Underground Bike Park


Japanese company Giken have designed & built remarkable bike stores for urban use.

Cycling is a major means of transport in Japan, leading to problems of mass storage issues in urban centres. Giken have a motto of “culture above ground, functionality below ground” and the have implemented that by creating an 8m diameter and 11m deep robot operated bike store capable of holding 204 bikes securely.

Each client bike is fitted with a chip that is attached to the frame. A sensor in the storage unit detects the chip, opens a wheel-sized door into which you fit the bike to be stored; the wheel is then clamped in place. The bike owner steps to one side and pushes a green button and the bike is drawn horizontally into the bike store, and is then taken downwards and rotated and slid into an awaiting pallet space. These are set at staggered heights to maximum the storage capacity.

When the owner returns, all they have to do is hold their chip card over a sensor (think “Oyster card” or similar) and the bike is returned in as little as 8 seconds. Speeds are maintained even at peak times.

Being Japanese, the structure is anti-seismic, using a continuous wall of interlocking pre-fabricated piles, which are pressed in rather than pile-driven. Once the circle is completed, the earth in the centre is excavated and removed. The modular parking unit is then lowered into the circular cross section hole and the pre-fabricated booth is added to the top.

Giken also have a modular device that can recharge an e-bike while it is parked, accommodating the growing trend towards e-bikes in many countries.

With estimates of around 500,000 bikes stolen annually in the UK, I can also see the security aspect of this type of storage being attractive to some. Giken say that their storage systems accommodate road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes and even folding bikes. They have installations in Japan and are looking to install them in other countries.

Note of thanks: I first became aware of Giken’s solution on the impressive site of Danny Choo with all sorts of insights into Japanese Culture.


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