What Graceland is to rock’n’roll fanatics, Amsterdam is to cycling geeks all around the world. A reference point in urban cycling, a two-wheel heaven. Our Retail Director, Mark Smith went to the Netherlands recently on a fact-finding mission to explore a key component of the infrastructure: manned bike parking and hiring facilities.
Northern Rail has started a pilot project in Leeds: a manned, secure bike parking facility will be built in Leeds, which will be accompanied by hire and repair service as well. Evans Cycles have won the contract to run this Cyclepoint and Abellio, the Dutch mother company of Northern Rail invited Mark to see how they handled the surge of bike commuters in Holland.
The biggest site they visited was situated in Leiden, a smaller town halfway between Amsterdam and The Hague with a population around 100,000. The manned parking facility offers 3000 spaces and it costs €1 per day, but users get discount on season tickets. The site is open almost all day long, from 5am till 1am, so you need to have a really weird work schedule if these opening hours don’t fit you.
Dutch cities are plagued by bike theft so even though there are another 5000 free parking spaces near the station, the manned option enjoys good utilization. The parking is accompanied by a little shop, people can drop their bikes off for repair and for €2.5, and you could even rent a bike, so it successfully caters to both commuters to and from the station.