There are currently over 11,000 people waiting for a bike storage cycle hangar in Lambeth.
Data from a Freedom of Information request shows there were 11,465 people waiting for a spot in March, signalling huge demand for bike storage in Lambeth.
Lambeth Council earn around £18,000 a year from the hangars, in contrast to boroughs like Hounslow and Hackney who subsidise spots.
Lewisham Council were slammed by cycling campaigners for withdrawing their subsidy in March.
Lambeth residents currently pay £42 a year for a cycle hangar space, generating around £77,000 a year for supplier Cyclehoop.
School cycle trainer Charlie Holland, 60, from Kennington thinks the long waiting list shows how popular cycling has become, and more support is needed from central government to build on progress.
He said: “There’s absolutely no question that this is a problem of success, all credit to Lambeth as they have done a lot of stuff to try and improve cycling over the years.
“The big challenge here is: we know we’ve got to cut the emissions, we know that we want more people making more journeys walking and cycling, therefore budgets need to be shifted.
“Arguably that’s where it’s not yet happening at a government level.”
Holland also represents Lambeth Cyclists, a volunteer group who are keen to see more people cycling by helping the council improve local infrastructure.
He said Lambeth Council had done well to make sure new buildings came with bike storage, but innovation was needed to work around fire regulations and make hangars cheaper for families.
He thought the cost is fair, and a lack of a subsidy will allow the council to employ more staff to run the scheme.
He said: “For me to have somewhere where it’s dry and it’s not in my house, or in the stairwell getting shouted at by my neighbours for having a bike, £42 is not the end of the world.
“Obviously the ideal solution to everything would be to give everyone a free Brompton.”
A Lambeth Council spokesperson said: “Since introducing the first of our award-winning bike hangars, we have already installed well over 300 across Lambeth – and we are committed to providing dozens more over the next year and have set aside £500,000 of capital funding over the next five years to do so.
“We are delighted that these have proved so popular that there is a waiting list for them, but we would encourage anyone who wants to start cycling in Lambeth to put their name down for a space in one of our hangars.”
The council also plan to invest half a million pounds into storage on estates.
Of 304 locations with six spaces each, six hangars had over 100 people in the queue and only one had zero.
Since the figures were released Cyclehoop confirmed Lambeth is at 100% capacity, and the total number waiting across London is 48,860, with just over 8,000 in neighbouring Southwark.
Other London boroughs are also oversubscribed, with over 2000 waiting for a space in Lewisham, and over 4000 in Waltham Forest, according to TransportXtra.
Lambeth installed 30 units during 2020, are installing 33 this year and are consulting for 34 in 2021, according to Cyclehoop.
The process can take time because resident support is needed, and traffic orders must be filed to fill parking spots.
Cyclehoop founder Anthony Lau said: “It kind of exploded over lockdown because people all bought bikes as they all took up cycling, so we have seen a huge demand for spaces.”
Asked how he might reduce people taking up space with bikes they hardly use, Lau revealed the company will be introducing electronic locks to help them see if the problem is widespread.
He added: “We don’t want to penalise those who don’t use their bikes as much as others.
“But the main thing is there is such a big demand, and if there was more units on the street that would deal with the people who really want those spaces.”
He also thinks that charging a higher rate will make people value their space.
Lau revealed the company is rolling out new adjustable hangars that can store larger cargo bikes and other designs.
He said: “We are trying to make sure we are always one step ahead of the game.
“I can’t tell you too much now, but just to let you know, there’s going to be more individual doors so that people can start putting in really expensive bikes.
“But not an ugly locker, something that looks quite beautiful.
“We’d love to get some greenery on the bike hangars themselves.”
Cyclehoop is the main provider of cycle storage in the capital, creating 6,417 cycle parking spaces across London since 2008.
Featured Image “Bike Hangar 05” by Sam Saunders licensed under Creative Commons