The Bicycle-Friendly Workplace
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.