Local duo unveil a better bike rack | AspenTimes.com

Local duo unveil a better bike rack

Bob Wade, owner of Ute Mountaineer in Aspen, tries out one of the new bike racks outside his store. (Courtesy City of Aspen)

ASPEN ” Two local men have created a better bike rack.

At least, they think so.

Four prototypes of a new rack design have been placed around downtown Aspen and a fifth is on the way. The city Parks Department wants to know what the biking populace thinks of the latest in public parking for two-wheeled transit.

The racks have been a long time coming ” born out of discussions several years ago on how to enhance the pedestrian experience in the town’s core. Proposed new bike racks came out of the same brainstorming that led to the new guest-services pavilion on the mall, the fire hearth and kiosks that display information about upcoming events.

Former City Councilman Terry Paulson, an avid bicyclist, was especially keen on replacing Aspen’s dysfunctional bike racks as part of the improvement effort.

Art Burrows, of Ajax Design and Communications, and Paul Turner went through a number of designs before coming up with the sleek, simple racks that ” according to Burrows ” will accommodate skinny-tired road bikes, fat-tired mountain bikes and town bikes, in both kids and adult sizes. The racks secure a tire in three places, ensuring it won’t topple over and bend a rim. Nor will the racks damage derailleurs, disc brakes, frames or shifters.

“We actually redesigned our bike racks a bunch of times,” Burrows said. “It’s a rack that will take a road bike, a townie…even a 20-inch wheel. My five-year-old rolled his bike in, too.”

Two of the new racks are located in front of the Ute Mountaineer, one is near the guest-services pavilion and one is on the west end of the Hyman Avenue Mall. Another is slated for a spot near the fire hearth.

Ultimately, the city hopes to replace all of the ackward, existing racks on city property ” including those that require a user to lift a bicycle’s handlebars up into a crosspiece, assuming they conclude the contraption is, in fact, a bike rack and figure out how to use it.

A patent is pending for the Burrows/Turner design, which the duo hopes to sell in other markets, assuming they find a fabricator who can turn them out more quickly than Burrows and Turner can, welding steel pieces together in Turner’s garage.

“We’re going to use Aspen as a test area,” Burrows said.

The rack will require some modifications to accommodate the U-locks that many bicycle owners use in big cities, though, Burrows noted. Most local residents employ chain or cable locks.

The city budget to design and build the racks was about $5,700, Burrows said. With more efficient production, he’d like to get the cost down to $150 per slot or less; the racks have six or seven slots apiece. The city’s existing racks cost $250 per slot, he said.

To tell the Parks Department what you think of the racks, call 920-5120.

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