New Bike Racks for Downtown Peterborough

Car-themed bike racks will hold about 12 bikes each at popular restaurant sites

The #bikePTBO hashtag was all a-twitter yesterday with comments about the new bike racks installed in Downtown Peterborough. Positioned strategically in front of popular restaurants Hot Belly Mama’s/Olde Stone on George Street and Brio Gusto on Charlotte, the racks appeared on Tuesday and were installed quickly. They appear to be an initiative of the City, rather than the DBIA.

The racks, which were designed locally by Leo Gabourie and produced by Brad Clough and Brian Daniels, each hold about 12 bikes and will sit on the roadway in the parking lane. The outer side of the rack is designed as a playful representation of an older style landau limousine. While large and black, the racks do meld into the background when viewed from across the street. It is only when up close is the rack that noticeable. The four reflective marker posts are the only parts that really jar the eye (and if these were removed, there would be two more hitching spots).

Image of new bike racks in Peterborough, Ontario

The racks will, no doubt, cause some discussion. In a typical, pro-car, pro-status quo article, the Peterborough Examiner puts a negative spin on the racks with its lead-in headline indicating the racks bump out two car parking spots. They seem to have missed the point that putting a potential 24 plus customers into the space of eight potential customers is good math, or the fact that there are still, say, several hundred car parking spots. That said, they did produce a nice close-up photo essay (example below). This is, of course, where the car motif on the design works well, illustrating that the space of one car is equal to the space of many bikes.

Image via The Peterborough Examiner

They also seemed to miss the point that the racks are in front of two restaurants that have open fronts. Surely most clients would prefer to look out at a range of bikes than the side of a car? Even their photo essay had a nice looking green Electra out front of HBMs.

image of bike rack

What do you think of the bike racks? I’ve used them already once and they are very easy to use. The suggestion was they are there on a trial basis. This means, if the reaction isn’t positive, they may go. If you do like them, let business owners know. Better yet, let council know. Here’s how.

Update: The headline on the print version of the Peterborough Examiner article was more supportive: “New bike racks luring more cyclists downtown”.