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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

View Poll Results: Tree or Light Pole?
Tree 4 10.00%
Light Pole 36 90.00%
Voters: 40. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-26-08, 07:45 PM   #1
DXchulo
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Tree or Light Pole?

I started a new job Monday. I've been driving for the last 2 days to scope things out and get used to everything. I'm sick of driving already and I'm probably going to start riding on Thursday.

The only inconvenience is that my workplace doesn't have a bike rack. Taking the bike inside is not an option. I'm not downtown and there aren't many other buildings around, so I pretty much have to park on work property somewhere. The parking lot has security cameras and is relatively small, so there really isn't anywhere for me to hide. At my last job I worked with no more than 50 people and everybody knew I rode my bike to work. I became known as "that guy who rides his bike to work" (even with parking a couple blocks away at another company's bike rack) and that was all that anyone ever seemed to want to talk about.

I'd like to avoid a similar situation at my new job if I can. It may not be completely possible, but I want to be as inconspicuous as possible. At the very least I would like to do whatever I can do to prevent any kind of confrontation for parking at an inappropriate place.

Here's a diagram of the new workplace:



My gut feeling is to lock my bike to a tree as far away from the door as possible. Some of the trees are small and I have plenty of cable if the U-lock doesn't fit. I'm not sure if they want me locking to a tree, though. Could I be accused of trying to damage a tree? Also, I assume that they own the tree-covered area, but you never know. It could be someone else's property. The only other option I have is to lock my bike to a light pole that sits in the middle of the parking lot. The problem here is that my bike would stand out like a sore thumb. I'd become "that guy" in no time flat. The good thing is that it seems like a perfectly legal thing to do.

So what do you think? Where would you park? I'm open to other suggestions, as well.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:49 PM   #2
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If they give you a problem either way tell them to get a bike rack, it's not like they cost that much. It's pretty sad that they don't already have one.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:09 PM   #3
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Have you seen how fast a chain saw can take a tree down? Security first. If people are just interested about cycling, fine. Convert them. If you are just tired of talking about it consider if you want to keep working there before you do anything about it. In these days of "at will" jobs even inquiring about a harassment complaint can land you outside the front door.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:15 PM   #4
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It almost sounds like you feel people will form a bad opinion of you if you ride to work. You probably had an experience that made you feel that way? Personally, my experience with co-workers is that at first they seem mildly interested, but after a while they just accept that I'm the guy who rides a bike to work. Sometimes they even kind of brag about me to new people.

Anyway, if being incognito is the most important thing to you, park in the trees. Or even park by a different building. But I think it's only a matter of time before somebody sees you. I would ask the security department where they think I should lock. I did that where I work. They even took me inside their office and showed me the camera coverage and helped me figure out a good location.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:36 PM   #5
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Is bike theft that much of a problem that someone would actually cut down the tree to get the bike? If they can't get the whole bike, maybe they'd rather just get parts. In any case, I'd say the light pole would be safer because it's more out in the open where people will notice if someone is messing with it. And from what you say about security, it would probably be on camera there. Plus, if you do get to be known as "the guy who rides his bike to work", which I have a feeling is unavoidable no matter what you do, then the person who observes someone else messing with your bike is more likely to know who you are and call to tip you off. (I've had people call me to tell me I left my blinkie on.)

Are you uncomfortable asking your boss what he or she would recommend, or who else you should ask to find out what would be acceptable? Generally there are people in charge of the facilities who will probably eventually get in on the discussion one way or the other anyway. Might as well start off the relationship on the right foot by asking their preference.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:53 PM   #6
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I would ask about a bike rack. Take pride in being the "that weird guy who rides his bike"
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Old 02-26-08, 09:12 PM   #7
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I would ask about a bike rack. Take pride in being the "that weird guy who rides his bike"
+1. My thought exactly.

Incidentally, my bike lives in a small, little-used tea-room on the seventh floor of my office building. I asked our company infrastructure manager where the best and most secure place would be to park it, and she said to put it there. *shrugs* Who am I to argue? The bike's inside and out of the weather. The lift won't open on the seventh floor without an employee's security pass. There's a camera in the hall right outside the door to the tearoom. Perfect.

My point being that you don't know what sort of bike-park your employer can provide you until you ask them.
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Old 02-26-08, 09:16 PM   #8
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Light pole. Convenience is everything.

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Old 02-26-08, 09:28 PM   #9
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I agree...take pride in being 'THAT GUY'. Enjoy it and you never know, you may just convert someone!!!
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Old 02-26-08, 09:34 PM   #10
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I was 'that guy who rides his bike' even before I got my job!! At my second interview they asked if I rode my bike... I said yes. They asked about a car, which I don't have. Then we joked about getting me a bike trailer so I could haul stuff to customer sites.

I'll probably be getting a vehicle (A motorcycle!) to get to customer sites faster later on... mainly because it would result in higher pay for me.

In the mean time, my bike is parked in the covered parking area reserved for the higher ups at the big company upstairs from us... Works for me!
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Old 02-26-08, 09:35 PM   #11
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some people do cut down trees to which bikes are locked to... but they're usually the younger ones.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:37 PM   #12
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Tell them. They should know why there's a random bike parked on their property. Maybe they'll let you store in your office/cubicle.
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Old 02-27-08, 02:56 AM   #13
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The Distribution Center that I work at has two entrances..... main employee entrance (with a bike rack) and the truck entrance. I of course go in the truck entrance instead of walk the 3/4 mile to it from the front entrance. Of course I'm the only bike rider back there. BUT, I don't need to lock it up since I get to take it inside the security fence and park out of sight of all that don't know where to look (between a large transformer and the pump house). Only the regulars know about it..... course I do get some pissed off truck drivers on occasion..... how'd I pass them?

p.s. I AM a truck driver
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Old 02-27-08, 03:00 AM   #14
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Light pole as it is much more secure.

Why does it bother you that people comment on your commuting?
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Old 02-27-08, 05:00 AM   #15
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The lightpole/gravel can't possibly block any parking spots (especially handicap spots) or paths right? If parking your bike won't cause any problems that would probably be the best place unless you want to actually ask Security, HR or your Boss where to park.
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Old 02-27-08, 10:07 AM   #16
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Ask the building manager.

When I worked for the big, purple dinosaur, I asked if I could lock my bike to a bench, outside the back door. To my surprise, the building manager said, "I'm afraid someone will mess with it, out there. Can you park it by your desk?"
I got all excited, "Yes mam! That's actually where I'd prefer to put it!"
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Old 02-27-08, 10:27 AM   #17
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I'd approach the boss very nicely and ask were he or she thinks it would be best to lockup you bike first.
Later down the line they may consider getting a bike rack, and some other employes may start riding also, they may have been thinking about it but never had a place to lock it as you are experiencing, you mat start something.
I ride my bike in everyday now a coworker rides at least 2-3 day of the week we kept them and others are starting to consider riding in also. After a while the boss saw just how clean I keep my bike and started to let me keep it inside the office in the corner. At some point I think he will get a bike rack.
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Old 02-27-08, 10:39 AM   #18
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I'd approach the boss very nicely and ask were he or she thinks it would be best to lockup you bike first.
Later down the line they may consider getting a bike rack, and some other employes may start riding also, they may have been thinking about it but never had a place to lock it as you are experiencing, you mat start something.
I ride my bike in everyday now a coworker rides at least 2-3 day of the week we kept them and others are starting to consider riding in also. After a while the boss saw just how clean I keep my bike and started to let me keep it inside the office in the corner. At some point I think he will get a bike rack.
Agreed. Check with your boss, owner or building manager to find the most acceptable place, you may be surprised by their willingness to accommodate your needs. My boss and I both commute and the owner of our company let's us stash our bikes in a storage closet in the office even though bikes aren't allowed in the building. We now have several people that are going to start commuting via Bike when the weather turns and are in the process of persuading the building manager to allow bike storage in our entry area.

Take pride in being a bike commuter and it may rub off on others.
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Old 02-27-08, 11:31 AM   #19
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I was wondering what this thread was about. I thought maybe you'd run into something and were trying to figure out what it was. I was going to suggest looking for bark embedded in your forehead.

I sympathize with you not wanting to resume your identity as "the bike guy," and, to be honest, I don't know that it really serves the purpose of bike commuter advocacy to be seen as a lone oddball for riding your bike to work. But it certainly doesn't serve cycling advocacy to hide your biking habits, either, and if you're going to be seen hiding your bike, that might draw more attention to you. I wouldn't really consider the trees unless: a) you felt it was really just as secure as the light pole ; b) you felt that you wouldn't be seen stashing your bike in the trees ; and c) you really felt that you'd be able to keep you cycling "on the down low."

I would favour simply parking your bike in the safest place, which, barring other options from your employer, sounds like the light pole, and down-playing your biking when it comes up if you don't want it to be the one thing people know about you. Say that you bike, say it like it's not a big deal, and change the subject. Maybe ask them about their commute to make it a conversation not about how weird it is that you bike to work, but about how you all have find your best route to work. Hopefully people will not focus on it if it doesn't generate any useful conversations. Plus, seeing someone that's biking but not making a big deal of it might be better cycling advocacy. If you don't dwell on it, it might appear that it's just one more perfectly valid method of getting to work (which of course it is), and others might find it worth giving a try. Then you wouldn't be the lone "bike guy" at work.
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Old 02-27-08, 11:53 AM   #20
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I would say lightpole.... if you lock to a tree and the area gets landscaped (mowed around, etc)... you are looking to tick off a underpaid gardner who wields a gas powered lawn trimmer.
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Old 02-27-08, 12:18 PM   #21
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If they give you a problem either way tell them to get a bike rack, it's not like they cost that much. It's pretty sad that they don't already have one.
The company I currently work for has a pair of 4-story office buildings, something like 2000 employees in total surrounded by acres of parking lots and some covered spots for the managers. For bicycles, they have one lone rack with room for perhaps 6 bikes - next to the designated smoking area. It's not like Phoenix has unreasonable weather for cycling either, if I didn't work from home all the time anyway and have to leave my bike in the smokers area, I'd probably be able to ride to work at least 4-6 months of the year. I think a lot of employers just don't put any effort into supporting cycling.
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Old 02-28-08, 10:20 AM   #22
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What's wrong with the rack being next to the smoking area? I would be glad they have a bike rack at all, and putting it near a location where there's always someone to watch it is even better.

Or are you worried about the smokers somehow harming your bike?
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Old 02-28-08, 10:23 AM   #23
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Be considerate and use the lightpole so the bike will not be in the way if someone wants to hug the tree.
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Old 02-28-08, 10:31 AM   #24
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One other thing you might consider is if they are willing to install a bike rack I might even offer to pay for half the cost of a bike rack if they would install it here are some racks http://www.bikerackshops.com/groupoutdoorracks.html
I also wouldn't lock my bike to a tree because the landscapers need to get to it and if your not around to move it I'm sure they won't treat it like I'd like.
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Old 02-28-08, 02:10 PM   #25
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Once I locked my bike to a tree here in phila, and I got this little placard attached to my bike that said:

"Bikes are environmentally friendly
but bike locks choke trees
Please us the provided metal poles."


I'm not sure if there's any truth to that, but I thought it was funny.
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