13. Bike Valet and Other Bicycle Parking—Including Etiquette and Laws

This guide, provided as a public service, was first published in 2009, with many subsequent updates. For additional updates, or if you have questions, please contact us. To return to the portal page of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County 20-section guide, click here.

Below are tips on:

  1. bike valet parking (a) provided by businesses and organizations; (b) provided at special events
  2. bike locker locations
  3. bike parking etiquette and laws

Also see Bicycling Monterey’s:

1. Bike Valet Parking

“Sir, my bicycle, please.”

You don’t have to miss out on the bike valet parking services just because you can’t bike all the way to a special event or other destination. Use a bike-and-ride option to get there.

Who says you can’t use earth-friendly transportation and still enjoy some of life’s little luxuries? In Monterey County, bicycle valet parking is one way we say yes to both.

As requests for this service have become more common, our Monterey County valets have graciously taken it in stride.  They can park a Schwinn or Colnago just as smoothly as a Prius or a Jaguar. And their guests who bike are provided the same royal treatment as those driving cars.

You may be surprised at the numerous places where bike valet parking is offered in Monterey County. See a sampling below.

1(a) – Bike valet parking service

provided by businesses and organizations

Hotels and fine dining establishments

You’ll find most businesses and organizations in Monterey County are delighted to accommodate people who bike. From the most elegant establishments to the most casual spots, people on bikes are typically appreciated and warmly welcomed here. Anywhere that valet parking service is offered for motor vehicles, your polite request, “I’d like bicycle valet parking, please,” will most likely be met with an enthusiastic “Yes, of course!”

Many lodging and dining providers—such as HER Helmet Thursdays participants InterContinental The Clement MontereyPortola Plaza Hotel and Spa, and Schooners Bistro on the Bay—are in the habit of doing bicycle valet parking, any day of the week.

The Inn at Spanish Bay also has bike valet service available daily. Other places, e.g., the Sardine Factory, may have valets on hand only on Fridays and Saturdays, or at other peak times.

In my experience, local valets graciously take your bike at curbside and keep it securely stored for you or otherwise under their watchful eyes. And when you’re ready to go, your bike is retrieved promptly. The valets seem charmed to be providing this service.

Portola Hotel valets have included people who bike a lot themselves, such as their valets Nick (below) and Rodney.

What about attire at elegant spots?

Sometimes it’s fine to dress fairly casually, perhaps to bike to lunch at a place offering bike valet service, such as HER Helmet Thursdays spot Schooners Bistro on the Bay.

Many times, though, valet parking service goes hand-in-hand with dressier attire.  Spandex shorts will not be the way to go if, for example, you’re heading out for a dinner date at a more elegant place. Whether you’re biking to a HER Helmet Thursdays spot or somewhere else, FAQs #11 and #12 offer related input for your consideration.

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital

The valet parking attendants at Salinas Valley Memorial are happy to provide bicycle valet parking on request. Whether you are bicycling to the hospital to visit a loved one or have other business there, the hospital’s valets are ready to make your trip to SVMH easier. This service of the hospital is new as of August 2010 and demonstrates the increasingly bicycling friendly nature of Salinas, as well as Salinas Valley Memorial’s level of caring about the health of the community.

1 (b) – Bike valet parking

at special events

Here are some examples of special events where you’ll often find bike valet parking. Please check with the event organizers and valet providers for any updates.
Monterey Jazz Festival

The Monterey Jazz Festival had the first bike valet station in Monterey County. See Jazz Festival bike-there and other tips on the Bicycling Monterey website.

Above: Bicycle valet parking station, on the corner of Contra Costa and Ortiz, at Sand City’s West End Celebration 2019. Valet attendants provided by Green Pedal Couriers and friends.

Monterey County resident Michael Baroni (who operated Green Pedal Couriers from 2009 to 2020) is the most frequent organizer and provider of bicycle valet parking for special events in Monterey County. Check with Mike (831-920-8181) for bike valet updates, or to volunteer to help him at an upcoming event. Baroni advised us on 8/16/21 that, due to the global pandemic, he was not currently doing bike valet service, but he anticipates resuming it in 2022. 

Among current or past valet stations Green Pedal Couriers and friends provided are the following ones highlighted on Bicycling Monterey: California Roots FestivalMonterey Jazz Festival, Monterey Bay Reggae Fest, Monterey Beer FestFirst City Festival, Monterey County Fair and some other events at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center; City of Monterey’s 4th of July Big Little Backyard Bar-B-Que and Entertainment Extravaganza; Día de los Muertos at Closter Park; Ciclovia Salinas; West End Celebration; plus numerous additional locations.
Sea Otter Classic

The annual Sea Otter Classic, a Celebration of Cycling, is another special event where you’ll find bike valet parking.

At other special events

Ask for bicycle valet parking service at other events too, in Monterey County or wherever you travel. It’s growing in popularity, and of course, the more public demand there is for bike valet service, the more often you’ll find it.

Below: Monterey Green Action has been a provider of some special-event
bicycle valet parking, such as for some of the past Monterey Jazz Festival dates.

2. Bicycle lockers

Below are some bike locker locations in Monterey County. If you know of others, please contact me.

Bike lockers at Monterey Regional Airport

Located in the upper short-term parking lot,  the bicycle lockers are just to the left of the sliding glass entrance doors. Locker use is provided at no charge (on a space-available basis), and as of February 2013, there are two.  Reserve by calling the airport police dispatch number, 831-648-7006.  Dispatch will radio airport police, who lock/unlock the bike lockers.

(For more tips on bike-friendly features of the Monterey Regional airport, click here.)

Airport bike locker photo below provided courtesy of Amelia Poma and Jennifer Hickerson.

Bike lockers in downtown  Salinas        

Bike lockers at City Hall (7 lockers) and the City Permit Center (2) are available free by reservation; a $20 refundable deposit is required for the key. Call (831) 970-7641, City of Salinas Parking Operations between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mon-Fri.

Bike lockers at Hartnell College, Main and East Campus

As noted in “Back to the Books and Bikes,” in 2015 bike lockers were installed on both the Main and Alisal campuses.

Bike locker use is free at Hartnell campuses. Lockers are available on first-come, first-served basis, and they’re not for overnight use. No key deposit required. Instead, bring your own lock.

These bike lockers are designed for one bike only. However, they are large enough to hold two bikes if you and a friend want to share use of a bike locker. Remember to bring your own lock, and of course, to share your lock combination or key with that friend.

Bike lockers at Monterey-Salinas (MST) transit centers

Bike lockers are provided by Monterey-Salinas Transit/MST at the Marina Transit Exchange and Salinas Transit Center. As of March 2016, MST plans to install signs to help make the lockers more identifiable to potential users. Per MST as of 3/7/16:

  • Eight bicycle lockers are provided at the Marina Transit Exchange, 280 Reservation Road, Marina.
  • Six bicycle lockers are provided at the Salinas Transit Center, 110 Salinas Street in Oldtown Salinas.

At both locations, bike lockers can be used free of charge, and by reservation. A fully refundable deposit is required (i.e., $20-$25; check with MST regarding current amount of deposit).

For locker availability and to reserve a locker, or for any updates to this information, contact MST customer service.

For more about using the bike-and-ride option of MST, see the bike-and-ride section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.

Bike lockers at CSUMB

California State University Monterey Bay  (CSUMB) has 40 bike lockers as well as an indoor Bike Bunker that accommodates 36 bikes. These numbers reflect capacity as of 6/15/13; check with CSUMB transportation planner for any capacity updates, and for all other information.

Bike lockers at City of Monterey parking garages

The City of Monterey has bike lockers for rent at some city parking garages, i.e., Cannery Row and East Custom House parking garages. Click here to learn more. Details: http://monterey.org/Services/Bicycle-Locker-Rentals

Above: Bike rack on Main Street, Oldtown Salinas
Below: Bike rack in downtown Monterey. 

3. Bicycle Parking

Etiquette and Laws

When parking your bike, please be a good ambassador for the bicycling community by being considerate (and legal) about not blocking pedestrian walkways and not blocking entrances to buildings Also take care to lock up your bike in a way that doesn’t damage the property of others. 

And remember to check out Bicycling Monterey’s Bicycle Security section for tips on locking your bike securely, as well as a list of places where you can relax and still keep an eye on your bike.

What’s the law?  The California Department of Motor Vehicles Code 21210 addresses Bicycle Parking.  In a nutshell:  Leave walkways clear for pedestrians!  It’s annoying–and hazardous–for a bicycle to be left lying on a sidewalk, instead of properly parked.  In addition, note the following.

Disabled access:  Kindly observe California law for motor vehicles, and bicycles, about parking near designated sidewalk access ramps used by disabled persons:  Do not park within three feet of such ramps.  (For more about California bike laws, see this site’s section on CA Bicycle Laws and Personal Safety–with Tips for Kids.)

On-site:  When there are no bicycle racks or lockers within a reasonable distance of your destination, another option is to see if the building you’ll be entering will allow short-term bicycle parking inside their building or inside a fenced/secure patio or deck. Some do–local examples are on a list in the bicycle security section. In many cases, it is still advisable to lock up your bike indoors.

Signposts and fences: For short-term bike parking where no bike racks exist, a non-living stationary object, such as a tall signpost or a metal fence is sometimes a viable option. If your bike is locked to one of these in a place where you or others cannot keep an eye on it, be aware that wooden posts and aluminum or chain link fences can often be easily cut or broken, signposts can be pulled out of the ground or the sign removed and the bike lifted over the top of the post.   (Reminder:  See bicycle security section for more tips.)

Parking meters:  Sometimes locking to a parking meter may be adequate, but this may not keep your bike secure.  Especially with a chain or cable, a bike can often be lifted over the top of the parking meter.  A U-lock is safest if locking to a meter.  Also, using a parking meter can sometimes mean that your bike would block a pedestrian walkway or damage a parked car (e.g., if high wind–or a passerby–accidentally topples your bike over, or otherwise moves it from an originally carefully parked position).

Stair rails:  Please avoid using a stair railing, as this typically impedes pedestrian traffic.

Trees:  Please avoid locking your bike to trees!  If this happens on a regular basis, it can stunt a tree’s growth and even kill it.  In many places, laws exist making it illegal to lock bikes to small trees.

The City of Monterey positioned this bike rack near a small tree. Bicycles pulling trailers, cargo bikes, and other large bicycle rigs will find it challenging to park in a spot like this without harming a tree.

On Alvarado Street in downtown Monterey, many people overlooked the low-to-the-ground black iron bicycle parking racks (pictured above). The city replaced them with brightly colored racks (pictured below).

Below, eco-wise First Presbyterian Church, Monterey’s bike rack is at the front door of the sanctuary. People bike to worship at some other houses of faith too, and some of these likewise prioritize bicycle parking.
Where do you park if you bike to the beach? Where indeed! More bike parking options are needed at Monterey County beaches. The posts pictured below allow locking up your bicycle near Tide Avenue & Surf Way. Thanks to the City of Monterey for these posts, evidence of their increasing recognition that more people are biking all the time, and to nearly anywhere they want to go!

2015 Sept 17 Del Monte Beach bike racks

City of Seaside bike parking update

In 2018, 110 new bike parking racks are being installed as part of the West Broadway Urban Village project.

City of Monterey bike parking updates

As of spring 2014, the City of Monterey continues to install additional and replace older bike racks around town.

The main reasons for rack replacement are space efficiency (better/more use per rack), and more bike lock accessibility. Some of the older model racks, such as at the Monterey Sports Center,  don’t allow people to park bikes in the most efficient manner. The new racks being installed around town were first installed at places including the Uptown Monterey shopping center (between Trader Joe’s and r.g. Burgers) Pete’s Coffee, Monterey Public Library, Museum of Monterey, Harbor Master’s, and West Parking Garage. These have staggered spaces, which allow bikes to be better packed into the rack, and prevent handlebars, etc. from getting tangled up with other bikes. They also have more rack area for bike locks to wrap around.

Visual appeal is an indirect benefit of changing out older racks, although it is not a direct reason for replacement. A few older chipped, bent, and rusting racks around town will need to be, or have been, replaced; this makes the street/building, etc. more aesthetically appealing and helps create a more uniform themed look for the City. There are also now some color options over the standard steel racks, which help fit the racks to their surroundings. An additional benefit of increased uniformity is that it makes it easier for visitors and residents to spot bike racks.

Thanks to Rich Deal and other City of Monterey staff, along with intern Vince Pizzo, for working to improve bicycle parking. Bike parking Monterey Library front 2015