Friday, February 1, 2013

The Bicycle-Friendly Workplace

Seven Cycles
There is a range of opinions among cyclists about what constitutes a bicycle-friendly workplace. Some consider indoor bike parking a must. Others are concerned with shower facilities. Others still feel that bike to work schemes are crucial. More than anything, our ideas of a bike-friendly workplace seem to depend on how we construe transportation cycling. 

For me personally, the most important thing about commuting is having a safe and comfortable route. As long as that is in place, I am pretty easy. At my last 9-5 job, the 4 mile riverside commute kept me happy. On arrival, I locked my bike to a pole. I brushed myself off in front of a mirror before facing co-workers. It did not occur to me to lament the lack of indoor bike parking, let alone to wish for showers at work. Once I transitioned to freelance and began to spend the day going from place to place, it made even less sense. "Hello, I'm here to meet about the XYZ project ...But first, do you have a shower I can use? I arrived by bicycle you see." 

Others have different priorities, which is understandable. Long, strenuous commutes involve challenges that I do not usually face. Likewise with finding all-day bike parking in unsafe locations.

From an employer's perspective, the question is which priorities it makes the most sense to cater to. Is it the employer's responsibility to offer indoor parking? Many bicycle commuters say yes. Others feel it is the cyclist's responsibility to choose a bike that can be stored outdoors. What about shower facilities? There are those who lobby for them. And there are those who feel that the idea of showers at work conflates transport with sport. 

Others believe that focusing on parking or showers is too narrow of an approach. What about calling for employers to open up shop in bike-friendly locations? What about travel compensation, tax incentives, bike share memberships, and the like? Or maybe a different paradigm altogether: What if neighbourhood employers join forces to sponsor bike lanes (and street plowing in winter) within an X mile radius? 

Budgets are finite, and often employers get mixed messages as far as what cyclists are looking for. The bike-friendly workplace is a concept worth exploring more thoroughly. 

52 comments:

  1. Parking depends on location.

    There are not enough poles in places such as downtown Chicago, Mid-town (or really just about anywhere in) Manhattan or the San Francisco Financial District for bikes if they are to be a significant part of the commuter mix.

    Civil engineering otherwise is where the most efforts should concentrate.

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  2. As an everyday commuter with a pretty short route, I most appreciate indoor parking. It's really reassuring to know that my bike is not exposed to the elements and/or people fiddling with it for 9 hours a day. I would probably ride less in bad weather if I had to park it outside and couldn't dry/clean it/unfreeze it at all. I also have a shower at work but haven't used it, as my commute is so short. It's nice to know it's there, though.

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  3. I have always commuted by bike regardless of my employer's stance, and I share your views as regards security, parking, showers, etc. I choose the job that works best for me, and if my priorities include secure bike parking and a shower, then I need to choose a job that provides those, not take a job and then demand them.

    The small resentment I have hatched in the past relates to how car commuters (and to a lesser extent public transit commuters) are treated, either with paid parking or commuting reimbursements, when as a cyclist I make fewer fiscal demands on a company and am provided with no corresponding benefit. I have never wanted special treatment, only equal, which, thankfully, I have now.

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    1. Look into the Bicycle Commuter Act:
      http://blumenauer.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=817&Itemid=167

      You can get up to $20 a month reimbursement for bicycle related expenses.

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  4. I've always been happy with a safe place to lock up and a bathroom to change if the weather's bad. Most places can manage that, and a few past employers even told me, unsolicited, that I could bring my bike indoors after they noticed me locking it up outside.

    On the other hand, I did have one supervisor tell me riding to work was unprofessional, and taking time at the beginning of my shift to change from sweaty bike-to-work clothes to a shirt and tie (which I did in the summer) wasted company time. Of course, it was a dead-end job with low pay, which I left for work in a bicycle shop, so there ya go.

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    1. I wonder, do any of your former co-workers take smoke breaks?

      I am very very lucky. I get to park inside when ever I snag a long term assignment. Otherwise, it is park outside. For me, indoor parking is critical. I am also lucky in that I can show up pretty much whenever I want to so taking the time to change is a non-issue. I have a time I cannot start past, but nothing stops me from arriving early enough to make becoming presentable a non-issue.

      I had one job location where I not only had indoor parking, but had a dedicated shelf with my "name on it" for my stuff, and had access to a shower. The place loved that I biked in. That was a good thing though since the ride was exactly 30km door to door and I usually did it in less than an hour with the bike loaded down. A shower was needed... ;p

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    2. "Of course, it was a dead-end job with low pay, which I left for work in a bicycle shop, so there ya go."

      Problem solved indeed : )

      "The place loved that I biked in. That was a good thing though since the ride was exactly 30km door to door and I usually did it in less than an hour with the bike loaded down. A shower was needed... ;p "

      If I had a 9-5 job again, that would be my preferred arrangement. How else would I get the miles in! My ideal commute would be roadie friendly (ie not through a dense city and not along a highway), and 20 miles or so each way. I'd get there early, store my roadbike in a warm safe place, take advantage of the showers, and change into a work-appropriate outfit that would be waiting for me at the office. Yup, sounds pretty good.

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    3. "Of course, it was a dead-end job with low pay, which I left for work in a bicycle shop, so there ya go." I toiled in the bicycle mines for a big chunk of my life and thought THAT was dead-end low pay... But I get your point.

      My Dad rode a bike the 4 miles to work at the Chrysler dealership where he was a Mech. for a while, but his boss kept finding cars for him to drive home to "test" till my Dad figured out that it was freaking everybody out a bit and gave up. A grown man on a bike in Rural Texas in 1975 equated with (in descending order of acceptability)Alcoholism/Mental Illness/Communism so it was probably good that he caught the hint before someone decided to knock some sobriety or capitalism into him with their bumper.

      My current employer is a lifelong bike racer and it's the most bike friendly environment I've ever had the pleasure to work in, WAY better than most of the bike shops I've been in. Indoor bikerack, lockers, showers, etc. He even gave two of his employees new Redline 9-2-5s for Christmas one year. One guy sold his about a minute later but the other still rides his to work 3 years on(some seed falls on stoney ground, some on good soil...). For me the best part is that if one needs to slip out for a dentist appt. or to pick a sick kid up from school all one need do is fake a bike ride and everyone understands and covers for you. Pretty swell.

      Spindizzy

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    4. I've been on-and-off as a bike mechanic for ages, mostly as a part-timer, but lately it's become my main source of income again. The pay is indeed limited, but as a mechanic I still make about double the hourly rate I could make in the mall, and if I'm going to work for way too little cash, I figure it might as well be doing something fun like fixing bikes.

      The shop is about 20 miles from home, so I do get in a nice commute, although I don't ride every day. No showers, but as a mechanic, scruffy is fine as long as I deodorize ;-)

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  5. I'd like covered parking at a 9-5. Theft is a concern with a bike sitting around all day, but wear and tear from the elements is a bigger concern.

    Support of bike infrastructure, particularly guarded bike lanes, is always welcome. I really liked the asphalt lanes integrated into the sidewalk in Munich myself.

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  6. I worked for a major Hollywood studio for about a year and was very excited because not only were there showers at the on-site gym, but there was also a bike rack right outside of my particular building. A perfect set up for a bike commuter, right? Well...

    The first time I rode up on my bike, security wouldn't allow me on the lot because I didn't have a "commuter sticker" on my fork. Seriously. Unaware that there was an official bike policy, I got "the packet" from the new "green initiatives" department. Stacks of forms with little gems like this:

    ** The studio is not responsible for my bike -- yet I had to give them all sorts of personal info and serial numbers and whatnot AND put a permanent sticker on any bike I wanted to commute with. (Annoying since I have several expensive bikes with very nice paint jobs.)

    ** Once you're in the "commuter program", you HAVE to ride your bike at least 3 days a week or else you would lose your vehicle parking space.

    ** Commuter stickers were not to be confused with the "lot bike" sticker. Those stickers were for all the cruiser-type bikes that people used to get around within the confines of the lot.

    ** If you have a stickered "lot bike" -- which is a bike that is YOURS, that YOU buy and YOU bring onto the lot -- you are not allowed to take that bike OFF the lot without first clearing it with the bicycle department. (Again, this is YOUR PRIVATELY-OWNED BIKE.) Only properly-stickered "commuter bikes" could come and go off the lot. (But again, the studio isn't responsible for your bike anyway.)

    ** However, security would never question a bike that is affixed to a bike rack on the back of a car. Nope, never looked twice at those.


    In short, by trying to encourage people to ride their bikes, they all but assured that no one would. I mean, how about I just wake up to a beautiful day and decide, "Hey, I'm going to ride my bike to work today!" (Clearly, whoever came up with this junk has never actually ridden a bike.)

    So personally, I would prefer that employers just stay out of it altogether and just let ME figure out how to commute by bike. Because there's nothing worse than a corporation getting involved in something that is so not corporate. Forms, personal info, stickers, rules, penalties... sheesh! You'd think in L.A. they'd bend over backwards to make it EASY to ride a bike. But sadly, no.




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  7. I tend to agree with you; as far as the ride to and from work is nice, I only need a safe proper place to lock my bike. I prefer bike racks, and really hate having to lock my bike to signs, especially the non-round kind that can really scratch your paint
    That said, I do believe in parity for cyclists: if a parking garage is provided for cars, space in the garage near the entrance, and proper racks, should be provided for bikes.
    Mark

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  8. I think the requirements for a bike-friendly work place depends on the location, the needs of the cyclist, and the type of work being done. One doesn't need a shower if one is a construction worker or only commutes two miles in a temperate climate. I think the key is that employers see cycling to work as adding value to their workplace and reducing health insurance costs -- and thus will work to help current cyclists and encourage the more sedentary types to join in.

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  9. I've benefited enormously from my SF Bay Area corporate employer's dedication to alternative transportation, including cycling to work. We are paid to ride to work, as are all commuters who carpool, take one of the company busses, or take public transit. We can park our bikes at our desks or in (semi-secure) bike parking cubes (my baby is nestled in my office, just saying). We have showers supplied with towels, bath products and lockers (said showers benefit all active folks at the company, not just the cyclists). There are bike pumps on site and the company store sells patch kits and tubes. We have a corporate bike fleet on site for day use, etc.

    It is Win-Win for our employer to do this-- they reduce the car impact on campus and area roads, and the level of benefits provided to cyclists and other alternative commuters is still dwarfed by the benefits provided to drivers, such as free parking in parking structures built at enormous cost.

    Addressing your remark regarding "riding a ike suitable to park outdoors": in the SF Bay Area, it is not feasible to park any bike outdoors for any significant period of time-- clunker or not (and certainly not my beloved custom serotta, my preferred commuter bike given the length of my commute). Theft or stripping of the bike WILL happen. And there is very limited secure outdoor parking, especially with the removal of all of the parking meters in favor of centralized pay stations. We are not Amsterdam here-- one can't just leave the bike standing around outside during the day. Secure indoor parking is necessary for the bike commuters here.

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  10. I have commuted by bike to several different jobs over a roughly 30 year span. Usually I just ask, during teh first few days, "Is there someplace I can put my bike?". Or I figure it out by myself.

    Having said that, I have not had to commute a long way in a major city. If so, I would like a shower and a spot to lock my bike that is secure - underground parking, specific bike storage area / bike room or something similar.

    But usually I can find somewhere to tuck my bike where it is not obvious, easy to get in and out and does not bother anyone else. I take the pragmatic approach that my bike is my responsibility, not anyone elses'.

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    1. Most big city office buildings do not come with general occupant shower facilities.

      Sure, a big shot's swank corner office may have one, but the rest of us corporate wonks are stuck with the public loos. And many of these have those confounding water saving sensor faucets that seem to never believe your hands are under them.

      Some office buildings have or are reasonably close to a gymn, but high Real Estate costs have run a number of these out of business in Chicago's downtown anyway.

      Hot weather commutes I leave before sunrise to avoid the heat and arrive presentable. Late June/July days where it is hot even when dark I gulp and take public transit.

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  11. As a new bike commuter I am amazed by the lack of bike parking infrastructure. Somewhat, maybe very, obnoxiously I have started to point out to my grocer and coffee shop, etc. (all of whom provide 4 car spots per 1000 square feet) hat I am moving on to other establishments that provide bike racks. Who knows, maybe that will help.

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  12. Where I work, we are given the luxury of rather large cubicles but the few bike racks are outdoors. So we generally bring them inside. This being central California, rain is rare enough that nearly everyone will drive in that case. I'm seeing an increased willingness to ride in the rain and chill, though.

    Actually I think the big problem here with racks is that we have many company-owned cruiser bicycles. Some belong to a certain area of the shop and some belong to managers or couriers. But they all really belong to the company. You could probably leave an aluminum derailer bike anywhere and not have it ridden away but God help you if it's a dinged-up steel cruiser. Someone is going to assume it's fair game.

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  13. Back when I first started commuting to work I left my bike locked up out on the sidewalk (in downtown Nashville). One day as I was riding home my wheel felt weird when I was going over bumps. I stopped and looked and my quick release on my front wheel had been undone while I was at work. I don't know if it was someone who did it on purpose or if it somehow just got bumped into the right way, but it was super dangerous! I could have fallen in the middle of downtown traffic.

    Ever since then I lock it up inside a parking garage or bring it up to my office if it's not a wet day. And I learned to always check them before riding away. Haha.

    Good thing my bosses are okay with a bicycle in the hallway.

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  14. While specific bike facilities and amenities in the workplace may not be necessary for someone to commute, they would sure be helpful. My building in NYC has no such facilities, but fortunately no one minds me bringing the bike in my office. Would I still bike commute if I couldn't? Yes. But given that thieves are omnipresent, this reduces by (50 weeks x 5 days x 9 hours = ) 2,250 hours per year the amount of time that my bike could be stolen or vandalized. Do I have access to a shower here? No. But I sure would like it. 8 miles one way in the summer, and now matter how slow I tell myself to go, I get sweaty. So, change of clothes and washcloth it is.

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  15. This post makes me so nostalgic for bike commuting, even to not super bike friendly jobs. In the past I've commuted 10 miles on a gorgeous forest highway, and shorter distances in heavy snow to a job with only uncovered bike racks. Funny to find that I miss it!
    Now I work from home and have a trainer set up in my room (heavy snow all around), but it's not the same. First world problems, much? Hah hah.

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  16. I hope to one day work someplace with indoor bike space. I'm currently finishing up school and at our on campus organization's office we set up four hooks on the ceiling along a wall to park our bikes 2 years ago. We like to provide safe bicycle parking for our members since several of us commute to school by bicycle. It's a 28 mile round trip for me. Coming back to a cut lock and missing bike would make my day very sour.

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  17. I guess I'm pretty lucky - my building is smack in the middle of a really nice bike trail that stretches for miles. There's also a train station a few miles away for those that take the train - and there's a shuttle to the station from our office that has bike racks, if you opt to only ride part of the way. We have indoor bike parking and showers, which also include lockers. But that also stems from the fact that I live in a very cycling oriented area and probably 25% of our work force commutes by bike - something that the employers notice and take to heart.

    That said, it wasn't something I became aware of until I had these things. My last job didn't have showers, so I just did a quick freshening up in the bathroom. Prior to that, there wasn't even bike parking.

    In related news, mt area just passed a law that states if an employee deems that there is unsafe bike parking, the employer must allow them to take the bike inside or provide safe bike parking.

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  18. Ideally, it would be great if all workplaces had indoor, secure bike parking and showers/locker rooms. I don't think that not having these things makes an employer bike un-friendly, necessarily - I think that almost comes more from attitude. There are certainly some places where employees are discouraged, either actively or passively, from cycling.

    You are fortunate to never have needed to think about needing more than a pole to lock your bike to. You had a relatively short, flat commute in a relatively mild climate, and did not face a major theft risk. Many bike commuters don't share these luxuries.

    In some cities with high rates of theft, like NY and SF, not having indoor parking can make commuting by bicycle unfeasible. In cities with hotter climates, even short commutes can leave the rider drenched in sweat, and if your workplace demands a certain standard of appearance, this makes it very difficult to commute by bicycle if no showers are available. Lack of showers can also be a major deterrent for people who would have longer or hillier bicycle commutes. Sure, you can try to wear clothing that hides sweat or mop yourself off with paper towels in the bathroom. But in a more image-conscious line of work, this might not be enough.

    A truly bicycle friendly workplace would remove as many of the barriers to commuting as possible.

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  19. It is sad to see a cyclist say that they do not want special treatment. Although many fixate on infrastructure, I believe that yurp has such high mode-share for active (and public) transport because driving SOVs is disincentived.

    For example, I typically earn ~$600-700 a year due to incentives directly tied to bike commuting. I believe that these incentives and penalty rates for SOV parking are the main reason many thousands of fellow employees commute by bike on a regular basis. I would love to see this become national policy.

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  20. I agree, my biggest necessity--the deal breaker in many cases--is a safe route. If I have that, I'm can otherwise adapt.

    Although living in San Antonio as I do, I really appreciate on-site showers!

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    1. Agreed. My office has its own gym with showers and there are a couple of small bike racks indoors as well. To me that's bike-friendly enough but I still wouldn't commute by bike. My commute is 22 miles and 22 miles is a little too long. The bike path near my house ends after about 10 miles, which means 12 miles or so on heavily trafficked Rte. 202. I wish I could commute by bike but it isn't really feasible.

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  21. It's all fun to have a discussion, but our culture should really be looking at places that have made bicycle transport actually work, to the point of being preferable to cars. I have personal experience in Amsterdam, and have seen video of Copenhagen. Washington D.C. has the barebones in place. Why not start with proven success, and encourage our governors to look at Amsterdam (for example) as a model, at least in urban areas (especially in the concentrated metropoli on the coasts).

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  22. For those who bike to jobs in office settings is there a stigma associated with riding, or parking a bike in your office? Are you viewed differently by bosses/colleagues? I you choose not to use a car, does that alienate you from others when socializing? Bike culture is interesting and some office cultures seem to clash with those who choose to ride--at least in my experience. So, for me, attitudes make a work place bike friendly more than parking or showers.....Though those certainly matter w/ regard to practical wish lists.

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    1. One of my coworkers admitted to me that he "finally understood me" (i.e. me and my bike) when he went to Belgium on business and saw how a bikeculture actually works.
      On the other hand, I don't think "bike vs. office culture" is necessarily a concern. We did a SurveyMonkey at my workplace. Two biggest reasons (each with about 40%) the respondants gave for not biking to work were concerns about road safety and lack of showers. Both are legislative answers. There we no concerns reported about perceived wierdness etc...(but that could easily be the sampling error I suspect it is).

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    2. No issues at work. I get to work earlier than most, leave respectably late, and take as much work home as my colleagues. Co-workers may drop the occassional snark, but the people who approve my salary could care less.

      Social life is another issue. Single and now in my early 40s being bike only has its challenges. True or not, here in the Midwest (Chicago area at least) there is a nagging stigma that a male my age who doesn't drive must have lost his license following multiple DUIs.

      While I see a lot of couples and groups of friends in the younger generation happily bike only. Recreational cycling is becoming more popular among my age group but most remain unable to grasp being without a car altogether.

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    3. Ime the corporate policy may say " sure, ride your bike!" but sometimes riding counts against. Best to have a good nose for contradiction.

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    4. In my environment (small state university in rural Minnesota), people seem more impressed (especially in the winter) and pleased than anything else. I'm lucky to be able to keep my bike in my office or in a back storeroom, and all I need to do most of the time is a quick change when I arrive.

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    5. In my world of academics it's no problem to cycle to work and use the showers but in my wife's corporate world it was frowned upon to cycle to work and, especially, to put the bike in her office. In some worlds wealth and prosperity mean associating oneself with 'top of the line' lifestyle objects of which a bicycle is not one. It's sad.

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    6. I have to disagree a little on this. It seems to me the wealthier lot in my world are often the ones driving the beaters. They tend to hold on to their money and spend it where it counts. Oh and having a Van Nicholas bike sitting in your office is hardly saying your poor. It more likely says you have expensive imported European taste and like riding a bike.

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    7. I worked for small organizations (the largest had about 400 employees) in a state where people tend to be culturally mellow, and the only reaction I found to my cycle commuting was "wow, you ride 8 miles???!!!" (My longest commute was 15 miles one way). I also managed to have my own office at each place; in fact, at one place, they gave me a second, spare office for my bike stuff. Another place had a little closet built in to my office for clothing.

      Once or twice other employees almost decided to imitate me and ride themselves (they never got around to it).

      Now that I work for myself things are a lot more difficult (juuust kidding).

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  23. The only thing I would really expect an employer to provide for me is a safe place to park my bike. My commuter bike is to me what other people's cars are to them. No one wants to have to empty everything out of their trunk, remove the car radio and anything else someone might want to steal, and bring it all into their office with them every day, and worry about how many dents and scratches and sliced tires they're going to find when want to go home (although there are some workplaces like that). The same way, I ought to be able to dump junk into my pannier and leave it there when I'm at work, along with my lights and tools and whatever other paraphernalia I feel like dragging around. A bike takes up a lot less space than a car, so unless they expect everyone to arrive by public transit or by cab, it's a completely reasonable expectation.

    I would never demand or expect a shower, but more than that, I'd object to the expectation that I should have to shower when I got to work. There's a limit to how much of my day I would be willing to spend getting to and from work, and if I was expected to shower when I got there, the amount of time it takes to shower would count toward that total for all practical purposes. I should be able to hop onto my vehicle, get where I'm going, and hop off and be done with it just like everyone else.
    But much as I'm perfectly capable of making a quick change into nice performance clothes in the bathroom after riding to the venue, I'd totally chafe at any job that expected me to be dressed up all the time anyway.

    Obviously I want a nice ride to work, but that's not my employer's responsibility. However, since my lifestyle has always revolved around cycling for transportation, it would certainly affect where I'd choose to live and work.

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    1. Hi Emily, I understand the sentiment that says "I would never demand or expect a shower" and feel the same way in many cases, but there are jobs where the expectations from the employer go so far that they need some perspective.

      One line from an employee handbook I'll never forget, "Maintenance workers will remain on site in the event of snow until the snow stops and all surfaces are clear". It was a ski resort and that sometimes meant sleeping in empty(uncleaned) guestrooms and eating the "Continental Breakfast" leftovers for a couple of days.Ugh.

      I also worked as a Field tech/Troubleshooter for an Engineering firm where I was expected to go anywhere, anytime for as long as it took with 2 hours notice unless I was on my scheduled vacation. That might mean going to work some Monday morning thinking you would be home for dinner at 6 but finding yourself 300 miles away at midnight standing in line at Wal-Mart buying clean socks and underwear to last till Thursday.

      Those kinda' places OWE you a freakin' bike rack and a shower for what they ask at the wages they pay. It's also one way you can tell if you're a Human or a Mule to them.

      Spindizzy

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  24. When I commuted by bike, the rides there were mostly off road so were quite pleasant and of varying distances, some of which required a change of cloths and some didn't. There were no shower facilities so I would just sponge down in the washroom and that worked fine. If I had my own office I was able to store the bike in there but one place had an open plan office and they made a fuss about where it could be stored, eventually settling on a storeroom. Funnily enough they all thought I was "superfit" - their term- for riding, in one case, only 25 minutes each way of pretty slow flat riding. I was always the only one commuting by bike to those workplaces though, and was definitely perceived as eccentrics for doing it.

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  25. Cycling (I am flexible) PeppyFebruary 1, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    I don't understand the human obsession with showers. I just lick myself clean several times a day.

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    1. And you wonder why you are unemployed?..

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  26. I'm surprised by how much people expect, or when I read articles about bike commuting with workplaces that have showers and such. Safe parking would be my only worry, an unsafe bike route might put me off now, but didn't in the past. Some cities have safe bike parking services that are indoors, secure and the like, while some parking lot buildings will have a little feeble section for bikes.
    As for showers, sheesh, unless you are going really really far and pushing like mad, no need for that. At most, a washroom facility will do. Sweaty back and torso can be wiped down, fresh top put on. If there are private washrooms you could do the old fashioned 'stand up' bath of olden days. People can either have clothes at work, or bring with them in the panniers. I'd say most cyclists have adapted their wardrobe accordingly.
    The nicest wish in a bike friendly workplace might be the absence of teasing, ribbing and incredulity that a mere human can bike to work.

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    1. Showers: I agree that showers would be an annoying complication, both for the rider and for the employer. I sweat heavily, but even I can remain presentable if I start out with a shower before I leave and wash my cycling tops regularly. At the terminus end, I found that a roll of paper towels and a spritzer bottle of rubbing alcohol took care of any residual cleanup.

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  27. I have been lucky working for the USAF now 18 years. I have a round trip commute of 20 miles. I always bring my bike right into my office and park it against a wall. No showers but who needs them. In my eye anyone
    who muscles 20 miles a day deserves to smell a little. I always leave my uniforms at work.

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  28. In the past I've worked for a company with a very pro-cycling culture, including secure parking, lockers and showers. I lived very close to the office, so usually didn't need the showers, but it was very much appreciated and popular wth staff.

    Now I'm working for a large university, and the lack of a cycling policy is really strange. Although staff are spread out across campus, it doesn't seem that there has been any effort to consider things like parking or changing facilities, and given the number of students it can be tough to find an on-street bike rack space. In the department I work in, the office manager has even gone so far as to have signs saying 'bikes locked here will be removed' attached to the railings outside! My suggestion that maybe that indicated a need for more bike racks was not well met...

    In my case, as the organisation I work for is both a large employer and responsible for thousands of students, I think the role they could play is different than many businesses. They are well-placed to lobby local government for better bike lanes for students and staff getting to college, and getting involved with planning consultations that will affect us. I'll be trying to (discreetly)encourage that as much as I can!

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  29. Before I retired, my workplace was easy about my bringing a bike inside and leaning it against the wall in my office. There were two other people who sometimes commuted and one locked their bike to the stairwell in the lobby and another took theirs upstairs to their office. No showers but I didn't travel that far.

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  30. Location and bike-friendly roads are all I really look for in an employer. working in an industrial environment helps that we are provided showers and uniforms but when I go to our corporate locations they have wall bike racks in the parking garage. People pay $22/day to park cars there and the free bike parking makes me feel like I'm getting away with something.

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  31. 13+ miles one way for me from the suburbs into Providence, RI. Having 9 miles or so on a beautiful bike path has made ALL the difference. The remaining miles are a mix of bike lanes and shared roads. Not too bad. When the bike path has snow and ice, I don't ride. I've done the commute on main roads but it's just too stressful. If it's not fun, I don't do it. For me, a safe and enjoyable route is key. At work we have a bike rack which is at the front door and under cover. It's a hospital so lots of people around which I hope translates into "my bike is safe". I'm very lucky to have a single person shower across the hall from my office. As an RN my work involves being "close and personal" so a shower is pretty important. The most interesting thing is how coworkers react to riding. Everything from god-like admiration to snide, but friendly, comments about my "midlife crisis". At 54, I hope this is midlife for me! "You are SO Green. You must be saving SOOO much money. You must be SOOO healthy...." All true but the bottom line is: Riding my bike is fun and the best part is riding home. It's a great way to end any day!

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  32. A safe place to stow a bicycle for the day is key. My commuter is decently expensive and I'm loath to leave it outside all day and lose it or parts of it so that is my primary concern. A decent commute is assumed - safe roads and a distance that you can manage in the time you can allocate to your commute. A shower would be nice but that would have to count as part of the time allocated for the commute.

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  33. I have a safe place to store my bike and get changed in the toilets so no complaints. There are showers as well, should I or any of the other cyclists need them. One thing that helped us cyclists get better cycling facilities was selling the benefits to our employer - less car parking required, healthier employees less likely to be off I'll etc. I suppose the message is that if you want something, explain why it's good for our employer as well.

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  34. It's very timely that you should mention this. Just last week, the Toronto Star published an article (http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2013/01/29/cycling_in_the_city_toronto_employers_peddle_incentives_to_bike_to_work.html) discussing a variety of financial incentives that certain employers are offering in Toronto and Edmonton.

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