Workplaces are not equipped for the great COVID 19 tour de lockdown
Bike to work? Where are you going to keep it? Many workplaces are not equipped with bike storage for staff.
Businesses aren’t prepared for workers who obey official advice to avoid public transport and to cycle to work instead.
Increasing numbers of people are set to take to two wheels to get to their workplace, but many offices and industrial units simply can’t or won’t provide storage space, a health and safety consultancy says.
As commuters saddle up, UK-based health and safety experts Protecting.co.uk warn that many businesses are not prepared for the majority of workers to arrive by bike.
“I’ve definitely noticed loads more people cycling on the way to work, everyone is kitted out like the next Lance Armstrong,” says Mark Hall, company spokesperson. “But I’ve also noticed bikes chained to every lamppost, street sign, and metal fence possible. It looks like the centre of Amsterdam everywhere you look.”
Bring back the bike shed
Bike shops up and down the UK have been reporting increased sales, and some have even completely sold out as lockdown measures ease and people splash the cash in order to avoid using packed out public transport.
But it seems that getting hold of a bike is the least of peoples’ worries, as finding somewhere to safely store their machines at work. On top of that, cyclists also demand showers and changing facilities so they don’t have to use the loos.
“City centre businesses have zero capacity for bike storage, but these are the places that are more likely to attract cyclists keen to avoid busy roads and overflowing public transport,” says Hall.
“Bosses need to do more to encourage people to cycle to work, and not just during this pandemic because it has a positive impact on the environment in the long-term too.”
With an estimated five million people expected to cycle to work following the Covid-19 lockdown, Protecting.co.uk asked commuting cyclists from all over the UK for their workplace bike storage ideas.
• Dave, Winchester: “We can fit a few in the office, but unfortunately we are the 5th floor with no lift.”
• Susan, Greater Manchester: “I’ve got one of those bikes that you can fold up and carry around. They’re great, you can just shove it under your desk for the day. A shower room would be great too.”
• Trevor, Belfast: “You know how you can rent a parking space on someone’s driveway? Why not do the same but you can leave your bike locked up behind their bins or in the shed? I’d be up for that.”
• Angela, Inverness: “Bike racks on the wall in the hallway or hang them from the ceiling and really make a feature of it. It’ll look edgy.”
• Amir, London: “Nowhere to leave your bike, and nowhere to get changed. My boss is having a laugh, isn’t he?”
Hall: There are definitely some creative ways you can store your bike at work, but if you’re really stumped then the best thing to do is to have a chat with your boss and see if there’s anything they can recommend.
Tour de lockdown
Protecting.co.uk has heard from several business owners who have been scrambling to convert car parking spaces into secure bike storage, by installing bike racks and bike sheds – but these can only house so many.
Luckily for business owners, many countries around the world boast cities full of cyclists and they’ve already come up with some innovative ideas for storage for tonnes of bikes.
Amsterdam is the bike capital of the world with more bikes than people, which has inspired some quirky storage solutions such as a mega bike parking garage which can house 12,500 bikes, and a multi-storey bike-park on a ferry.
The Netherlands are not the only ones with unique bike parking ideas, with Japan creating a futuristic underground bike parking facility called Eco Cycle, where you take your bike to ‘stations’ above ground that send your bike down through a conveyor to its designated space beneath the street.
Mark Hall: Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see something on this scale in Central London? A floating bike-park ferry or a huge underground parking facility sounds like the perfect feat of engineering to promote more people to cycle to work.
It seems that the UK has much to learn about bike storage, but with a 200% increase in the number of people using the cycle to work scheme, UK businesses will have to catch up pretty quickly so that staff can happily cycle into work.
If all else fails, instead of car-sharing, why not share a tandem bike with a colleague to work.
Then you only need to find storage for one bike.