To the owners of businesses around town...have you ever noticed whether there is any place in front of your location for a bike rider to lock a bike? It is not something I ever paid attention to much even after I started riding because most of my rides are totally recreational. I do own a bike lock. I use it so often that it was misplaced for over six months and I didn't even realize it until recently. After finally deciding it was lost for good it turned up while searching for something else (my purse - which is lost for good but that is the subject of another post for another time).
Tonight, though my ride was recreational, I did need to make a stop to pick up something since I was out anyway. I figured I would run into the grocery store that is about a mile from the house. As I pulled into the parking lot and looked around, I realized there was really no good place to lock my bike. There were a few places I could have locked it, but they were either not convenient or really not suitable. I headed on down the road to the dollar store. While they have not designated bike racks, there was at least a buggy return next to the store that served the purpose.
Now I know my little hometown is not a place where there are a lot of people who bike for transportation, but I do see quite a few adults riding around from time to time. For some of them their bike is their only mode of transportation. And while I live in a small town, there is a lot of theft. I would not feel comfortable leaving my bike in front of a business without locking it. I would not expect it to still be there when I got back.
I don't plan to start a bike parking crusade. I won't be boycotting businesses that don't offer bike racks. I will pay more attention when I am out and about. I may even offer a pat on the back to businesses that do have bike racks just to let them know that it is appreciated.