Carrying Cycle on the Bus - ideas and options

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Ever wonder what aspect of Cycle Day got most attention and interest around? It was the news about BMTC trying an experiment of allowing people to carry their cycles on the Bus. Since Volvo or similar low floor buses are the only ones where it is possible to carry cycles along without causing inconvenience to other commuters, this experiment is limited to those types of buses.

A good many of us believe that if we can figure a way for people to carry their cycles around on BMTC Buses, that could really get many people to adopt bus/cycle combo for their commutes. Bus for main commute, and cycle for first and last miles, as simple as that. This coupled with 1) cycle stands to securely park and leave behind cycle at BMTC bus stands and 2) cycle rental facilities at key locations in the central area of city or job areas would be perfect.

Anyway, leave aside all other thoughts for now. What are the best, or new and creative ways of getting BMTC to carry cycles on the bus? I have heard of these:

1) Cycle Racks

Fixed in the front of the Bus, could carry up to 2-3 cycles. This is perhaps the most common option available. The challenge is in designing something that will make it possible to attach / detach cycles quickly enough.  However, getting started with this should be fairly easy. Some pictures of such racks from google image search

Rack with space for two cycles:

A design to carry 3 cycles


2) Cycle Trailers.

Not as common, but may work for us. Imagine an easy way of attaching special cycle trailer to any bus through a tow hook at the back. And then, if every 3rd or 5th Big Trunk bus having this trailer in morning and evening rush hours. Or pick any bus route where demand can be built up, but the point is in having flexibility of having these attachments only when and where you have the demand.

To my surprise, found some more images of this concept on internet, here is one more:


Demanding protected dedicated cycle lanes all around the city is one thing (lot of work to fight for it and get there), but if we can crack this bus in the cycle thing - and, have safe cycle parking at bus stands (so that in case bus is loaded with cycle, I have the option of safely leaving behind my cycle at the bus stand), coupled with making cycle rentals available at hot commuter destinations around the city - we can get a good number of people to start using cycles for commutes.


RTO clearance is required

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BMTC is game for trying and experimenting such options through Cycle Day or otherwise. They have tried cycle rack on Buses once through help from RACF (Murali) before.

However, I am told the eventual design of rack or attachment will need an approval from RTO.

pre-tensioner design

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the problem or issue with the front bike carriers is that it can carry only 3-4 bikes at a time..however the trailor type as shown bellow can do more than 10 easily..

The basic design is simple and can be implemented very well..however the only hitch is with designing the spring loaded pre-tensioner  which is needed to keep the bikes in place..this is the candy stick kind of a thing..

If this fastener issue is sorted, this can be mass implemented. These pre-tensioners are needed both for the front as well as the trolley designs..


Vestibule buses an option?

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Good, timely post, SB /Sri.

Trailers & racks may also come with some weaknesses in India - like occupying additional road space, manoevering diificulties for buses, possibility of thefts, higher investments for limited capacity, low capacity, etc.

A better option is to have bicycles carried within buses but then, this will cause issues for space as well as obstruction to passengers during ingress /egress.

How about vestibule buses with a wide door on the trailer portion designed for loading /unloading & storing bicycles with snap on hooks at the sides that also allow limited passenger seating & larger room for standing passengers? Additional investments would be minimal whilst the capacity can be used for passengers in the absence of bicycles during lean hours.

Like to know your thoughts on this.

Absolutely, option #3 - special types of buses to carry cycles

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Naveen, absolutely. Special buses, either vistibules, or half and half, where half of the bus has no seats, but space for cyclists to stand with their cycles could be other option. I was trying to search for some examples of this, but couldn't find anything that easily. Some examples I could look up (bit too western in look and feel, but still). All these seem to be cycle floors inside trains, not buses.

Better to be informal at start

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I am also unable to find pictures for bicycles within buses. The pictures below are examples for bicycle carraige "informally" within metro trains.

Half & half single coach buses can work if two wide doorways are provided (rear one can be used for taking in bicycles).





Carrying Cycle on the Bus - ideas and options - More Thoughts

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I was wondering that the challenges for us in India would be road space and commuting population in buses when it comes to designing a Bicycle rack for a Bus. I remember seeing wall posted vertical mount cycle racks in my clients office primises inside the office building. Such a design infact takes up very minimal space. We could possibly utilize 8 to 10 feet lenght of rear space in long body buses with an additional door at the rear meant for only passengers with bicycles. We can possibily thing of having the vertical mount racks fixed to the rear wall of the buses and the cycles could be mounted on to the racks and passenger can choose to stick by in the vicinity thus ensuring security of the bicycles. The could be lot of further scope to compact the space between consecutive stands by altering the mounting heights. Additonally, i feel that we can also cut down on the on-boarding and off-boarding of bicycle passengers if we materialize this design as activities such as posting the bicycle on to the rack and offloading it could be managed after the bus starts assuming bus is driven slowly and safely. 

half and half bus - good idea

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Half and half buses, with an efficient hanger or slot to just hold cycle still sounds like a good idea. But will be tough to try it as an experiment on a Cycle Day. Though all BMTC buses have wide doors, all (except Volvos) have a divide metal rod to separate enering and disemparking commuters. Tough to carry cycles in with those rods there, even if we can figure a way to temporarily remove all seats from the back of a Marco Polo or Ashok Leyland equipments.

Trailer attachment seems to be the thing that can easily be tried for a Cycle Day to see how it works. I guess all the Buses would already have provision to tow other vehicles. Have to check though.

The problem when carrying

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The problem when carrying cycles is the wheels. Wheels cannot be folded. There are many problems maybe encountered if wheels are folded with respect to strength, they are dirtier, etc. Tyres will be very difficult to fold. The solution is cycles with detachable wheels which can be folded into something like a square shape. At the stations the the frame can be unfolded. It is more easier to create foldable thing with metals.  Then the wheels can be on hire at the stations where you can attach the wheels and go to your destination. There are lots of  technologies snap on type atachment are available. Attaching the wheels with 1 or 2 screw fasteners which cn be done under 2 minutes will be fine

Carrying cycle in metro

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Carrying cycle in Bus definitely a welcome idea and I hope this takes place. 


Another interesting idea can be allowing people to carry cycle on the metro. I live near Byappanahalli metro and it would be really wonderful if I can bike to the station, take the metro and then have my bike available to me at MG road again.

Since metro has plenty of space compared to BMTC, this can be a less challenging idea to implement. I think people might even prefer this to the bike rental scheme.

foldable ones allowed..

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namma metro even today allows foldable bikes on trains as  a the ones below:


we can use the feature..till regular bicycles are allowed !


Folding bikes are a good idea

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Folding bikes are a good idea but we must also think if these are really affordable for the common man. Now only if someone can come up with a sub 5000 rupee foldable bike !

Slightly off the topic: charges to transport a cycle in Airavat

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Dear Praja members,

I really appreciate the initiatives happening in Bangalore.

I do cycle to work and at times go for long drives as well.

Two Years back I went to Kodai in Airavat with my cycle. The experience was very bad. The conductor made so much drama (even told me not to travel) to get bribe, though the bootspace was almost empty.  Finally gave 150Rs ticket and took 300-400 rupees.

Now I am planning to take cycle to Coimbatore and do a trip to Ooty. I would like to know the "official" way to take a cycle without all these nonsense? 

Thanks in advance

Gireesan N.


Gireesan Namboothiri

here is some calculations..

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