• Mon October 03 2005
  • Posted Oct 2, 2005
By REID FORGRAVE REGISTER STAFF WRITER October 3, 2005 There's a new addition on the front of 80 buses around the Des Moines area today that aims to make your commute easier and to make the bus system accessible to cyclists. The lightweight, stainless steel bike racks you'll see on nearly all of the Metropolitan Transit Authority buses starting today only take about 20 seconds to use. "It will expand the transportation alternatives for the citizens of Greater Des Moines," said Brian Litchfield, director of program development for the Des Moines MTA. "Like anything new, it'll take a first time to learn how to do it, then you'll be like, 'Man, this is easy.' " To load your bike on the racks — which are on all MTA buses except the Link downtown shuttle and the paratransit buses — you first pull the handle up to lower the rack into a usable position. Lift your bike into the rack, placing the tires in wheel wells. Then place the spring-loaded arm atop the front tire to secure the bicycle in place. The arm doesn't touch the bike frame. How-to directions are posted on the bike racks, and each rack holds two bicycles. MTA officials said that the racks can be expanded if the program attracts lots of cyclists. "This extends the range of people who can bike to work," said Mark Wyatt, president of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, which promotes using bicycles for recreation and transit. Wyatt should know. He bikes 8 miles every day to work in Iowa City, whose transit system is one of the few in Iowa to already have bike racks on buses. "Those cold rainy days when you don't want to bicycle back home, this is the perfect opportunity to take my bike to the bus stop and cut out three-quarters of my ride," Wyatt said. "The bike racks are a good safety net if it's raining or if your seat breaks and you don't want to ride home." October — right at the end of cycling season — seems like an odd time to unveil citywide bicycle racks on buses. But biking advocates hope cyclists notice the racks throughout the winter, planting the seed in their minds to use them come spring. Especially with energy efficiency on people's minds more now than ever. "People are tired of $3-a-gallon gas prices," said Scott Sumpter, who runs, a Web forum for Iowa cyclists. "Now they figure, hey, I can try something different other than driving to work."
For info on bike racks and bus routes: • To see a video demonstration on how to use the new MTA bike racks, visit • To see maps of the Des Moines MTA bus routes, call the customer service line at 283-8100 or visit
Where can I store my bike downtown? Downtown Des Moines has about 20 bike lockers where you can store your bicycle while you're at work. Look for them at Eighth and Grand avenues, Fourth Street and Grand Avenue, near the YMCA and near the Principal building.

  • Source:
  • Author:
  • Posted By: