Wheeling Ramps – general information

Wheeling ramps make stairs accessible to cyclists. They enable cyclists to go up or down staircases without having to physically carry their bike.

Several designs of ramps are available. Cycle-Works have provided and installed both concrete and metal wheeling ramps, including 2 new sites at Hampstead Heath for London Borough of Camden.

The success of a wheeling ramp mainly depends on the choice of ramp materials, as well as the gradient and length of the stairs. In general, short and shallow stairs are more useful than long and steep sets, as less strength is required to wheel the bicycle up and down the stairs.

Please find below some examples of successful wheeling ramps and their characteristics:

Stairs filled in with concrete

Advantages: This is a permanent type of ramp that is stable, safe and easy to use. If the concrete is patterned, it provides adhesion and the ramp does not become slippery when wet.

Disadvantages: The ramp cannot be moved at a later date if the cycle parking is relocated, and may be more costly to make.

Metal ramps

Advantages: This ramp type can easily be retro-fitted to an existing set of stairs, and also moved later if required. A strong profile gives good grip for the bicycle wheels as seen in the pictures below.

Disadvantages: Not as stable as concrete ramps. May become slippery in wet weather.

The use of strong metal is highly recommended to avoid damage through heavy usage and vandalism.

Wheel channels

Advantages: This ramp type can also be easily retro-fitted and moved. It is very efficient where space is tight. The wheels are guided securely in the channel.

Disadvantages: These ramps are slightly harder to use than wider ramps, as the front wheels need to be inserted into the ramp with more precision. Wide tyres can catch on the side walls.

Some advice

We have found that all three ramp types work well if used to suit the site requirements.

As regular cyclists, we have compiled a list of installation tips and considerations that we have found important:

  • It is usually easier to go down a ramp than come up it. As most cyclists prefer to stand to the left of their bike when pushing it, the ramp should be installed on the right hand side of the stairs (when ascending) if possible. If there is sufficient space, two parallel ramps allow the cyclist to choose which side they would like to stand on.
  • Wheeling ramps should be situated as far as possible from the side wall or any other obstacles.
  • Ramps should be clearly visible to avoid accidents. This can be done by using bright colours or by painting the adjacent floor.
  • Ramps should be fixed securely, avoiding any trip hazards.
  • Wheeling ramps should provide a good grip, especially when wet. A strong profile as seen in the pictures below is recommended.
  • Where possible, wheeling ramps should be separated from pedestrian access with the help of metal railings.