Encouraging both staff and students to cycle to school is not only a great way to reduce carbon emissions and make your school a little greener – it also promotes exercise and encourages a healthy lifestyle.
Before you promote cycling to school, though, remember that people will expect secure bicycle parking space to be available on site. For this, there is no better option than a bike shed. Here are a few points to keep in mind when choosing the right shelter for your school.
Number of bicycles
This is one of the main points to bear in mind as it will greatly affect the size of shelter you’ll need. How many bikes? What size are they? How many accessories will join them? These are all factors that need to be taken into consideration.
A great way to find out this information is to ask pupils and staff members how likely they are to cycle to school, how often and what kind of bike they will use. Their answers will help you reach your decision.
Before deciding which bike shed meets your school’s needs best, you will need to decide where you can locate it. The best place is near the entrance to the school. This way everyone can park their bicycles as soon as they arrive without needing to ride into school with them and, similarly, when leaving they can simply exit straight away without the bike becoming a risk to others.
It is ideal to be able to place the shelter on a flat concrete or tarmac surface, in a well-lit space. Make sure to measure the area to make sure the shelter fits.
There are three main construction materials for bike sheds which include wood, metal and plastic. Each of these options comes with its own set of pros and cons which are detailed below:
- Pros: environmentally friendly with a very attractive look.
- Cons: not very secure and requires annual maintenance to keep it mould and insect-free.
- Pros: very secure and durable. It will last a long time with very little maintenance.
- Cons: can be difficult to assemble and may be prone to rust.
- Pros: easy to assemble and requires no maintenance. Weatherproof and durable.
- Cons: might be a less sturdy build and look cheaper than the other options.
It’s a good idea to keep in mind how much time and money you want to spend maintaining the bike shed. Usually in school settings, it’s best to keep both these factors to a minimum.
Plastic and metal shed materials will provide you with the least maintenance, only needing a hose down every once in a while. Although wood shelters are hard-wearing too, they do require a little extra upkeep to prevent mould or damp from accumulating.
No matter which material you choose, maintaining security is also important. You should look to change your padlock code every few months to avoid any theft or disputes.
How will it look?
The better the aesthetics of your bike storage area, the more likely people are to use it. A well-kept and spacious bike shelter that goes with the building design will turn heads and encourage students to cycle to school.
And with so many design options including clear polycarbonate roofs, corrugated steel or wood cladding, you have the freedom to make your bike shed as appealing as you like.
Depending on the size and the materials of the bike shed that you need, the cost can vary greatly. If you are running on a tight budget it’s a good idea to know what is available within your limits.
The good news is that, no matter how much you are willing to spend, the wide range of bike sheds now on the market means you are sure to find something that ticks all the boxes.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as safety matting specialists, but have since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk