Network Rail launches competition to design bike parking solution

The competition is being run in connection with the London Festival of Architecture, and is looking for “creative and innovative” pop-up bike parking ideas.

Network Rail and the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) have put out an open call to designers to develop a pop-up bike parking solution for railway stations.

In the last decade, Network Rail says stations have experienced a “significant increase” in the demand for bike parking. This has coincided with the widespread implantation of “pop-up bike lanes” across cities.

“Creative and innovative” solution sought

A competition run by the two entities seeks to find a “creative and innovative solution” which can support cyclists using trains in the UK.

The winning team will be awarded £12,000 to develop a fully costed, feasible design – this figure includes a £4,000 design fee.

Each entry will be judged by an expert panel, according to Network Rail, which will include railway historian Tim Dunn and PriestmanGoode director and designer Paul Priestman.

“Flexibility” required

Crucially, the competition is not looking for permanent bike parking, but rather a “flexible” solution which can be rolled out during times of heightened usage.

While traditional bike parking areas are purpose-built and static, these installations would be rolled out as and when needed. The brief gives the example of changing weather conditions or major public events.

Navigating “hotly contested” space

Prospective entries will need to consider several looming points to be successful, Network Rail says.

These include the fact space around train stations is usually “hotly contested” and bike parking in short supply. Another consideration will be bike safety, and how a solution can ensure bikes are secure from thieves.

As for design requirements, Network Rail specifies installations should not damage any existing station features or impact accessibility. Additionally, the installation should not create an enclosure, and free-standing designs will be preferred.


The deadline for first stage expressions of interest is 30 September, with a winning team appointed in November.

The aim is for a design to be delivered in June 2022, at one of Network Rail’s mainline London stations, as part of the LFA.

For more information on the opportunity, including how to submit entries, head to the LFA website.

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  • Neil Littman September 3, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Think a very straightforward solution is to google ‘Amsterdam Centraal Station cycle parking’. Plenty of good images showing how they did it in the Netherlands. They have been dealing with this issue for years and use double racks, purpose built bike parks, etc. It depends entirely on space as the Dutch have planned things around the cycling structure for many years. The issue in the UK is that it is an afterthought and retrofitting the racks around stations is determined by where the cycle parking goes rather than the method of storage. Kings Cross St Pancras would be a good place to start but a lot of stations don’t have the infrastructure. Theft is going to be a complex issue to deal with and also it depends on the demand. In my outer London borough £45m was spent on new cycle lanes between 2016-19 and the uptake was very low. No parking for cycles at any of the stations either. They would simply be gone when the commuters came back for them so the preferred mode of travel is that cyclists stay with their bikes and either cycle all the way into town or put the bike on the train when permitted.

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