Now you see it. Then you don’t. Disappearing bike rack could declutter cities

As useful as they may be, there’s no denying that public bike racks aren’t exactly an aesthetic boon to a cityscape. Unwieldy, large, and generally in the way, the standard storage solution for our two-wheeled transportation options doesn’t exactly encourage folks to forego cars for bikes. Until now.

Meet Milou Bergs, a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, who has designed a bike rack worthy of the 21st century and beyond. This bicycle holder appears when you need it and disappears when you don’t — the bike rack response to today’s pop-up trend. Called the Align bike rack, Bergs’ creation proves that form and function absolutely can overlap.

During her time as a student in the Netherlands, a nation well known for its biking population, Bergs noted that while cycling was great for the planet, it wasn’t so great for the overall look of a city’s public spaces.

“Bicycle racks are a particular eyesore,” Bergs told Dezeen. “Even when not in use, they get in the way, creating physical and visual noise.” As such, she noted, “I started to think about how I could make a space visually and physically serene while keeping the functionality of storage.”

Enter the pop-up design. The rack is actually activated by the weight of a bicycle’s front wheel. Whenever a panel senses the presence of such a wheel, a bracket emerges and locks the back wheel into place, securing the entire bike. And when you’re ready to pedal away, the rack goes back into the ground from whence it came.

Bergs hopes this design, if widely implemented, will help keep public spaces cleaner, more open, and more accessible. “[It] means that public spaces can once again be open, making room for events, markets or everyday life,” she said. And her hope may come true — apparently, her design has already garnered the interest of a number of Dutch cities.

align bike rack disappears align3 lifestyle

“[Align] can be implemented on a larger scale once I have developed the bicycle rack in collaboration with a production company,” she said. “At the moment I am researching and discussing the possibilities.” Hopefully, her design can cross the ocean and makes its way to the U.S. as well.

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