On Friday, March 6, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition hosted the first-ever international Valet Bicycle Parking Conference at Rackspace, who kindly donated their space for this event. Attendees from around the world spent the day discussing best practices for keeping bicycles safe at events ranging from farmers markets to baseball games to Iron Maiden concerts.
We hosted nine in-person participants from bicycle advocacy organizations in San Francisco, Oakland, Concord, and San Luis Obispo, and six online participants from Atlanta, New York City, Portland, and Santiago, Chile.
Presenters included Kash, founder of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Valet Program; Sebastián Saldaña Aguilera, founder of Te Cuido La Bici; Greg McPheeters, owner of Moved by Bikes; and Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Business & Community Program Manager. Topics addressed included a history and overview of Valet Bicycle Parking in San Francisco, the challenges of starting a valet program from one’s own backyard, valet rack considerations, San Francisco bicycle parking policies, and many more.
One of our favorite bike valet stories came from Sebastián Saldaña Aguilera, who started his valet program from his backyard two years ago in Santiago, Chile. That first gig two years ago brought in just one bicyclist who was attending a U2 concert across the street. They kept at it though, and in 2014 Sebastián’s program parked an impressive 10,000 bicycles!
Conference attendees left with a number of great ideas to implement in their respective programs. Perhaps more importantly, we started a conversation that will continue online across city, state and country lines. If you are a part of a bicycle advocacy organization and are interested in discussing best practices for valet bicycle parking, please contact Francisco@sfbike.org for more information on joining in on the conversation.