Check out the following shot of a few of the racks that were installed in Times Square. This is just one day, however I do not think I have ridden by these racks and ever seen a bike locked to one. Right now I guess they are just art pieces for tourists to stare at.
While standing in front of these racks, I glanced across the street and saw this common site - a gaggle of fashion challenged tourists of course, and oh yeah, a bike locked to standard green sign post.
Witness yet another instance of this. Close up you see the new rack chosen by the city (unused again) and in the background (with the assist of the orange arrow) you will witness yet another bike chained to a green sign pole.
And then there is this bit of genius on the part of the city.
What Einstein installs bike racks on top of metal grates? I can just see someone fumble their bike lock key right down into one of these sidewalk vents for the subway. The open holes are practically calling out for things that slip out of your hand or that mistakenly come out of your pocket when you are trying to fish something else out.
I think a great rack design would not only allow for typical ground based locked jobs, but also allow a rider to hoist their bike up off of the ground, similar to the concept used in the common household tension pole. Witness the pole I use in my apartment.
I would use a vertical set poles and throw some hooks on it about four feet high. This would allow the vertically challenged to lock their bike like normal - on the ground, and the vertically blessed to hoist their whip up and lock it off the ground. This would make it harder for a criminal to bust the lock by using the ground as leverage for a bolt cutter. It would also double the number of bikes you could park in the same space. Witness this inspirational photo I took a few years ago of a creative "aerial" lock job -
Witness my mad art skills at work with this concept drawing of my idea. There would of course be a loop, eyelet, or double poles to put your lock through on the top portion so that someone could not simply lift your bike over the top and walk away with it.
A rack incorporating my idea might also avoid sights like this one:
I can't tell you the number of bikes I see that get bent and abused when cars or trucks cross into sidewalk territory and bend or mangle wheels and or frames.
Does your city/town/village/shire have bike racks you love or loathe? Feel free to send us comments and pictures.