The recently implemented Barclays cycle hire scheme seems to be a big success within London. As a cyclist myself, I am seeing large numbers of people riding these bikes through Hyde Park in the mornings and evenings. Whether this will continue into the winter months remains to be seen, but it leads me to think about cycle parking provision within town centres and the ease of parking as a cyclist.
‘Green travel’ and ‘sustainable travel’ are key buzzwords nowadays and seem to be important to the new government. However, whilst promoting sustainable travel is one thing, arrival at the other end is something different and unless suitable cycle parking is provided, increasing the number of cyclists travelling to our town centres will remain challenging. More and more companies are providing cycle storage and showers for employees, and the cycle to work scheme is gaining in popularity. A key question for retail is whether this mentality can move into town centres and shopping centres.
New shopping centres such as Westfield in London have provided cycle storage as part of their development but it is important that this is not just considered for new schemes but fully integrated into existing shopping centres and town centres. Who knows, perhaps the shopping centres of the future will come complete with showers and changing areas for cyclists?