Take the 2-minute tour ×
Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have more than once had to spend time looking for my bike at the station, what’s your method to remember the rack you put it in?

Do any town have a system of numbering or labelling the bike racks so it is easy to find your bike?

alt text

share|improve this question
4  
Closely related to "How do I find my car in the multistory at the mall/shopping center"! Can we put it down to being a life skill? –  Byron Ross Oct 13 '10 at 23:44
3  
Where do you live that enough people bicycle to have that sort of problem? –  Brian Campbell Oct 14 '10 at 4:57
2  
@Byron, a car park is easier, as car packs tend to have labelled levels and sections –  Ian Oct 14 '10 at 9:48
    
@Brain, I used to live in Cambridge (UK), the photo is part of the bike parking at Cambridge Station. –  Ian Oct 14 '10 at 9:50
    
That's amazing. Pretty much anywhere I bike to, mine will be the ONLY bike in rack! On a rare occasion there might be one other... I live in a very automobile centric community though, distances and road designs make cycling pretty unattractive for all but the hard-core on very simple missions... –  Brian Knoblauch Oct 14 '10 at 12:01
show 3 more comments

5 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

In these kind of situations I use the tips that a guru taught me when I was learning the ways of triathlon. In the transition area, where you leave your bike to collect at the end of the swim, you are quite often assigned a spot for your number (otherwise everyone clamours for the ends of rows).

So it's about landmarks, "3rd row, lake-side, half way down, past the second tree", and memorable things, so the the flag (or strategically placed towel) is a good idea too. Don't make the mistake of using temporary, movable landmarks. That nice Cervelo might well have come out of the water (or work) before you :)

The key takeawayss here are to make them instantly and accurately memorable. If you're in the same area day after day you don't want to to get too confused about whether you're remembering yesterday's or today's position, so @neilfein's rotation of possible locations is a good feint.

In triathlon you're trying to keep it simple (because your mind is inherently fuzzy when you're out of the water and trying to peel off a wetsuit), and at the end of a long day you probably haven't given much thought to your bike since about 2 minutes after you left it.

My bike is in a secure area in an underground car park, so I leave my helmet on the saddle which is generally still there, un-knocked-off, at the end of the day.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 for landmarks. If the picture Ian provided is the actual daily parking area I'd name the trees as a mnemonic device and consider each tree as the center of a clock face. So one day I might park at 2:00 Charlie and the next at 8:00 Betty.... –  user313 Oct 14 '10 at 8:59
add comment

enter image description here

Buy an electronic key finder. Attach the keyring part to your bike, when you want to find your bike you press the button on the remote and the keyring beeps and flashes. Range is 40 meters which should easily be enough.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Use your phone to take a photo of your bike location, being sure to get some easy to find landmarks in the photo as well. E.g. if you had just taken the photo above and your bike is the front centre one, those two trees should be fairly easy to find again when you come back.

If it still takes a while to find (or the search area is very big) and your phone has GPS, you can probably tag the photo with the location as well.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Decorate your bike so that it stands out a bit. I usually paint the rear mudguard a bright colour and attach something colourfull to my handlebars.

And I try to park my bicycle in the same row each day.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Aside from the fact that your bike is the only one you'll be able to unlock, the best thing for you to do is park in the same location every day. That can be an invitation to have your bike stolen, however. You can either:

Make your bike easily distinguishable from the crowd. Putting something brightly-colored on the bars might help, attaching a safety flag to the rear rack would be even better. Either of these calls attention to your bike, again this is something inviting bike theft. You could jot down a note to yourself for later -- "bike 3 arches down from the big ugly tree", for example.

What I would do is find three or four medium-traffic parking locations and rotate among them. That way I'd only have a few places to search, but I wouldn't be using the same spot over and over.

share|improve this answer
    
Trying to use the same location each day does not work as there are very few free racks at any given time. I like the ideal of the safety flag, as it should be visible from the end of a row of racks. –  Ian Oct 13 '10 at 22:22
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.