In this photograph, we have that very rare thing – a bike parked out of the elements in Cardiff city centre. Spotted it yet? To get both the bike and the canopy into the same shot requires standing a reasonable distance back, rendering the bike almost invisible. Look in the bottom right hand side of the shot; a trials bike is locked to the railings (zoomed image below). Only 5 minutes earlier, I’d spotted a bike in a similar situation, shoehorning itself under the edge of some protection afforded by an NCP car park (oh, the irony).
At the risk of sounding somewhat self serving, this is one of my inner city bugbears. Parking any professional interest in supplying bike shelters (yes please…..how many would you like? J ), I see this as part of the complex jigsaw puzzle of getting bums on saddles . Yesterday I spent the entire day ensconced at the city’s central library, safe from the clutches of my colleagues, friends and family, nose deep in management books and long papers on the power of theories. My bike sat outside. In the rain. Getting wet. Saddle protected from the elements courtesy of a 5p Sainsburys plastic bag and the mission burrito saddle cover (I find a two layer approach works best). The rest of my cherished components were left to endure the vagaries of the elements which at time of writing were damp, grey and around 12°C. I hate it. I’d like some protection for my poor bike. Just a little canopy. Any eeeny, weeny, teeny , tiny one would be fine. Anything to keep the rain off. On the positive side, there were enough Sheffield stands available to lock my bike to (because its rainy?).
To my mind it begs the question – is it one of the factors that can put off a potential cyclist? Cycling is such a tangled web of factors that only naivety would lead me to believe that potential cyclists are being put off in their droves because they can’t park their bikes under a nice dry canopy. But factor other concerns like bike theft (See ‘Abandoned’ series of posts), lack of available bike parking in easy access/busy areas and poor infra, and it might just be the straw that breaks the donkey’s back. My bike is a slightly smashed up single speed. I’d certainly think twice if the bike had just a little more bling.