buses.

          They’re also harder to reroute. They can’t take detours during construction, and they’re more expensive to build and operate. I’m not saying I’m against the idea per se, but a lot more thought needs to go into it first. One of the first proposed tram lines was the route currently being used by the 515 bus, whose ridership numbers fell far below expectations. At least there, they could just change the route.

    2. Fagstein Post author

      How else do you explain the fact that every new public transit idea is designed to cram more people into the Metro at rush hour?

      To be fair, they do realize this is a problem, and are trying to come up with ways of dealing with it. The 427 express bus, for example, was designed specifically to take some pressure off the most congested part of the metro network, and bring people along St. Joseph Blvd. directly to downtown.

      The STM has also improved its bus network, by adding larger buses to Côte des Neiges and Parc, and increasing frequency to 10 minutes or less on the highest traffic routes.

      There’s definitely more that can be done, but they fully realize there’s a problem that needs to be fixed.

    1. ZDZedDee

      That’s Admiral Ackbar.

      I believe that bike racks are engineering-type infrastructure and therefore there should be design standards for bike racks, stands, and other forms of bike parking. Then bylaws are passed to require bike racks to meet these standards. Bikes that don’t met the standards can be ticketed by bylaw officers and will be gradually replaced until we have only useful bike racks everywhere. The everywhere part is important too.

      There should be a diversity of designs available because not all bike stands fit all bikes, as noted above by apple2gs.

      Despite the occasional bad-bike stand, the bike-parking situation has improved 1000% in the last few years. Montreal accepted and encouraged people to use bikes (there own and bixi) to travel urbanly, and they wisely recognized that more bike parking is the answer to less-cars-on-the-road (or at least, slower rate of growth of car usage)

      Now, about that laurier ave est bike lane: woohoo!


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