Over the last couple of years, you’ve probably noticed the bike valets popping up at events all over Lodi. Maybe you’ve even used this service! Farmers Market, Zinfest, Kiwani’s Pancake Breakfast, Beer Fest… the list goes on. Bike valets are a free service offered by Bike Lodi to help make Lodi a more bike-friendly town. It’s super simple and people in Lodi love the service. In the few short years, Bike Lodi has been offering this service, the amount of people riding their bikes to events has grown threefold.
Bike Valets are simple and easy to use. You just ride your bike right up to valet station which is normally located near the entrance of the event. You hand your bike over to a Bike Lodi volunteer, then, once you’re all done at the event, you come back to the Bike Valet booth and pick up your bike. You don’t need to reserve a spot, have a special lock, or download an app. Simply show up and hand over your bike. Plus, this is a free service Bike Lodi offers. Tips are always appreciated, but in the end, their main goal is to encourage people to ride their bikes more.
Bike Lodi is a completely volunteer-led group but has been able to maintain consistent valet services at events all throughout Lodi thanks to their dedicated volunteers. The way the bike valet services works are that when an organization is hosting an event, they reach out to Bike Lodi and ask them to set up their valet services. Bike Lodi checks their availability and makes sure they’ll have enough volunteers for that day. If they do, then they’re booked. It’s that simple! There’s no fee for them to show up. All the income Bike Lodi generates is through tips.
The tips that do come in through the Bike Valet service go directly to structural updates to make Lodi more bike-friendly, including the new bike racks you’ve seen popping up throughout downtown Lodi.
Bike valets are growing in popularity every year. In 2017 there were 18 bike valet stations, and in 2018 that grew to 23 bike valet stations. In 2017 they parked 620 bikes and in 2018 they parked 978 bikes. This summer these numbers are sure to grow. “We are adding four more bike racks this summer to the downtown,” shared Kathryn Siddle from Bike Lodi. “The Shock Family is also adding one in memorial to Dr. Tom Shock to Candy Cane Park. We did a bike valet for his funeral & reception and had over 85 bikes. He was a bike rider.”
Bike Lodi’s bike valet joined forces with Dr. Nunez-Davis from Adventist Health and had a booth at the Walk for the Health of It event in May and was even able to properly fit and give away 100 bike helmets at their bike valet booth.
So why do so many Bike Lodi volunteers show up to keep offering this free valet service? Because they want to spread the joy of biking to others. Based on how quickly the Bike Valets are growing, it’s clear people in Lodi have just been waiting for an opportunity to make riding more accessible. Going to the farmers market goes from being a parking headache to a fun and relaxing evening bike ride. We like to ride our bikes, we know it’s more fun, we just needed someone like Bike Lodi to make it more accessible.
Bike valet isn’t the only thing Bike Lodi does (they do a lot), but I do think it’s one of the most loved things they do. They’re constantly fitting and giving away helmets, teaching bike safety for kids, and finding other ways to give back. “We have a couple of other actives planned like working with Parks & Rec to host the Park to Park Ride again this year - September 7th and hosting the Sandhill Crane Ride in October. There's always something in the planning stages!” says Katheryn.
By offering free bike valet, Bike Lodi makes riding fun again in a way that appeals to both avid riders and people whose bikes have grown cobwebs. Lodians love the valets, and the valets allow Bike Lodi members to achieve their goal of making Lodi a more bike friendly community.
To stay up to date on Bike Lodi’s Bike Valets and where you can find them, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.