I have discovered something wonderful.
In downtown Seattle, next to (and operated by) the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, is a cool place that I can't tell you the name of because they're re-branding soon. BUT! I can tell you how cool it is.
It's simple-- a parking service for bicycles. Yes, I know-- part of the convenience of bicycles is that you can park them just about anywhere and for free. However, one of the inconveniences of parking your bike anywhere is that your bike and everything on it is subject to theft, especially at night. And I really like my bike. And all of the stuff on it.
Enter the un-named bicycle parking service. Between the hours of 9am-5pm, you can park your bike inside a staffed building for FREE. Your bike is out of the elements and under the eye of video cameras and staff (though they do not guarantee security, you are still encouraged to lock your bike and take your valuables). The facility is locked from 5pm to 9am, but if you become a member, you gain 24-hour access by means of a swipe card. You can become an annual, monthly or pay-per-use member. Since I don't visit Seattle too often, I opted for the pay-per-use plan.
I paid a $20 annual fee, then purchased a $20 bundle of 10 overnight uses. So anytime I want to visit downtown Seattle, I pay TWO DOLLARS for parking ($4 if you include the annual fee) and that's only if I plan on staying past 5. If my destination is not in walking distance from the facility, I can just hop on one of the FREE downtown buses. Awesome.
Additional features include:
- An in-house bike shop-- for parts, accessories and service
- Lockers for monthly and annual members
- A workstand and tools for member use
- A vending machine with bike supplies for when the shop is closed
- A warm and spacious changing room
I look forward to the day when these are more common than an ugly car parking garage!