July 21, 2023
Active Travel
Cycle Storage Guides

Our Quick Guide to the Cycle-Rail Toolkit 2023

By Jonathan Oldaker

How can we better integrate cycling and rail travel? That’s the question transport minister Jesse Norman wants answering, and why an updated version of the Cycle-Rail Toolkit has been created by Systra and Sustrans.

The Cycle-Rail Toolkit contains a wealth of guidance for rail station owners on how best to design stations for cycling. The aim is to integrate active travel and rail travel to make it simpler and more welcoming for those choosing to cycle to or from a train station in the UK.

First published in 2012, then again in 2016, this 2023 edition contains all the updated guidance you would expect. Similar to our Guide to UK Cycle Parking Standards, the Toolkit relies on pulling together existing advice from existing guides. 

There is a substantial section in the Toolkit dedicated to cycle parking, which we’ll cover in more detail here. The importance of secure, accessible, and welcoming cycle parking is a major component to cycle-rail success.

According to Sustrans, “64% of people across the UK would like improved cycling infrastructure that better links with public transport, such as secure cycle parking at train stations.”

64% of people across the UK would like improved cycling infrastructure that better links with public transport, such as secure cycle parking at train stations.

How does cycle parking and storage fit in?

There are several elements in the cycle-rail transport ‘chain’ (excuse the pun). As laid out in the Cycle-Rail Toolkit, some are important throughout every part of the journey – Accessibility and wayfinding – while others are specific to either the train itself, the approach, or the station.

Cycle parking, when the person does not bring their bicycle on the train, is important within and outside the station building.


Source: Cycle-Rail Toolkit 2023

Accessibility & Wayfinding

As with the entire cycle-rail experience, planners emphasise that infrastructure, stations, and trains should be primarily accessible and well signposted. 

So naturally, cycle parking should above all be easy to find and accessible. Easy to find through proper signage, and accessible in both routes to the cycle parking, and correct provision for all types of cycle.

“Free, quick to access cycle parking, such as Sheffield stands, should always be made available alongside compounds, two-tier racks with gas assist and other long-stay parking options.” – Cycle-Rail ToolkitThe Toolkit leans heavily on the BA Standards for Public Cycle Parking, which should be followed throughout the design and installation process.

Different types of cycle parking

For accessible parking and short-stay parking, Sheffield stands should be provided. They’re the most common stand in the UK, and are easy and cost-effective to install.

The Toolkit emphasises that to be effective, Sheffield stands should be positioned to allow for:

  • Easy access and use
  • To accommodate a range of cycle types
  • So as not to impede pedestrian movement

Two-tier cycle parking systems should be used and are recommended for situations where high volumes of cycle parking are required.

To be effective, two-tier cycle parking should:

  • Display instructions on how to use
  • Have gas or spring assisted upper levels for raising and lowering the cycle, which makes the stands usable by a wider range of people
  • Be fitted with a bar or loop that allows the frame and at least one wheel to be fastened, for security
  • Have numbered racks so that faults can be reported easily or spaces can be booked. Numbering also helps with monitoring theft, the levels of use and abandoned cycles
  • Operate quietly. High-quality, robust, gas-assisted upper racks tend to create the least amount of noise

Cycle lockers may also be used for paying customers who wish to lock their bicycle with higher security. These should be, according to the Toolkit, an open mesh fronted design, with CCTV monitoring and regular cleaning.

Cycle Hubs

The term cycle hub has been used loosely over the years to denote anything from a simple cycle shelter, through to larger indoor facilities with showers and changing areas.

Within the context of rail travel, a cycle hub is defined by the Toolkit as “a place where various cycle facilities come together, such as cycle parking, cycle repair services, cycling information, and sometimes lockers and showers.”


Source: Cycle-Rail Toolkit 2023

A tyre pump is listed as an optional extra here, but we’d always recommend including a full bike repair station. They’re a compact unit, which offers both a pump and all the tools you’d need to complete most bike maintenance.

Other extras include vending machines for inner tubes or bicycle tools, showers, and staffed maintenance workshops. These are all common within larger Dutch facilities.

The full Cycle-Rail Toolkit is available to view here, with our in-depth guide to understanding all UK Cycle Parking Standards downloadable here.

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