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Not So Bike Friendly Place to Work

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Not So Bike Friendly Place to Work

Old 06-06-08, 08:49 AM
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thdave
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Not So Bike Friendly Place to Work

I posted this on the electronic bulletin boad at work. I'm frustruated. I doubt it will get much response, but I hope things change.

To get an idea of the size of place I work at, it's similar to that of a smallish college. There are about 100 builldings (some are unused) and about 2500 to 3000 employees.

Here's what I wrote:

On the way to work this morning, I biked passed the "cycling friendly" award
GRC received and I've got to chuckle. That sign is inconsistent with what
the lab is doing. Given the high price of gasoline and the girth of the
typical lab employee (we're not getting any younger) it is disappointing
that we don't do more to accommodate a healthy, eco-friendly activity.

Anyone notice the blight of broken down bikes across the lab? I sometimes
have a hard time finding a spot to park my bike in a bike rack at various
buildings, seeing as how spots are always occupied by rusty bikes. Most
with flat tires and some without chains. Spider webs abound.

Once upon a time these were sturdy, functional bikes that helped us do
business across the lab. This lab is a nice place to bicycle--it is a nice
sized campus and the roads are wide enough for car and bike. But the bikes
have never been updated or replaced. It's odd, seeing as how we're pretty
good at replacing and repairing things around here.

My other issue is that the lab keeps closing locker rooms. Several years
back we closed one in building 5. Now we closed the lockers in building
301, where I used to shower. Sure, we can use the fitness center but you
can't keep a locker there. So you need to truck your wet towel and clothes
with you in your bike pannier or backpack, instead of hanging them in a
locker for the day. The reason for the closure of this locker? They need
room to put file cabinets down there.

Does anyone agree with me? Let's challenge management to be responsible and
reverse course. Fix or discard the rusty bikes. Replace them with new
bikes (get Worksman industrial type, with fenders and baskets)-purchase
several for each building. Reopen locker rooms. Let's encourage bike use,
shed some pounds and save some gallons of gasoline.

Thanks for the rant,

Dave
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Old 06-06-08, 09:31 AM
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ontheroadid
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That is a sound, calm, reasonable post, put forth in a thoughtful manner.

Which means it's doomed to fail.

Seriously, I think that's a good way to start a discussion at your workplace. Kudos to you for taking the initiative to do so.

Let us know what happens. It's important for us to share notes on stuff like this.
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Old 06-06-08, 11:21 AM
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thdave
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Originally Posted by ontheroadid View Post
That is a sound, calm, reasonable post, put forth in a thoughtful manner.

Which means it's doomed to fail.

Seriously, I think that's a good way to start a discussion at your workplace. Kudos to you for taking the initiative to do so.

Let us know what happens. It's important for us to share notes on stuff like this.
I've had a half dozen positive responses by email, but only one response on the electronic bulletin board. It is fairly critical. I wish the emailers would have posted a response, but they didn't.

Last edited by thdave; 06-06-08 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 06-06-08, 11:26 AM
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You work at Glenn? I can see why you'd want bike infrastructure there, that place is huuuuuge. Definitely not a fun walk during the peak of summer.

Good luck changing things there.
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Old 06-06-08, 11:32 AM
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I work at NASA Ames Research Center in the SF Bay area and we have some of the same issues with derelict bikes filling the racks. I see fewer and fewer NASA-owned bikes in any condition; the few that are left look pretty sad.

However, all is not lost here. The community around ARC is very pro-bicycle, and many of us bike to work. I work in a building that has showers. Bike lockers (i.e. lockers to store your bike) have been increasing in number around the base, and my division has a shack in the parking lot where bikes can be securely stored. Division management has agreed to help clear out the derelict bikes if I help by tagging them.

Good luck Dave, hope you see some results!
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Old 06-06-08, 11:41 AM
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If any of the old bikes on the bike racks are salvage, or sale-worthy, you guys should cut the locks, sell
what you can, and host a BBQ for the bike commuters. trash-into-cash = bash.
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Old 06-06-08, 11:49 AM
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thdave, I agree that it was well-written (one misspelling--past not passed. Sorry, I proofread all day at work). I thought it took just about the right tone.

I'd check to see if your area has any community bike recyclers (we have several here in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill). They'd probably be happy to take those derelict bikes off your hands. They'll refurbish the ones they can and strip the parts off the ones they can't, using the parts to refurbish other donated bikes.

I think some of the local ones here are legal non-profits (501(c).3 or however it's written), meaning your company can write off the donations as an added bonus. Or maybe work out a trade where GRC gives them the derelicts and they give GRC some refurbished bikes for people to use on-campus.
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Old 06-06-08, 11:54 AM
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Yes, I work at Glenn and it's size is comparable to Ames, which I've visited a half dozen times. Bikes help--the lab bus service is available, too, but it's a lot more fun to bike. I just ride my own bike around the lab.

FYI-the lab is secured around the perimeter so the bikes aren't locked. I don't lock my own bike while on the lab.

Great to hear how bike friendly NASA Ames is--that should make management here more willing to make changes. I'm amazed you have bike lockers with the lab security you have.

I appreciate the supportive comments and I'll let you know if this goes anywhere.
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Old 06-06-08, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chucko58 View Post
I work at NASA Ames Research Center in the SF Bay area and we have some of the same issues with derelict bikes filling the racks. I see fewer and fewer NASA-owned bikes in any condition; the few that are left look pretty sad.
Hey, I worked at NASA Ames in the late 60's early 70's and bike commuted from around El Camino Real and Mary. Any chance there is a yellow Motobecane chained up outside the PSD building (might be renamed...it's the one with the 50g centrifuge)?

Eric
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Old 06-06-08, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by thdave View Post
I wish the emailers would have posted a response, but they didn't.
I've had this problem at work. Reply back and ask them to please post electronically so that there will be more voices in the conversation. Good luck, I understand that in some work environments this is easier said than done.
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Old 06-06-08, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by thdave View Post
I've had a half dozen positive responses by email, but only one response on the electronic bulletin board. It is fairly critical. I wish the emailers would have posted a response, but they didn't.
Is it permissible to post the response here? Curious to see what they were critical of. Good Original Post by the way.
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Old 06-09-08, 08:55 AM
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Here's and update on my posting about the not-so-friendly biking problem at work:

A friend of mine spotted my posting on the bike problem at work. He's a division chief and forwarded this to upper management. Remarkably enough , they have directed several people to, and I'm paraphrasing so as to avoid any issues with unauthorized cutting and pasting of correspondences, take a look at the e-mails, discuss it, and prepare a proposal to initiate a "cycle program" which would include repair, "parking racks", and seasonal storage with all costs included; start-up and lifecycle; program funded vs lab funded. They are meeting today to develop a concept. The summary by an upper manager was that the idea has "lot's of possibilities, especially in light of our tight parking situation and the interest of the Center employees and management."

I'm not sure if their direction is the best, but I'm happy they are going to discus it and develop some sort of plan.

The dumb thing is that I'm still sure to lose my locker room just because some pack rat has 20 some file cabinets that need a frickin' home.
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Old 06-09-08, 09:08 AM
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I predicted that Lewis would go down hill when they changed the name to Glenn. I can predict the sex of your next kid for an additional 20 bucks. What's that? You didn't know you were having another kid?
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Old 06-09-08, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
I predicted that Lewis would go down hill when they changed the name to Glenn. I can predict the sex of your next kid for an additional 20 bucks. What's that? You didn't know you were having another kid?
What's this got to do with the price of chicken in Amsterdam?
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Old 06-09-08, 12:53 PM
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You have, or had, work provided bicycles, and racks? An at one time you had locker rooms? Sounds like at great place to work that just needs some updating.
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Old 06-09-08, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by thdave View Post
What's this got to do with the price of chicken in Amsterdam?
Predicting chicken futures will cost you extra.
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Old 06-09-08, 08:59 PM
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Is anyone else thinking of that first scene from Jerry McGuire
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Old 06-13-08, 07:02 AM
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I haven't heard a thing from managment about the bikes. So... I thought I'd add to the discussion I started on the website at work. I drafted this up. Any comments?

----------------------------------------------
In my opinion, key items to consider for a bike infrastructure are:

Repairing the existing bikes.

Some are not worthy of repairing but others are. The bikes are from the late 1960's, according to an employee who was hired in 1963. A few of them still operate--they are the Worksman branded bikes, which come with heavy spokes and wheels, steel fenders.

Purchase of bikes:

Purchase industrial quality bikes with good quality tires and components tnat have a coaster brake and single speed so they don't need adjustments. Buy bikes complete with fenders and baskets, so they can be functional transportation. Ensure that combined with the repaired bikes that we have several bikes available at each entrance to the high occupancy buildings, and a one or two at the other buildings.

Bike racks and protection:

Consider the condition of the existing bike racks. Buy and install awnings where possible for the most used of the bike racks, to permit outdoor bike storage. Note that no one likes to ride on wet bikes, but if a bike stored under an awning that has fenders is dry and the rain has stopped, a bike will be comfortable to ride. Plus, the bike can stay there for the winter and not be damaged. Replace racks as needed--consider new racks in the building of known bike commuters, for personal bikes brought on the lab.

A decent awning covers a bike rack outside an entrance to bldg 86. I use it when I meet with people in that bldg.

Bike lockers were recently purchased and are used at NASA Ames. These offer an enclosed area that you can put your bike into and then padlock it. These might trade well with awnings--consider these in your study. Note that 9 bike lockers can fit into one automobile's parking spot.

Re-open as many lockerooms at NASA GRC as possible. This is to encourage good fitness and bike commuting.
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