May is National Bike Month, but that’s not the reason I bought a new bike. I did so because it was time. For the last year and a half I’ve been itching for new wheels. Literally. If you can believe it, I physically outgrew my bike. The last time I did that I was ten. Apparently all the yoga I’ve done over the years has stretched out my body (or at least improved my posture). Regardless, after 12 years and 16,000 miles, it was time to say goodbye to my Trek.
But the search wasn’t easy. It took time and patience. And not only mine. Thanks to a former sword-swallowing, unicycle-riding juggler-turned-bike salesman, Joey helped me find the perfect ride: a Specialized Ruby Sport. And since my birthstone is ruby, it seemed fitting.
Finding the right bike can be a challenge, but the real challenge – especially for folks in cities – is bike storage. My building has a bike room, and there’s a waiting list, but for anyone who spends as much money on a bike as a fine piece of art (though it’s no nude oil painting of Bea Arthur) I don’t want to leave it out of my sight. As with any masterpiece, I want to show it off. The question is how?
As I sketch bike-hanging designs for my living room and look at Pinterest for ideas, New York City is in the midst of rolling out a bike share program and has begun installing stanchions throughout the city. While I’m the first to champion folks to get on bikes, these stanchions are taking up precious sidewalk and parking space. And this is before the bikes have been delivered. Once the bikes are added they’ll take up another five feet. As any city planner worth their degree knows, ground space is at a minimum and in order to live comfortably you need to go up.
Now, when a bike is vertical on one wheel with the other in the air, it takes up only three feet. Sure it’s still taking up space, but at least it’s less. The folks backpedaling in the Mayor’s office need a solution. I’ve got one. Currently the bike stanchions are rectangular posts that you slide the front wheel in to lock the bike. What if the bike stanchions were taller and held the bikes in a standing position? To avoid blocking sight vision, the stanchions would be lined up on side streets or adjacent to buildings.
My idea may not be the perfect solution, but it’s worth looking at alternative bike storage that takes up less space. If anyone knows how valuable every inch of space is, it’s someone who lived in 1,080 square inches (a.k.a. 90 square feet) of it.