We recently came across a bike valet at the local farmers market. An organization named Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) (which was started by cyclists in 1991) recently launched a volunteer-run service called The Bicycle Valet in Vancouver. It offers a free and safe bike checking service for special events, including farmers markets, sporting events, and concerts. Are bike valets popping in other cities as well?
The Bicycle Valet works similarly to a coat-check with patrons receiving a ticket when they check their bike and submitting the ticket to pick up their bike later. Event organizers are able to hire The Bicycle Valet who set-up, staff, and take down the Valet during an event. They offer security to riders, marketing to event organizers and subsidized rates to non-profit or low-budget community events.
The Valet we saw last weekend was quite full and well-used. In a city where bike theft is an epidemic, it was awesome to see an organization that offers this service and whose only motive is to encourage people to ride their bikes.
For more information check out their website: thebicyclevalet.ca.