Cycle parking and bike racks for your workplace

How to install bike parking at your workplace
bike racks for office buildings
bike racks for office buildings
Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle parking and bike racks for your workplace

There's hardly a destination where cycle parking isn't necessary - schools, offices, stations, surgeries, shopping centres, to name but a few. This guide explains the best way of providing it.

The importance of well-designed, high quality and convenient cycle parking must never be underestimated. It affects the chances of a bike being stolen or damaged; and it can even influence someone’s decision to cycle in the first place. Lampposts, railings or gutter pipes just aren't good enough. There are a few key principals to consider when choosing cycle parking for your place of work, following these will ensure its success.

Where you should install your bike parking

There is no point in installing cycle parking in obscure, remote locations away from the place you’re going – if it is, it’s more than likely that it won’t be used much or at all. It has to be near, ideally closer or as close as the nearest available car parking and, for better security, in public view and lit at night.

How much bike parking should you install?

Cycle parking should cater for both existing and potential demand. It is surprising how quickly new stands fill up.

Ensuring your bikes are locked up safely

While parked cycles should be secure, meaning that they can be locked easily, the design of the cycle parking accommodates several types of bike, and depending on the type of cycle parking with a short stay or long stay, the parking has an appropriate level of security. this may mean that it's enclosed by a cage, with the security code for long stay parking, or that it is in a convenient place that is overlooked by passers-by.

Keeping your employees bike secure
Keeping your employees bike secure

Decide what your bike parking is for

There are several reasons a person would lock their bike;

  • To go shopping
  • While at work
  • At a train station while travelling

These can broadly be split into short term parking, for popping into a shop or café, and long-term parking for workplaces, residences, schools and public transport interchanges. Also, the cycle parking should accommodate a wide variety of bikes that are available on the market, including adapted cycles, cargo bikes and wider bikes that have panniers attached.

Keep the bike parking well-maintained  

With all types of cycle parking maintenance and cleaning of the area should be included in any design.

  • A dirty cycle shelter, with lots of locks left around cycle parking, or worse broken and cut locks left makes the area unappealing to leave your bike, lowering the chances of people cycling there.
  • Regular reviews and audits of cycle parking should be undertaken, to ensure that it is working properly and has not been tampered with, as with all types of cycle parking they are vulnerable to thieves, with common tactics including cutting cycle parking and covering the cut with heavy duty tape, ensuring that the thief can easily remove bikes from the cycle parking without the user knowing that it's been compromised.
  • Some ancillary products can be delivered alongside cycle parking include pumps, maintenance stands where adjustments can be made quickly and easily with tools provided, a separate place to leave your lock if this is a place where you cycle regularly.

Types of cycle parking 

There are several different designs and types of cycle parking available on the market and it can be quite confusing to decide which ones will be most appropriate for each project, especially if the person purchasing the cycle parking is not a cyclist themselves. 

Choosing the best bike racks for your office
Choosing the best bike racks for your organisation
  • ‘Sheffield’ stand are the most common type of cycle parking, effectively an inverted 'U' shape, which supports the whole bike. They are popular because the stand keeps a cycle steady while it’s being locked, or luggage is being removed from it. Both the frame and wheels can be usually be locked to a Sheffield stand, making theft more problematic.
  • Slotted concrete slabs, or ‘butterfly’ wall racks are unpopular with cyclists because they have a tendency to bend wheels, don't support the whole cycle Also this design makes locking the bike effectively more difficult.
  • Semi vertical racks are common inside buildings, and where there are space constraints. While semi vertical racks are appropriate for some bicycles, they are not appropriate for all bicycles as the user has to lift their bicycle up in order to use them, which can be problematic for many bikes. Also, with a fixed width to instal your tyre into, they don't accommodate bikes with wider tyres. 
  • Two tier racks, are a design that's very common in Holland. These are popular because for the same footprint of the cycle parking you can get double the amount of bikes in. Although efficient on space some of the drawbacks of this design include, having to lift your bike up, only accommodating some bicycles and without an additional metal bar makes locking the frame and the wheels more challenging, especially when using D-locks.
  • Individual bike lockers can be installed quickly and are bolted to the ground, giving one user access to this locker.. This type of locker has some benefits in that the cycle inside cannot be seen by passers-by, and it keeps the cycle dry during inclement weather. Some of the drawbacks of this design especially when being used at workplaces is the management of these lockers can be difficult, with users often seeing them as personal lockers rather than a shared resource, it can be tricky to accommodate seasonal variations in cycling numbers.

Also for some users, having an enclosed space gives an increased sense of security, but this is not always the case as they have their own vulnerabilities.


Employers tend to opt for 'Sheffield' stands because they are cheap, durable and easy to produce and maintain. They can also be improved by installing a Perspex or metal covering, to keep the bikes and cyclists dry when it rains.

Just as with car parking, cycle parking should be close to the building or inside, visible to staff, security guards or CCTV systems to minimise theft. It's even better if it's difficult to approach by van - thus preventing bulk theft.

However well a bike is locked, vital parts can still go missing. You can't cycle home if someone has stolen your saddle or handlebars. Where regular users leave bikes for the whole day, a locked room within the building or an outdoor compound can be the ideal, if more expensive, solution. If outside space is limited, while not an ideal solution, wall-mounted racks are worth considering; hanging hooks can be fitted inside too and can make good use of not much room.

Additional resources on cycle parking

The Department for Transport's cycle infrastructure design guidance published in 2020, has a section on cycle parking (Chapter 11). 

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A useful page - I was looking for advice to send to a local Garden Centre. Pity it took a bit of searching to find it on the Cycling UK site.

I searched for "cycle parking" in the Cycling UK search box but did not find this. What probably happened was that it searched for pages containing either cycling or parking, of which there are 602 hits. Please fix this.

I want advice for cycle parking outside a block of flats. I think there is probably a lot of demand for good advice on this topic in the UK. Here in Germany lots of buildings have cycle parking by the front door.

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