The Bike Valet Solution

 

by Alex McCready

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Last month was the annual Livestrong Austin Marathon and Half-Marathon. This year the race partnered with Mellow Johnny’s to offer free bike valet where riders didn’t need to bring a lock. Since I was only running the half (and I don’t own a car), I decided to see how it worked. Quite simply: it was great.

Riding into downtown, I was able to zip around standstill traffic of runners waiting in lines to pay $7 to park their cars. I rode right up to the bike valet, where they gave me a wristband which corresponded to the one they attached to my bike. All I had to do was come back after the race and they’d be there waiting with my bike. That was it! While most runners were still stuck in traffic, longingly eying the increasing lines at the porta-potties, I was already at the meeting place for my pace group, stretched with no need to warm up, having already done so on my ride into downtown.

The bike valet was such a good experience, that I wondered why it wasn’t a more common feature at other races and organized events. I remember at ACL this year, there were literally acres of bicycles. I think in planning events the City and others should consider ideas such as the Marathon’s bike valet which encourages the use of alternate transportation. As Austin’s traffic problems escalate rapidly, the future of effective and successful events depends on innovative solutions. Public and private planners alike would do well to incentivize carpooling, bicycling, and the use of transit, and Movability can help if you are one of those planners or event folks.

One Response to The Bike Valet Solution

  1. Su Wilcox says:

    My husband & I used the bike valet for the marathon, too. We LOVED it. We did CapMetro + bike to get downtown, rode to the valet, and headed straight for the start. It was the easiest pre-race we’ve ever had, even easier than staying at a hotel downtown. We’ll definitely be doing that again!