The bike parking award winners are in


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s classroom building at Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard provides people with a tool stand and air pump. 

Samantha, the author of Ding Ding Let’s Ride, and I have finished our deliberations on the winners of the 2012 Grid Chicago/Ding Ding Let’s Ride Best Bike Parking Awards.

We had 5 categories (3 bests, 2 for “needs improvement”). Jewel, the supermarket, won in three categories for three locations, winning both “needs improvement” categories. There were 20 nominations; Samantha and I submitted about half of them.

Best Civic or Institutional

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) won for its sheltered bike racks at the Columbus and Jackson building, near the classroom entrance and for providing a Dero Fixit stand that includes tools and an air pump. I was especially excited about this nomination because the nominee submitted a message that said it was sheltered and had the repair stand. The competition was 30 N LaSalle, a Loop office building that houses several City departments.

It took me a while to go and visit the SAIC location to determine its viability in the competition. After exploring it for a few minutes, I sent some photos to Samantha and recommended SAIC be recognized for providing a high-quality bike parking area for staff and students.

Best Grocery Store

Jewel at Southport and Addison (3630 N Southport). They have plenty of standard u-racks scattered up and down the sidewalk near all entrances.

Best Non-Grocery Store Business

Publican at Fulton and Green (837 W Fulton). Custom made and near the entrance!

Most in Need of Bike Parking

Jewel at Paulina and Milwaukee (1341 N Paulina). It has none!

Most in Need of Improvement

Jewel at Desplaines and Milwaukee (370 N Desplaines). This award really goes to all Jewel locations that use the deficient grill rack design including Roscoe Village on Western Avenue, Illinois Medical Center on Roosevelt Road, Lakeview on Broadway, and South Loop on Wabash Avenue. I have been on Jewel’s case for years; I eventually developed a grocery store ratings system.


The grill rack (also known as grid or schoolyard rack) is not an acceptable bike parking design. 

Be thinking about the 2013 awards! For Samantha’s full explanations and photos,  visit Ding Ding Let’s Ride.

11 thoughts on “The bike parking award winners are in”

  1. Hey Just a heads up, 2 bikes got stolen within the last month from SAIC’s 280 S Columbus bike rack area, in broad daylight.  I’d be more than happy to send you the Campus Security email that was sent out to students, where it shows 3 security camera images of the thief, one in which he’s using an angle grinder to cut apart a kyrptonite lock.  This was within 10 ft of the front door of the building, and with a security camera on the area.  As an SAIC grad student with classes in that building, I leave my bike back at another campus building and hike it the several blocks to the Columbus building after I could clearly see my bike in one of the security email photos.  Also, that air pump thing at the end of the bike rack area has been out of order since I started school there (fall 2010). 

    1. Please send me that email. I’ll have to talk to Samantha to see if this affects their award. I’m disappointed to hear that the pump is disabled.
      As for the bike theft, what kind of training and education does the school offer students?

      1. Sure thing, what’s your email I can send it to?  Basically the school doesn’t provide much in the way of safety education other than stay on school campus property and security will protect you….which clearly isn’t the case after these thefts.  We get alerts if someone gets assaulted somewhere in the east section of the loop by school, or if Obama is coming to town and they’re shutting down Monroe…but I think the most presence security actually has at school is the fact that every three feet we have to swipe our ID cards as though it will keep everywhere in a utopian state….for the bikes specifically, security just tells us to use that area where the bikes got stolen to begin with.  I replied to the whole incident with an angry email stating that they had better be glad that it was just a few bikes getting swiped (i mean its never good when a bike gets stolen, having lost a few myself) and not a student getting mugged or raped instead.  Blarg, yeah sorry if that became a bit of a rant there…

    1. It’s great that it’s sheltered, but I’m skeptical about the integrated combination cable locks as it might reduce one’s willingness to supply their own, higher-quality lock. 

      1.  I’ve never seen these cables used in that manner. For serious cyclists, this is a great supplement.

        Also, at the nearby help desk there are spare locks, patch kits & tubes, and a full tool kit that can be check out w/ a student ID.

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