Sunday 20 November 2016

Ecocycle: Dense Cycle Parking

Cycling has lots of gimmicks, but today I saw something very cool indeed - a genuine solution to the problem of cycle parking.

More specifically, the problem of providing lots of cycle parking in a small space; the "ecocycle - automated cycle storage" system. I'll dive right in. A user wishing to park their bike presents it at set of mini lift doors, swipes a card and then it is whisked away and one goes about their business. No faffing with locks and no worry about leaving your bike. 

Ecocycle's unit in London is the only one that that the Japanese supplier has provided outside of the country. The unit I saw was an above-ground demonstrator, but the unit can be installed underground as well and take 204 bikes with just the entry unit on the surface. Take a look at their website for lots more information.

Tucked away in a side road, the ecocycle unit is a cylinder with
bikes stored on racks stacked on to of each other.

You can just make out the multi-storey parking through the
windows of the building.

 The groove is where you put your bike/ collect it.

And with the swipe of a card;

Your bike arrives in seconds.

The bike is held until you step on the pad next to it
where it's released. Leaving or picking up in 13 seconds.

Clearly, there are all sorts of locations this could go and the underground version can hold 204 bikes, but it is especially exciting for new build schemes where not only could the space be for residents or workers, but extra capacity available for public rental. Do have a look at the website or follow them on Twitter

My thanks must go to Nick for hanging around on a freezing Sunday to show us the system and for Jonathan from the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign for arranging the demonstration. I'll leave you with a little video;


  1. Saw this when it was launched about a year ago. 2 key factors to put in to any calculation on whether you want to install one.

    How long for a deposit/retrieval cycle? We saw a 29-bike unit demonstrated in Winterthur in 1995 - 1 door and 35 seconds to request service, deposit or retrieve and clear for next user. a bigger unit may have a longer cycle time. Compare this with the level of service for open racks and other systems (eg Meerson access system)

    How valuable is the land/how much per bike to deliver the parking?

    Other factors we identified in studies in 1995/2001 - sod's law (especially in places where there are high levels of general cycling) that bikes will have fork mounted headlights (making many Dutch and German stands useless in places like Cambridge - where UK bikes have headlights on the RIGHT fork...) porteur racks and baskets... fat tyres....

    Savings on staff, and the fact that the same bike is held in every bay, might make this a handy detail for public bike hire at points of high demand, and indeed the video I had of a Japanese system, operated by RFID card was for hire bikes - each bike having a guide 'peg' fitted to the top of the expander bolt - the systems were noted in the report of 1988 - Bikes and Transit by Michael Replogle and the Bicycle Federation of America.

    Sometime perhaps a review of the 2-tier parking and how suppliers 'cheat' by making the space in front less than designed for to create an impressive parking density. To also note how a contractor may substitute a cheaper version to the original specification - buy cheap buy twice has been the case for Sevenoaks where the original installation was full of engineering horrors - bracing stays not connected, washers used to pack joint faces apart, skimped galvanising and paint priming, and ultimately failure of tack welding, causing some upper trays to fall down - the company no longer supplies bike racks, but not before this product has been supplied to several locations from Kent to Scotland.

    1. Cycle hire would definitely be a good application. I've no experience of the two-tier racks, but I'm told there is some right rubbish out there and people should be on their guard.

  2. Here's a decent video of the under ground version!

  3. Great article!!!! I really enjoyed reading this blog post.

  4. Thanks for sharing this great post. I Have seen your video tutorial really it is a great informative video.