Behold the New and Improved Bike Valet Program!November 2, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Posted in Bike News, Get Involved | 7 Comments
Tags: Bicycle Parking, Bike Valet
My name is Bobby Gadda, and last month I stepped in as the new Bike Valet Coordinator. I have been a volunteer with the LACBC for a couple of years, and am also active with CicLAvia and the Bike Kitchen. I have been charged with revamping the Bike Valet program. Here goes!
What is Bike Valet? Let’s say you are an event producer who is going to host a really cool event. Events that attract a lot of bicyclists (such as bike film festivals, urban planning meetings, square dances or hoe downs) require a lot of bike parking. Once people fill up the bike racks (if there are any), they will starting locking up to signposts, pipes, railings, trees, or other unsuitable objects. This can become quite a mess, and potentially hazardous for the event attendees. That’s where we come in!
We bring and set up bike racks (more on these later) at the event, and establish a secure zone around the area to guard the bikes. Bike Valet is just like Valet car parking. You bring your bike to the Valet attendants, they take your bike, and you get a number to reclaim your bike later. It’s that easy! This makes parking your bike much less of a hassle for attendees – no need to hunt for a parking spot or lock up your bike. You can also leave your lights, accessories, and bags on your bike, knowing that it won’t be messed with on the street.
For event producers, this is a great bonus to provide attendees – easy parking if you ride a bike! This not only makes the event more manageable – it brings more people to your event! If you have an event coming up that needs bike valet, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteering with Bike Valet: This was actually the first thing I volunteered with when I first moved to LA. It is a great way to meet other people in the bike scene, plus you get to hang out with me! The shifts are usually only 3 hours, so that you can enjoy at least half of whatever event is going on – and volunteers are supplied with food and drink. It is fun handling stranger’s bikes – you can see how light or heavy they really are! Email email@example.com if you want to get a chance to volunteer at the next valet!
The Bike Valet racks: Right now we have about 100 feet of bike racks. These are metal and wood A-Frames with 10 ft steel poles that a previous generation of LACBC built. They work by hanging the bike by the saddle on the pole, so we can fit about one bike per foot of rack. Formerly these had to be transported by car – but this was before the revolution of Woodsin Joseph-Sandberg! Woody figured out how to fit these bulky and heavy racks on his self-designed ladder trailers. For the past few months now most Bike Valet events have been transported by bike trailer rather than car!
Woody and I are now working on the second generation of bike racks – using much lighter aluminum tubes and an ingenious folding system. Last Friday we purchased a whole bunch of aluminum tubes from a metal supplier in the Valley, and moved them via bike to LA. We were able to haul all of the components of 100 feet of bike rack on one fairly light trailer, rather than the two heavy ones the old system requires. This, along with the old racks will double our maximum capacity to 200 bikes for larger events.
The Future of Bike Valet: A few weekends ago I traveled up to San Francisco to check out the SFBC Bike Valet Program. I met with some of their organizers and even volunteered at one of their bike valet events to get an on street perspective. Their program is already booked the year through with recurring events such as the bike valet they provide at every Giants home game at the baseball stadium, and the valet every week at the big farmer’s market downtown. One of my goals for LA’s bike valet program to grow it to more events on a more regular schedule. I’m looking into farmer’s markets, music venues, maybe even Dodger Stadium? If you have any ideas or connections, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.