the bus bike rack rap

I’ve gotten familiar with the bike rack on the front of TTA Triangle Transit buses over the last few years. Having bike racks on the front of all buses is a common sense move that many municipalities have made. In fact, when I travel somewhere and see that their city buses do not have bike racks (for many years, my hometown in SC was this way), I’m taken aback. Why not?

For a city, mounting bike racks on buses is one of the cheapest ways to expand multi-modal transportation options for residents. Bus-mounted bike racks invite people to ride to bus stops from distances greater than they will walk; it just makes bike commuting (and sometimes just taking that first step to start bike commuting) a little easier.

And for the Research Triangle Park — where the suburban landscape aesthetic meets Cold War-era privacy concerns in a sprawling, regional employment hub — Triangle Transit’s bike racks make it feasible to bus to work. Bikes help make busing more reasonable while buses with racks help make biking more reasonable — you might even say they work in tandem.

All local bus systems (Raleigh’s CAT, Chapel Hill Transit, and Durham’s DATA) also have bike racks. And they are of a style that most transit systems use. Easy to use and surprisingly secure (given how quickly you load and lock your bike), the racks allow you to bike even when, for reasons of health, time, etc, you can’t bike all the way.

But when I think back to my first attempt to load my bike on a bus (back on college), I remember it being a little awkward to figure out. I could have used a simple “how-to” before I pulled up and stared at the folded metal, wondering how to secure (at the time) my precious new mountain bike.

Mark Dessauer piloting a bakfietLooks like the Transit Authority of River City (TARC) of Louisville, KY had the same idea. Instead of merely demonstrating how easy it is to use (once you know where that release latch is), they’ve produced a video to teach you with style.

Mark Dessauer, Communications Director of Active Living by Design (seen here piloting the “bakfiet”), tells me that (TARC) is one of ALBD’s grantees. To encourage folks to try the bus system, TARC put together this instructional. “The project director (Mamma Jamma aka Nina Walfoort) wrote the lyrics, the rapper is a bus mechanic, and the dancers are bus drivers,” says Dessauer. “It was cheap to make and is a big hit locally.”


Triangle Transit? DATA? Who’s next?


the bus bike rack rap — 5 Comments

  1. That was good.

    I’m curious, are there any bus racks that have >2 bikes. This summer the TT bus racks between Durham and Chapel Hill frequently were full.

  2. Hey James,

    Last year, Triangle Transit experimented with racks designed to support three bikes, but found that the racks interfered with the headlights at night. I don’t think there are plans to seek out another style at this point.


  3. Hi Phillip,

    Thanks for the follow-up. I guessed there were other issues that limited the capacity on buses. I wonder if in future, the bike capacity could be increased by designing the buses to hold bikes, rather than having the racks as purely after market.


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