EINDHOVEN – With bicycle basket on the handlebars, extra fat tires or expensive electric bicycle; so many flavors so many bike models. But modern bicycles often do not fit in the average bicycle racks. Designer Ton Kooymans from Eindhoven came up with the solution.
The current bicycle racks are outdated because the bicycle has changed over the years. Moreover, according to experts, the garages are real ‘rim killers’. The front wheel is fixed and if the bicycle gets a push from the side, your wheel will irrevocably be knocked.‘That must be solvable’, thought Ton Kooymans and so he developed the new design AXLE, English for ash. The bicycle is supported by the axle of the front wheel, instead of the wheel itself. And that makes a world of difference.
“Swap bikes have a light on the side so they can’t stand in the normal bike rack.”
Kooymans has been working with a small design team for the past five years on the development and improvement of bicycle parking facilities. Since this year, these have been marketed under our own management and through distributors. Remarkably enough, Kooymans is known for his Tulip design, the Netherlands’ best-selling model of bicycle parking that can be found at all NS stations.
Did he do a good job himself? ,,Yes, because the Tulip is still sufficient, but it was introduced in 1995. Over time, modernization and improvement is needed. There is a new generation of bicycles; heavier, more expensive and they don’t fit in the current parking facilities or they get damaged. Did you know, for example, that Swapfietsen have a luggage carrier and a light on the side of the front fork, so that they cannot stand in the normal bicycle rack?”
Parking not stealing
Parking is one thing, preventing theft is another. To this end, Kooymans and designer Stefan Bukkems devised a flexible cable with a loop that can bend up to the rear wheel of the bicycle. Users can also attach their bicycle chains to the back of the frames. “Simple, we bring the rack to the lock instead of the lock to the rack.”
Sustainability also plays a major role in the design. Corten steel, stainless steel, aluminium, concrete and recycled rubber are used. The sheds are produced in the region, the parts are transported with compact transport and assembled locally.
The metal parts are made in Heeze, the concrete for the base comes from Eersel. Kooymans: ,,The parking facility can be built with a limited number of components. The concrete feet no longer have to be anchored in the ground, it is possible, but it is more sustainable to fasten the racks to each other on the paving stones with a series of bolts. That is sturdy enough and you can easily move the racks later, if necessary. Think of temporary parking facilities, that way you are more flexible.”
A mess at school bicycle sheds
There is still a lot to improve in ‘bicycle parking land’. The parking facilities at schools in particular are a thorn in Kooymans’ side. “Children nowadays come to school in Eindhoven on their expensive electric bicycles from Veldhoven. When they arrive at school, they cannot park them properly, let alone charge them. Schools are not aware of this. They build new, sustainable buildings but forget to look at the bicycle shed.”
Stichting Fietsparkeur recently awarded both designs the 2.0 certificate. Fietsparkeur monitors the standard and provides testing for safe bicycle parking and was created by users, manufacturers and providers of public bicycle parking facilities.