On-street parking may be a given for cars, but for bikes, it is not an option due to the threat of theft. Most homeowners will wheel their bikes around through the side gate for storage in a locked shed, but what are residents in terraced houses or apartments with perhaps shared or first floor entrances to do? The answer is either to store the bicycles in the house, wheel them through living areas or lock them to an outside railing and hope for the best.
For the recreational weekend cyclist, wheeling a very light bike through the house is not a problem, but for commuting cyclists, perhaps with multiple bikes for the school run, this is not feasible to do twice a day.
One solution that has been rolled out by Dublin City Council and more recently by Waterford Council are bike hangers (which are also known as bike bunkers). These hangers are designed to fit in a parking space, have space for eight bikes, and enclose bikes in a lockable hood to allow access to only those with a key.
A solution for Maynooth?
In Maynooth, most housing estates do come with side access, but there are a few areas of terraced housing and high density apartments that this solution is tailor made for. Maynooth Cycling Campaign have approached Councillors with a proposal for a trial installation at Leinster Cottages, just behind the Main Street, with the Councillors and area engineer responding positively with possibly the main barrier being the administrative burden.
There are other bicycle storage solutions in Maynooth at both Tesco and the train station; the one at Tesco is operated by a private company and so is pay by the hour, so unsuitable for long term habitual storage. The train station lockers are based on a similar model. Both of these models allot a large enclosed storage area for a single bicycle tenant, and so are aimed at the owners of expensive bicycles, as the alternative of chaining the bicycle to a rack is riskier but free of charge. They are not a suitable model for households which may have multiple kids bikes and need to store overnight, every night.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign are currently looking for other suitable locations around the town with terraced houses or apartments without street access to a garden. If you have need for a bike hanger and think that there is a suitable location near you, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.