In urban areas across the country, bike culture is more robust than ever. Roughly 870,000 people report commuting by bicycle—many of them young and urban residents—according to the U.S. Census. Countless more travel by bike to visit friends, do chores, and to get some fresh air and exercise. In fact, national bicycle ridership grew 40 percent between 2008 and 2017, from 47 million to 66 million.
Cycling also benefits the priorities of local governments too. Cyclists seek more bike paths, designated bike lanes, and bike-sharing opportunities, and municipalities want to reduce the number of vehicles on busy city streets.
As a result, cities invest in miles of bike paths. Chicago, for example, has its Lakefront Trail. It is an 18-mile-long paved path winding its way along the Lake Michigan shoreline. It starts at 71st Street on the South Side and concludes at Ardmore Street on the North Side. Cities are also increasingly promoting bike sharing. For example, the City of Chicago supports the Divvy bike-sharing sharing program. Residents access thousands of bikes kept at hundreds of locations. Some Divvy locations are conveniently located at apartment high-rises.
Some cities even have ordinances requiring a certain number of indoor bike spaces in new developments. The New York Times notes that New York City now requires “one bike space for every two units in structures of 10 apartments or more.” In places with a strong bike culture, developers may specify even higher ratios of secure bike spaces.
Whether you’re an avid cyclist or a more casual rider, the right bike amenities can make your apartment experience that much more enjoyable. Here are the bike-friendly amenities you should be looking out for next time you’re searching for a new apartment.
Catering to Cyclists
In a survey of architects, developers, and property managers looking at popular apartment amenities, 71.6 percent of respondents cited secure bike storage as the top “convenience service.” This was up from 66.5 percent two years earlier.
You’ll find bike rooms or bike garages at a growing number of multifamily properties. These are comfortable spaces where you can store and take care of your ride. Bike rooms save space, and they protect bikes from the elements. Owners spend less time cleaning and maintaining their bicycles. Some bike rooms feature secure access and security cameras as well. Bike storage options vary. Floor storage is most common, although you’ll sometimes see wall-mounted bike racks.
Always check with your landlord or property manager to confirm bike storage policies when you first move in. Many properties provide secure bike storage since they don’t allow bikes in apartments. Other properties add features that facilitate bike transport within the building. Special access via a larger elevator in the resident parking garage is one example.
Many properties also offer community amenities that benefit cycling enthusiasts. Make use of the bottle stations often found in or near fitness centers. After your ride, hang out with your fellow cyclists in one of the resident lounges. Share your biking adventures as you make new friends.
As the bike culture grows, bike rooms will eventually be looked at as necessary attributes of urban living.
Tips for successful bike storage
Perhaps you live in a place without community bike amenities. If so, here are some storage tips to help you get through to the end of your lease. They may not be as convenient as a bike room, but they can certainly help. Always check your lease or with your property manager to confirm bike storage policies. Some properties have rules that prevent bikes from scuffing elevators or walls. Many don’t allow bikes within the residences.
For those living where in-unit storage is possible, there are various bike storage options. They range from simple wall-mount hooks to more sophisticated zero-gravity bike racks. One design features a gas strut system that makes it possible to lift a bike with little or no effort. Consider a bike pulley for spaces with high ceilings. Choose a storage rack with a built-in shelf if you want to take care of both your bike and bike accessories. It is also possible to build bike storage right into your desk. Or, set up your bike storage to double as a room divider. In the right situation, you can even mount hooks on the underside of a staircase. Before you start drilling, always be sure to run the idea by your landlord or property manager.
When drilling holes is not an option, consider a floor-to-ceiling rack that uses tension rods for stability. These leaning storage racks feature rubber bumpers to protect walls and floors.
Properties with Bicycle Amenities
Draper and Kramer continues to expand bike amenities at its luxury apartment properties. For example, Hubbard221 is a 23-story, 195-unit apartment tower in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. It offers bike storage and a bike repair station. After your ride, head to the sun deck rooftop terrace to relax poolside. Or, wind down in the private yoga studio and meditation lounge. Grand Plaza is another River North community with a bike room. The 481-unit tower is at 540 N. State, steps away from world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment. Return from the trail to enjoy a dip in the heated pool, or relax in the sauna. Continue your workout in the state-of-the-art fitness center or head to the basketball court.
Bike storage is also one of numerous community amenities offered at the Aspire Residences. The 24-story, 275-unit apartment tower in the South Loop includes pet-friendly one-, two-, and three-bedroom luxury apartments. After an invigorating ride, relax in the Fireside Lounge or Pub Room. Have some indoor fun in the game or sports simulator rooms. 1350 Lake Shore Drive is conveniently located on Chicago’s Gold Coast. It features complimentary bike storage and a Divvy bike-sharing station. Cyclists enjoy rides up and down Chicago’s Lakefront Trail.
Designers increasingly include heated bike rooms in new multifamily projects. One example is under construction at 949 W. Dakin, in Chicago’s East Lakeview neighborhood. The seven-story, 120-unit boutique rental property is scheduled for completion in August 2021.
About Draper & Kramer
Draper and Kramer is a family-owned, Chicago-based real estate firm founded in 1893. Visit Draper and Kramer today to browse their wide selection of luxury bike-friendly properties or to schedule a virtual apartment tour.