Bicycling for transportation is already popular in many communities. Networks of on-road bike lanes and off-road trails, and an interest in personal fitness, health, and environmental issues are expanding participation. Supporting bike trips with bike racks and other facilities is key to sustaining the activity.

Every bicycle trip has a home base and a destination. A key service for those who already ride and for many more would like to choose cycling, is access to convenient, appealing and secure bicycle parking. Bicycles can be expensive and are often vulnerable. Inferior racks or poor site planning can expose bikes to theft, vandalism or damage and discourage cycling.

Like drivers, cyclists want parking that is convenient and accessible to their destination and is mindful of their personal security. They need racks whose purpose is clear, and that ensure bikes remain upright. For some destinations, they will also look for weather protection and long-term security. In many jurisdictions, local by-laws also prescribe bike parking and other facilities such as change-rooms and showers.

Providing bicycle parking is also good business. Destinations that provide better facilities have an advantage in today's commercial real estate market. Residential developments that pay attention to these details have features they can sell. More people are more often choosing cycling for shopping and personal business and looking for places to park.

Bicycle parking is typically provided at two levels. Class I (long-term) facilities provide restricted access and weather protection for parked bicycles and is used for workplaces, residential developments and other destinations where long-term storage is required. Class II (short-term) is the provision of freestanding bicycle racks in public spaces intended for short-term parking.

Choosing the right hardware and developing efficient site plans are important to the delivery of cost effect and appealing bicycle parking. The Capital Bike and Walk best practices guide features recommendations on bike rack choices and site planning as well as for the provision of weather protection, high security options and end of trip facilities for cyclists at typical locations where bike parking is needed.