Coming soon to a pavement near you: new automated bike parking

VIDEO: Have your bike whisked away out of sight and worry till you're ready to ride again

by Sarah Barth   December 14, 2013  


Automated bicycle parking could soon be on a high street near you, with two high-security Dutch designs due to be sold in Britain.

Falco, who already supply bicycle parking to businesses and government, hope to bring the futuristic bike lockers, originally designed for Amsterdam, to the UK.

Providing extremely high security storage without the need for a lock, the VelowSpace and VelowMinck keep bikes out of sight of thieves and vandals, but are unmanned and remotely monitored.

Originally developed for the Dutch Railways OV Fiets cycle hire scheme. The VelowSpace is based on a carousel, in which 24 bikes are effectively parked in a ring with their front wheel in front.

The bicycles are clamped into a patented front wheel clamp system with a 3-point lock that guarantees a stable and upright position for the bicycle. The VelowSpace could be used both for rental bikes as shown below with OV Fiets, or personal bikes.


The VeloMinck automatically parks bicycles further out of sight on another level to the user. The cycle is picked up and transported to a secure storage space and retrieved as and when requested by the cyclist, as requested using a personal swipe card or bar code, as seen below:

We highlighted just how ambitious these cycle parking schemes can be earlier this year when we reported how Utrecht Centraal railway station in the Netherlands is to get the world's largest cycle parking facility, with space for 12,500 bicycles.

Final plans for the scheme for the eastern entrance to the station have now been approved, with the facility opening in two phases - the first in 2016, with final completion two years later.

It will sit beneath a new square, closed to motorised traffic and lined with shops and cafes, and comprises three levels of cycle parking. A video has been released showing a CGI simulation, including how cyclists will enter and exit the new installation.

9 user comments

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These would be great across the UK at all places where large numbers go such as superstores and Town centres.

Would save having to lug locks which weigh nearly as much as the bloody bike & make cycling safer and more convenient for people

posted by gazza_d [422 posts]
14th December 2013 - 12:25


Looks great, especially since as gazza points out it reduces the need for a lock. Would be good to see one in the centre of London or Manchester, but you'd need an attendant of sorts. Perhaps next to a bike shop?

posted by GREGJONES [251 posts]
14th December 2013 - 16:00


The BBC recently reported how Japan are leading the way with cycle parking -
Worth a moment of your time to watch the video.

My only fear in life is that in the event of my death, my wife will sell my bikes for what she thinks we paid for them.

posted by Velo-Chris [18 posts]
14th December 2013 - 18:52


Japan had automated bike tower parking in 1988 and in 1995 we saw a 29-bike storage tower using the Falco vertical gas strut lifting system. The Dutch were using carousels in 1997, and then abandoned the idea, and biciberg (below ground) was being promoted in Spain at the same time.

The fundamental weakness for large numbers of cyclists parking is the level of service. At the 1995 demonstration it took the third cyclist in the queue nearly 3 minutes before they had parked or recovered their bike. It may work for bike dispensing at a hire point, and for residential blocks where everyone does not turn up to park or retrieve a bike at the same time.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [560 posts]
14th December 2013 - 23:28


How about we make subjectively safe streets the priority if there's money knocking around to spend?

London are now seeing the results of installing the bike hire scheme before making the city pleasant to cycle in (for everyone). Of course these kind of schemes and facilities are politically less controversial and they look exciting in the news, but in the end it's cart-before-the-horse-stuff.

Plus I won't be getting rid of my D-lock any time soon, and there are always railings around.

posted by pmanc [185 posts]
15th December 2013 - 2:32


what happens when i put my bike in with 60mm carbon tubs and that metal prong stabs them on the multilevel storage? ...or should i know better than to put those kind of wheels in there? Worried

georgeince's picture

posted by georgeince [76 posts]
15th December 2013 - 21:28


Am I missing something? Why are they automated? Why not place 24 bike lockers in a circle?
I suppose the only reason for it to be on a carousel would be access to your bike if space was tight but it appears to be an expensive solution to a simple problem. Thinking

posted by neilmitchuk [11 posts]
16th December 2013 - 11:46


That has got to be the most technologically advanced bike park system in the world

posted by jarredscycling [457 posts]
16th December 2013 - 19:45


Have a card and pin system that locks the door to a single bike enclosure. The system remembers the card and pin that was used to lock the enclosure and only opens to that card and pin combination. Then have many of those single enclosures next to each other. Put your bike in yourself. Much cheaper.

Question for all these solutions is how long will it take to fill up with bikes that no one collects after locking them up?

posted by earth [213 posts]
19th December 2013 - 23:47