How do I go about asking someone to move their bike rack?

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Erica
Participant
#

I walked up and down liberty downtown looking for somewhere to lock up. I’m currently in Au Bon Pain with my bike locked in EQT Plaza. Their bike rack is the kind with vertical bars, right up against a pillar. This means that I have no choice but to lock only my front tire to the rack. I just don’t feel safe locked up like this. I can’t even throw my front tire over the top bar and lock the tire to the frame like I do at school.

I’m not sure how to go about bringing this problem up to the people in the building, or who to bring it up to. One of the Au Bon Pain employees said probably the security guards, but I’m not sure if that’s within their control.

Pics:


dwillen
Participant
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Lock up to that angled support post on the side (in the bottom picture) or find a different rack. I know your question was how to fix this rack, but it is already a crap rack, so it doesn’t really make a difference where they put it.

I’d never just lock my front wheel up like the bike in that picture, even if I was only running in to grab something real quick. I like my front wheel, but I like the rest of my bike more.


cburch
Participant
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put your bike on the outside of the rack’s main frame (big tubes) and lock through your frame to that instead.


Swalfoort
Participant
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Better parking options available a half block away at Bike Center on Seventh (across from Bossa Nova). behind the green shipping containers are vertical racks and Three Rivers Racks.)


erok
Keymaster
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yeah, i wish bike rack companies would just stop making those. absolutely do not lock your bike up that way. use the angled bar. or go to Penn Ave – there are a lot more racks around there.


erok
Keymaster
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i think this picture says it all on how much cyclists like these kinds of racks


ejwme
Participant
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oh my god, I thought it was just that I was retarded at locking up my bike, and couldn’t figure out how to use racks. I’m not an idiot? At least perhaps not in that capacity? I seriously thought I was a perpetual incompetent jerk when it came to locking up my bike.

I feel like I’ve been eating soup with a fork, and somebody’s pointed out that I do not have an eating disorder, instead spoons exist.


dwillen
Participant
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The Sq. Hill Giant eagle has one of these racks too. I just turn my bike sideways and take up the whole rack. Kind of dumb to spend all that money for a multi-bike rack, when it only holds one bike. A pole in the ground is much cheaper.


erok
Keymaster
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and then when you say something, they say, well, no one uses the one we have…


RickyTickyTac
Participant
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Home Depot in East Liberty has one of those crummy racks too. You can’t even fit a normal sized 700c or 27 inch road wheel in the slot, and unless your u-lock is realllly long it won’t reach your frame too. Do the people who make these think everybody rides around on a bike with tiny wheels?


Erica
Participant
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respond by telling or demonstrating why no one uses it!

There were some really confused office employees watching me take pictures of the rack while muttering how bad the rack was, heh.


helen s
Participant
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When using one of these sorts of racks, I always put my bike on the end if availible. I do not see these as a problem, but I also use a cable.

Regarding the Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle, if you put you bike on taking up the whole rack, pleast leave the ends clear for others anyway.

In front of the main library in Oakland, we need to keep the racks away from the small wall to allow room for everyone.


dwillen
Participant
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RE: sq hill giant eagle rack: The ends are clear, though you can’t really effectively lock your bike to them since the rack is up against the wall.


Pierce
Participant
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This reminds me of how I complained to Ross Park Mall about being kicked off the property like two years ago and then to make amends they bought a bike rack, which ended up being one of these numbers

Wheels couldn’t fit (and I have a 26″) so I had to lock it length ways


emilyWools
Participant
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seriously: who invented the crap-o bike rack? were bikes smaller in the past or something? it seems like there must be a reason why it was designed that way.


Lyle
Participant
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My post on this topic got lost…

These racks were as common as dandelions outside elementary schools in the late 50s through the 70s. Kids’ bikes had 20″ or 24″ wheels, bolted on, with steel rims, and the goal was more to organize bikes neatly than it was to secure them. The fact that these racks continue to exist is just a reflection that we still haven’t got through to people that bikes are not just toys for kids.

If you reverse your bike so the rear wheel is in the slot, next to the angled bar as everyone else has recommended, and remove your front wheel, you can run a ulock around the seat tube and both rims, nice and snug and secure. That rack will hold four bikes this way.

Of course, messing with the front wheel is easier if you don’t have those stupid lawyer lips :( and maybe full-length fenders are a problem. In which case, switch out the QR skewer for a locking skewer and leave the wheel on.


steevo
Participant
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also, if you are on a beater bike, you can turn

the bars 90 degrees and put the front wheel over

the top, and lock the frame to the top horizontal

mount… it will probably scratch the bottom of your

downtube.


Pierce
Participant
#

My rear wheel couldn’t fit in the bike rack because of my rear rack :(

But while on the topic of racks, in some instances, how much better are the point racks?

For example, Giant Eagle has four or five of those in front of the Market District store in shadyside. How much easier would it have been if they used one or two of these:


Erica
Participant
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even these I don’t mind, because I’m able to lock the front tire to the frame to the rack


Pseudacris
Participant
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I like the three rivers racks. Wish there were more of them.


steevo
Participant
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you could leave a note?


ejwme
Participant
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dude, does the bike behind it really say “I brake for beavers”?

somehow that’s funny.


wojty
Participant
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I think the crummy design stems from yester-years and playgrounds. Kids bikes are smaller, and there were/are often lots of them at playgrounds, and the chance of theft has been and still often is very small. I am sure someone looked at these style and said “these work incredibly well for small bikes in safe places for short periods of time, let’s make these into permanent bike parking fixtures for adults” sigh


Erica
Participant
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I did think of leaving a note, haha.


bikefind
Participant
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I’ve written to the Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle about the rack there. I explained the problem with the rack, told them that’s why I and others lock our bikes up at the parking meters instead. I said I was concerned that they might see the empty rack and the bikes at the meters and think we just don’t want a rack, and I stressed that we do, but that it needs to be one we can securely lock our bikes to. This was over a year ago.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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RF- if you were going to contact a property owner, the first thing I would say is “Thank You” for having a bike rack…


Erica
Participant
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that’s actually something I wouldn’t have thought of, I was more worried that they’d have the “take it or leave it” attitude.


JZ
Participant
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A month or so ago, I biked to a work event at the Casino. They had one of those crap racks out back, which as a bonus was not secured to anything. No bikes on it. They had two of the squiggly racks out front, but they weren’t bolted down, so getting a locked bike out of one would be as easy as picking up one end and sliding the lock off. No bikes were there.

So I asked one of the employees if there’s a secure place that I could lock my bike. He pointed out the stupid rack and the mis/uninstalled racks. I said they weren’t secure. He gave a quick look around (I believe checking to make sure his boss wasn’t in hearing distance) and explained that’s why none of the people who work here lock their bikes there. They all lock up around back, where the employees take their breaks and can smoke. As a bonus, because the smoke breaks are rotated, there’s pretty much always people standing around there. Sure enough, I found it no problem, and there were about a dozen bikes locked up to poles, stairway banisters, etc. There was another stupid rack there, and not a single bike on it.

You’d think that someone in charge there might see the situation and acquire a clue.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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I really hate to sound so ungrateful but I actually don’t particularly like the 3 rivers racks. They look nice but are not very practical. Very often I have not been able to use one simply because there’s another bike locked to it. I guess that’s what I get for using a better lock (mini ulock)

I prefer coathanger or wave type…. but nothing beats the most ubiquitous bike rack, the parking meter


salty
Participant
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I use a mini U-lock and haven’t had a problem locking to the 3 rivers racks even if another bike is on the other side… I use the sheldon brown method (lock goes around the tire, through the rear triangle).


Bikelove2010
Participant
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I love the rivers racks outside work now. Also, my cargo bike wont connect to the other racks, so when I’ve got the Yuba out I’m all eyes for Rivers Racks.

But, I don’t like locking to them if there’s another bike and I do not know the owner. For example, me and one other rider at work share a rack. When My husband and I ride we share a rack. When my parents and I ride we share a rack. I’d look for a meter/railing/sign/etc before locking to a rivers rack with another bike. that’s personal preference tho.

A comment on unbolted bike racks:

what a frickin waste of everything. money, time, effort. Its great someone tried a little to get some racks but seriously? if your going to do something, do it all the way. Do it well. Do it ONCE.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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I use that method too todd. That actually makes it more difficult when there’s another bike locked up (esp. if they use the same method). The combination of the curvature of the rack, protruding handlebars, pedals, etc. make it rather impossible


salty
Participant
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hm… if they’re facing opposite directions the handlebars shouldn’t be a problem, pedals definitely are, but i haven’t had it prevent me from locking. That being said I don’t find myself double-locked to a 3-rivers rack that often, although it’s fresh in my mind since I just did it last week outside salt.


dwillen
Participant
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I try to double lock to the ones outside OTB, but they put them so close to the road, it is hard to shove your bike between the parked cars and the rack. It would suck even more when the dude tries to get into the passenger side of his car, and my bike is in the way.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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i’ve tried that as well. a lot of it depends on how the other person locked up. often the only way to accommodate is to just lock the top tube. again i think the circular shape of the rack diminishes its usability very dramatically.


Pierce
Participant
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“Its great someone tried a little to get some racks but seriously? if your going to do something, do it all the way. Do it well. Do it ONCE. ”

That’s what I think about all the poor implementations of the three rivers racks in places where I think wave type would do better


Erica
Participant
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My tires are too fat to lock the tire to the frame to the rack, unless it’s one of those crappy racks and I throw the front tire over the top bar….I need the big u-lock and the mini one.


scott
Keymaster
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Unfortunately if the Three Rivers Rack doesn’t work for you, no rack that works for narrow sidewalks will work for you (e.g. hoop rack, inverted-U rack, loop and post rack, etc). Most of the time the wave (which isn’t recommended for various reasons) and the campus rack won’t fit on the sidewalks.

Most cities use either the hoop, or the inverted-U.


Lyle
Participant
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Well, here I go being contrary again. I love the Three Rivers Racks. No, they’re not high-capacity, but I don’t get bent out of shape if someone locks to the other side while I’m using it. It might be a little bit of a struggle getting untangled but no big deal. And as a courtesy, if I’m riding with someone else, we lock our bikes to each others instead of using both sides of a 3RR.

Point taken about some of them being too close to the road, though.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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whenever i have to lock up to a small rack that already has a bike secured to it, i feel a bit uncomfortable, since i probably have to move their bike a bit to get my lock in. but then i think of whether i would be bothered if someone moved my bike for the same reason, and the answer is a resounding “hell no!” we both ride bikes, after all.

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