Smart cities

These pop-up cycle racks could transform our cities

By Oliver Smith 10 November 2017
Image: ©Milou Bergs.

Bikes bikes everywhere.

It’s the most environmentally friendly way to get around, but as our cities fill up with bicycles they’re leading to a new problem.

Bike gridlock.

“The public space in city centres is becoming cluttered,” Milou Bergs told The Memo.

The Dutch Design Academy Eindhoven graduate spotted that rows of bike racks near where she lived were either overloaded with bikes, or entirely empty depending on the time of day.

“After seeing repetitive empty ‘graveyards’ of bicycle racks, I started to think about how I could make this space visually and physically serene, while keeping the functionality of storage.”

Her solution was Align, a pop-up cycle rack that ‘disappears’ when not in use.

Image: ©Abscis Architecten/Thomas de Bruyne.

Get Aligned

“Align only pops up when the user is storing his bike,” Bergs explains. “The tilting mechanism works just like a seesaw, the front wheel of the bike sinks down, raising a bracket to hold and lock the back wheel.”

There are no electronics to go wrong, and nothing particularly high-tech, just well-designed mechanics that vanish when not in use.

“This on/off idea means that the public space can once again be open, making room for events, markets or everyday life.”

Image: ©Abscis Architecten/Thomas de Bruyne.

Bergs says Align is pretty much ready to be put into mass production, she just needs to work with a production company and is already talking to several Dutch municipalities who have shown interest in trialling Align.

If successful, Align could soon banish the ‘graveyards’ of bike racks to the history books in a town near you.