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Event Parking:
Bicycle Valet / Bike Corral Instructions





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What is Bicycle Valet Parking?

A bicycle valet service, or bike corral, allows a large number of bikes to be securely stored in a relatively small area without individuals having to worry about locking their bicycles and reduces problems for other pedestrian traffic trying to get to the event.  They are general used at events that will attract a large number of bicyclists.  It also creates a gathering point for cyclists attending the event -- this encourages people to ride. The organization running the valet bike parking has great exposure to the local cycling population. The event and community benefit from the decrease in demand for car parking.

How do we Run Bike Valet Parking?

Basically, the set-up is an administration area and rows of racks for bicycle parking. People bring their bikes, they are given a number ticket/tag and a duplicate ticket/tag is taped to the bicycle.  The bicycle is then parked in the corral.  If you allow the owner to park their bike the process takes less volunteers and the bicyclists will know where to find their bikes at the end of the event.  Labeling the rows of racks can facilitate navigation.  Suggest that the bikes be parked by hanging them by the front of saddle horn.  At the end of the event the bicyclist return to the administrative area with their ticket/tag, which allows them entry into the corral.  The go and find their bike and return to the administrative area.  As they leave their ticket/tag it is matched with the number on the bike and they are free to go.  For a good discussion on bike tracking system and event bike racks see

Site Set-up

The site set-up reflects upon the organization managing the bike valet.  Make sure the site looks professional, safe, secure and informative.  Take the opportunity to get your message out.  It helps if the staff is wearing identifiable clothing; common T-shirt, orange-vest, etc.  Volunteers should have weather appropriate dress and accessories (scarves, gloves, sunhats, sunscreen, re-usable water bottle, etc.)

Securing the Site

With enough volunteers watching the bikes a border may not be needed. HOWEVER, it gives bicyclists piece of mind to see that their bikes are in a protected area and barriers can make the job of supervision easier and more clear-cut.  If the site is against a building or fence(s) you have already reduced the exposure. (Even with barriers and an identified perimeter, some bicyclists will want to lock their bikes in the corral, which usually isn't a problem.)  By using reusable materials (fencing, movable orange posts, caution tape, or brightly colored nylon rope) you can keeps the environmentally friendliness of the project high. It is best for the corral to have only one entrance/exit.  It is also ideal to locate the site where bicyclists, coming and going, have easy access without interfering with other pedestrian patrons of the event.

What You Might Need

  • Bicycle Racks
  • Perimeter Barrier (fencing, caution tape, rope, netting, etc.)
  • Tent for administrative area (for sun or rain)
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Numbers (raffle tickets or coat-check type)
  • Storage for the Numbers
  • Masking Tape
  • Cash Box / Tip Jar / Donation Box
  • Change for Donation Box
  • Sign-In-Registration Forms (optional)
  • Signs Pointing to the Location
  • Signs for Suggested Donation for the Tip Jar
  • Signs for Numbering the Bike Racks
  • Small Trash Can
  • Organization Display, Artwork, Out Reach Materials
  • Informational Hang-Tags
  • Sales Merchandise (T-Shirts).
  • Clip Boards
  • Forms
  • Pens
  • Stapler And Staples
  • Duct Tape, String, Wire
  • Hole Punch
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Name Tags
  • Volunteer Sign-In Sheet
  • Volunteer Schedule
  • Volunteer Food, Drink, Bulk Water

Pre-Event Procedures:

  • Put up barriers and bike racks (if applicable)

  • Label (with masking tape and sharpies) the parking areas (if applicable)

  • Create one ingress/egress to control the flow of bikes moving in and out (if applicable)

  • Set-up tables, tent, hang banners/signage

  • Gather and organize supplies: registration forms, coupons, binder, cash box, etc.

Bike Valet Procedures:

  1. As each cyclist approaches greet them.   If you are keeping a log, have the cyclist sign in.
  2. Attach one ticket/tag securely on their bike.  Tape it to their cable housing, handlebars, stem, etc. The tape should be long enough that it goes all the way around and back to the ticket..
  3. Hand the bicyclist the duplicate number (the claim ticket) and make sure that they understand that they MUST hold on to it, both to re-enter the corral and get their bike.
  4. Let them know that your organization is providing the bike parking services, and that you are suggesting a $2-$3 donation in support of you programs, if they have it (it is definitely not mandatory, no one is turned anyone away for lack of funds). 
  5. If they are able to give you a donation, put the donation in the box.  If it is a larger bill, make sure to give them change unless they would like to donate the balance.
  6. Ask them if they would like to park their own bike, or if they would like some help.
  7. If they would like to do it themselves, ask them to hang their bike up by the saddle.  If you are trying to park the bikes by number point them to the next open space along the racks.
  8. Encourage them to follow the alternating pattern – one bike with front wheel pointing East and then the next bike with the front wheel pointing West, etc.
  9. In general, watch over the parked bikes and make sure nobody is tampering with the bikes, switching tickets, etc.
  10. During a lull, attach your organization’s informational tags to the bikes. 
  11. Keep hydrated and nourished.
  12. As cyclists return, ask for their claim number, get their bike, and verify that the ticket number is the same as the ticket that is attached to their bike. (The cyclists will have to help if they locked their bike.) If you are keeping a log, cross through their number.
  13. Wish them a good day and a great ride home!



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The International Bicycle Fund is an independent, non-profit organization. Its primary purpose is to promote bicycle transportation. Most IBF projects and activities fall into one of  four categories: planning and engineering, safety education, economic development assistance and promoting international understanding. IBF's objective is to create a sustainable, people-friendly environment by creating opportunities of the highest practicable quality for bicycle transportation. IBF is funded by private donation. Contributions are always welcome and are U.S. tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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