Flycycle High Density Bike Rack for MIT Climate CoLab (Kendall Square)

The Flycycle is a bike rack designed with many economic and environmental factors in mind. Developed as a part of a crowd-sourced design contest for the MIT Climate CoLab, the product offers a solution for high densities of bike parking in urban areas.

The theme of the EP Exhibit 2016 is It Takes a Community. Selected projects showcase the best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.

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There are many good, but underused, locations for bike parking around Kendall Square: wide sidewalks around new development, plenty of parking garages, pedestrian or low traffic plazas, as well as narrow corridors between buildings that could stand for some interesting design. The Flycycle applies one, adaptable design to address the lack of bike parking in all these places, while considering its role as attractive street furniture.

The Flycycle achieves accessibility and high density by elevating one of two bikes parked against the same standalone frame. This allows the handlebars (usually the widest part of the bike) to avoid knocking each other. Compared to the “lollipop” rack or “inverted U” rack, this feature allows units to be placed closer together, enabling a greater number of racks in the same amount of space. Accessibility is increased when bikers don’t have to rearrange their bikes or adjacent bikes to avoid their toppling over, and the elevated part of the frame requires no extra strength to use.

The Flycycle can also be mounted against a wall, reducing the area necessary for bike parking in constrained spaces. The Flycycle, with one side elevated, also offers a sturdy frame that lifts bikes above the first 6 inches or so of snow. When the rack is mounted on the wall, it provides for an unobstructed ground plane that assists with building maintenance and snow removal.

The Flycycle is made from a single, affordable metal tube, no other parts necessary. It’s easy to mass-produce, yet customizable by painting different colors and arranging in different numbers and configurations.

The key functional characteristic of the Flycycle is the “shoulder” on one side of the rack. It allows the biker to slide the front wheel of her bike forward and up a grooved inclined plane, the wheel coming to rest on two points, the top of the rounded "shoulder" joint and the bottom front of the "wing" where the tube bends to one side. Elevating the front of the bike avoids the well-known, troublesome interference that occurs when two bikes are locked to the same post at the same height, each one’s handlebars and/or front baskets knocking into the other’s and forcing one front wheel to turn outwards, causing instability, wasted space, frustration, and threat for the bikes to fall over, obstruct paths, and possibly break.

The shoulder forms a cradle for the front wheel, (but touches it at only two points to allow for various wheel sizes) and provides extra stability for the elevated bike. The elongated wing provides a long space to attach U-locks at many points to bike frames of different shapes. Pedals, which can also cause jumbling in crowded bike racks, are also at different heights when one bike is elevated.

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