I have a large bicycle, and it can be difficult to park. It is a cargo bike, and has all sorts of useful attributes, but micro-parking is not one of them.
In the summer it can even get difficult to find a spot in front of the school, which is generally a model of well-ordered parking discipline. But the school is one of the places I know I can happily park it. By now I have overlaid a map of Cambridge with a geography of parkable spots, and, as a helicopter pilot might visualise a city as a system of helipads, plan my journeys accordingly.
But Cambridge can be an awkward place to park a bicycle even it is not grossly oversized. You see them in certain hotspots piled up and entangled – I remember the bike shed at Queens’ College used to look like a scrapyard, and I see similar Gordion bicycles, so to speak, at the University Library, behind Waterstones, at the Sedgwick Site, and, especially, in front of the railway station.
Or rather, I used to. There is now a new multi-level bike rack where the old stone field used to be; and there are plans afoot for a sort of multi-storey hotel for bicycles. Here are the ‘plans’.
Cambridge is by no means alone in waking up to bicycle parking problems. Copenhagen, that most bike-friendly of cities, has noticed that the streets have become impassable for the piles of bicycles, for instance; and I read that Groningen in the Netherlands has built an underground parking facility for 10,000 bikes at its central station. Utrecht has something similar to Cambridge. It is, I suppose, a reasonably pleasant problem for a city to have. The more people cycling after all, the happier a city is.