IrishCycle.com is reader-funded journalism. To keep it going and free-to-view, it takes people like you to act now and subscribe today for €5, €10, or €20 per month.

Aldi said it will beef up bicycle parking at its Irish supermarkets — I was sceptical but then pleasantly surprised

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Supermarket retailer Aldi recently issued a press release saying it would have 760 bike parking spaces for customers across Ireland by the end of the year. When I started writing this article as a news article I was highly sceptical, but ended up being pleasantly surprised.

I think I was right to be so given how they were lumping in the numbers for new and old stores — with the new retail units, they are obliged to provide a few parking racks at each store. But what happened next goes beyond minimum requirements.

I had a bit of back and forth with the PR people for Aldi and then some contact with their internal communications to see how many of the parking spaces they were mentioning are just their new stores to be opened.

It turns out all the new spaces would be at the new supermarkets, but it’s interesting still to see a supermarket put out a press release about bicycle parking. The retailer was keen to point out that in the most recent survey by the Dublin Cycling Campaign that it was ranted as having the best bike parking facilities across all supermarkets in Dublin — over half of respondents rated Aldi’s bike parking facilities as “good”, beating all other retailers surveyed.

My next question was how good would the bike parking provision be? Happily, this was around the time when a new Aldi was opening where I live in Ballina, Co Mayo. So, my question was soon to be answered.

I visited the shop on the second day of opening — as pictured below, the bike parking was pretty much full due to the narrow spacing between the racks (a common issue with supermarkets). The cargo bike on the right is mine, but I don’t know the others. If my wife and children were with me, we all of the bikes wouldn’t have fit.

I emailed Aldi again explaining this and thought I’d never hear any more from him.

Each bicycle rack should allow for two bicycles to be locked to it, one on each side. You need extra space in places like supermarkets because people are more likely to be using panniers.

The newer local Lidl in the town only has four bicycles but these four allow for more bikes to be locked there because of the good spacing:

I thought that would be the end of it and the new Lidl would remain the best bicycle parking at a supermarket in the town — both Dunnes and Tesco have nothing official (railing work for most), and SuperValu has nothing at all (I mean it’s hard to find anything to lock your bike to). While the original Lidl was given improved bike parking at some stage, it’s in a cramped corner outside the shop.


You're read this much of the article... So, if you value our journalism, please subscribe today for €5, €10, or €20 per month.


I thought that would be how it will stay until Tesco is revamped. But then, yesterday, a happy surprise — six new well-spaced bicycle racks outside Aldi Ballina:

If anything, an oversupply, but I’m definitely not complaining. It’s a great outcome. Next, Ballina just needs some cycle routes to get people using the racks more.

In the Aldi press release, David Timoney, a lead campaigner on the issue of bicycle parking with the Dublin Cycling Campaign, said: “We are pleased to see Aldi continue to upgrade its bike parking facilities. In our supermarket bike parking survey of 2020, Aldi came out top with 52% of its stores rated as having ‘good’ bike parking facilities. Shopping by bike is a simple way of reducing traffic on our roads, reducing carbon emissions and keeping us active.”

Timoney added: “The key factors which enable more people to shop by bike are more secure bike parking, more space for cargo bikes and locating bike parking closer to shop entrances. As many of us are living our lives more locally, we are using local supermarkets more often. There is a great opportunity for supermarket brands like Aldi to upgrade and enhance its customers’ shopping experience.”

Timoney told IrishCycle.com that he wasn’t sure when the next survey would be. Both Aldi and Lidl are at an advantage over the more established supermarkets in Ireland but they seem a bit keener to get bicycle parking right compared to even newer Tesco or SuperValu shops I’ve seen.

There’s a marked difference too — even if the newer retailers are all too happy to use bicycles for good PR and some will want to look at that cynically, but it’s still far better than the disinterest shown by most of the other supermarkets.

IrishCycle.com is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

Subscription drive update: IrishCycle.com reached its target of 270 subscribers by the end of August -- thank you to all who have helped! Our new target is to have 300 subscribers by the end of 2022 -- originally this was hoped to be exceeded by the first year of running the site full time (end of October).

If you can help push IrishCycle.com above 300 subscribers, please subscribe today for €5 or more. If you have already done so -- thank you!

Please remember, every month there's a natural drop-off in subscriptions due to people getting new cards, cards stolen, Revolut not topped up etc.

***

IrishCycle.com is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.

There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for IrishCycle.com, it just needs enough people like you to believe!

Monthly subscriptions will give IrishCycle.com's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year IrishCycle.com had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.

I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.

The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of June 2022, 250 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!

But currently, it's only around 1.6% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via ko-fi.com/irishcycle/tiers

Cian Ginty
Editor, IrishCycle.com

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.