The Bike Valet at Veg Fest was a great success!
What’s a Bike Valet?
Quickly, it’s like a “hat-check” for bikes. Customers who travel to events by bike can check their bikes in and leave them in an attended compound while they enjoy the event. When customers are ready to leave, they show their claim ticket and a bike valet returns their bike. No locks are needed. Generally, the service is free to customers, though they are welcome to leave a donation for whatever organization is running the service.
Bringing it to Orlando
A while back, I ran the idea of starting a service like this in Orlando with Mighk and Keri, and they suggested a partnership with a local group called the “Rusted Chain Bicycle Collective.” The Collective is run by volunteers who work in the community to teach people how to repair and build their own bikes, make fixes or repairs to bikes for anyone that needs it (for free!), and build/gives away bikes to those who can’t afford one. (Check out more of what they do here).
It’s taken a while to purchase and assemble/test all the parts and pieces necessary to run the service (mainly the corral fence and bike racks) but Saturday October 24 we had the first run of the service at Veg Fest (more about Veg Fest here).
Our first event
For the first attempt to run the service, things went pretty good. We ended up parking 107 bikes for the event, taking in $61 in tips (all going to the Collective) and the response from the biking public was very favorable. We think with a little more “advertising” and by having the Valet available at other events, word will spread and we’ll see even more cyclists use the service.
Everyone benefits from Bike Valet!
It’s a win-win-win-win situation. A win for the promoters, who can have more parking space available because of bicyclists parking with the Valet service. A win for anyone who drives — more parking available. A huge win for cyclists as it provides secure parking, eliminating the worry of finding a place to lock up and then having to decide whether or not to remove accessories like lights, trunks, panniers, etc. A win for the Collective, as they get some tip money and also get a chance to help spread the word about what they do.
Hopefully having a service like this in Orlando will encourage more events to ask for Bicycle Valet Parking. If you know of any upcoming promotions where you would like to have this service available, please contact myself, or email the Collective at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a pictorial slide-show of our first Bike Valet service in action:
The bikes parked outside the fence are from the 200+ riders of the Parramore Kidz Zone Kidical Mass ride. That group rode from Jackson Community Center to Lockhaven Park and back. Look for a post on that from Mighk.