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Commuting and Workplace Wellness

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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: How are you recieved at work as a bike-commuter
Very well - Coworkers encourage me to ride, and my work has plenty of indoor/covered bike storage
41
30.37%
Well - Coworkers appreciate my bike-commuting, and my work has limited indoor/covered bike storage
34
25.19%
Moderately Well - Coworkers are somewhat indifferent, and office has some storage in the building
24
17.78%
Average - Coworkers are indifferent and my workplace has outdoor bike racks
30
22.22%
Moderately poor - Coworkers are indifferent and my workplace is near public bike racks
1
0.74%
Poor - Coworkers are mildly critical of my bike-commuting and there is access to public bike racks
2
1.48%
Very Poor - My coworkers are critical of my bike-commuting and there is no access to bike racks
3
2.22%
Voters: 135. You may not vote on this poll

Commuting and Workplace Wellness

Old 01-10-15, 07:02 PM
  #76  
Bug Shield
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I voted well. We have an near-empty outdoor bike rack that I have never used. My bike stays in my office. We have shower facilities and can take a .5-hour fitness break on the clock.

Last edited by Bug Shield; 01-18-15 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 01-10-15, 08:55 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by sam21fire View Post
On a similar (but a bit off topic) note, the military has been pushing hard to reduce/eliminate tobacco use among the troops but when the SecDef proposed banning tobacco sales on base the TB lobby raised a royal fit and got the proposal quashed.
As an Active Duty member of the Coast Guard, I can tell you that it is sad how much higher the smoking rate is with servicemembers than with the civilian population. I can only imagine how pissed one of those "Old Guard" sailors would be if they stumbled off the boat over to the Exchange to buy smokes/dip and find that they are not allowed to sell it on base anymore. Yes, I am specifically calling out about 1/3 of the senior enlisted by saying that, but they are the ones buying tobacco on base... other than the fresh out of boot camp 18 year olds who take up smoking because their "cool chief" smokes too.


Rant aside, I ranked my specific workplace as Very Well on the poll. My office building on base has outdoor bike racks, and a large area under an indoor stairwell to park bikes. The indoor location does not have a "rack" per se, but several people in the office park our bikes there, and no one has mentioned that we shouldn't. My office also has a large locker room, and everyone has a full size locker - like the tall ones in schools. We have showers and changing areas. My co-workers and supervisors are all supportive of bike commuting.

My Command requires that we spend an hour three days a week doing a "fitness" activity, which for the majority of my unit means going to the gym on base. I was granted permission to go for a bike ride, provided that I can verify that I was riding my bike and not skipping the workout and going straight home.

When I retire from the CG, I know I am going to miss the small perks of being in the military.

Last edited by SpeedyStein; 01-10-15 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 01-11-15, 09:42 AM
  #78  
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I voted "Very well" I couldn't ask for a better situation. Im allowed to keep my bike in the break room, we have showers and lockers, even though I'm 300 lbs (and falling) I still try to commute as much as I can, it's a 36 mile rt, when the CEO visits he always asks how much I've lost and if I feel better. It's a very positive experience.
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Old 01-11-15, 10:15 AM
  #79  
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I'm that guy who my coworkers see duck walking in bike shoes and wearing spandex through the lobby every day and I am treated very well. Have a secure bike locker right outside my office building and we have a full locker room with showers in the basement for commuters.

Other benefit is my coworkers and company executives know I commute daily so not uncommon for me to be in a late afternoon meeting and Director will make sure to take care of any business with me first so I can get out and on my way home before it gets too dark.

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Old 01-11-15, 10:37 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by SpeedyStein View Post
As an Active Duty member of the Coast Guard, I can tell you that it is sad how much higher the smoking rate is with servicemembers than with the civilian population. I can only imagine how pissed one of those "Old Guard" sailors would be if they stumbled off the boat over to the Exchange to buy smokes/dip and find that they are not allowed to sell it on base anymore. Yes, I am specifically calling out about 1/3 of the senior enlisted by saying that, but they are the ones buying tobacco on base... other than the fresh out of boot camp 18 year olds who take up smoking because their "cool chief" smokes too.
The AO's at my previous job all chewed (you can imagine smoking is banned). Same deal with the civilians doing similar work, both there and at my current place. Sometimes an engineer that smokes will pick up the chew from the wage-grades. One at my prior job one of them got a stern talking-to for bringing his spit cut to meetings.

I never wanted to smoke and didn't understand the desire til I went to college somewhere cold. Then I sort of envied the guys tromping to class through the snow with a cigarette. I'm glad I never picked it up.
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Old 01-11-15, 01:08 PM
  #81  
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My only complaint where I work is the rack is semi covered. We have 2 huge parking garages and an elevator, they have the bike racks outside under an overhang and all it takes is a little bit of wind and the bike is sitting in the weather. I have asked to have the rack moved into the garage completely out of the weather near the motorcycle parking which typically goes unused, but as of yet, I have not gotten a reply back. On the plus side...they rack is more visible and might hinder theft attempts or vandalism. My employer has a gym with lockers and showers, so that is a nice plus. Worth the $10 a month in the summer time when the humidity is off the chart in the morning.
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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.
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Old 01-11-15, 02:43 PM
  #82  
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I'm treated reasonably well. But it's more 'benign neglect' than approval. If anyone is wondering if more of us should be bicycle commuting, then they're not making it obvious to me. And no one really joins me valuntarily. Though there have been a few folks over the years who were pretty decent fair-weather bike commuters. Not for years on end like me. But they rode a bit. I can think of two of them off-hand. One's not around anymore. I'm not sure of the other. But I haven't see him or his bike in a while.

I have pretty good facilities available to me for storing my bike and for hanging up my sweaty clothes to dry out. But it's because of my job. Some people in some jobs might have access to similar spots. But most employees would not have much in the way of facilities.

There are a handful of employees who do have access to these 'secure' areas. But only as a pass-through. Unlike me they have no reason to actually do anything there. Occasionally I'll get wind of the fact that one of them is complaining about my stuff. The bigwigs they complain to, to their credit, have so far ignored these complaints and have left me alone. I've been around long enough now that I feel pretty sure that they'll never give me trouble over this. (Unless some new guy with a chip on his shoulder shows up, I suppose.)

I only bring my bike inside in the very worst weather. That's because I just know that one of the busybodies will complain that this would be a 'bottle-neck" in an emergency. I do have at my disposal an area that is surrounded by four walls and is behind locked doors. But it's open to the sky. I have a key. So do just a few other people. And one of the busybodies once complained about my bike being a bottle-neck there. Nothing ever came of that. Upper management sided with me.

Such small-minded complaints. We're talking about segregated areas here. Even in an emergency there won't be any foot traffic there. Even if there were a fire right where my bike was parked, the bike would be only one of many obstructions for the fire fighters. They'd just kick everything out of their way. It wouldn't even occur to them to wonder why a bicycle is sitting there. But then jerks can always find a reason to be a jerk, can't they?

Most of my fellow employees are mildly admiring once they realize that I'm doing it voluntarily and actually could drive a car to work if I chose to. But that wears off. Every now and then I'll detect a whiff of snideness or mocking attitude on the part of someone new. But that goes away when they perceive that most of the people around think pretty highly of me.

Many who've known me for a long time will say something like, "I hope you didn't ride that bike today" when the weather's really bad. But they have a feeling that I did. They have a good natured laugh when I confirm.

One guy who knew me quite well (we worked together) turned around and saw me coming in on a very cold and snowy day. In my winter get-up I look about like a skier or a snowboarder. A big grin appeared on his face. He might have been close to laughing. He said, "Did you have a nice flight?"

Another guy, virtually identical situation, said, "What'd you do? Parachute in?"

But that sort of stuff is in fun, of course. I'm fine with that.

Fellow employees and management are not hostile. But management doesn't seem inclined to provide any support. And, other than a very few who've made some attempt, no one considers doing the same thing.

Even though it would benefit them so much. It's hard to figure.
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Old 01-13-15, 03:26 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I work for a small company (on-line publication) in a small office building (maybe 60 people in the building); I bike commute daily and have good support, if not some good-natured ribbing (like yesterday riding my fatbike to work when it was -12F). The building was sold last year and the new building owners added an indoor rack to encourage their employees to bike.

Back in 2009 I biked to work less often to a much larger industrial company (roughly 1,000 employees), they were very supportive with bike rack right outside the door leading to the locker rooms. The worst issue, the racks could fill up on a nice day. I never had any issues with management or co-workers.

To the OP comment, my wife works for a VERY large health insurance company, they basically discourage bike commuting. No place to change, no place to lock up a bike, not allowed to bring a bike into the building. She is not working in a leased building, I think the situation would be better in the corporate owned buildings.

What is WRONG with health insurance companies????
I find that particularly odd as they foist "wellness programs" onto other companies and try and encourage their employees to be more active, including cycling!

I didn't select an option in the poll as mine didn't seem to fit the choices exactly:

* cage in the parking garage for our bikes
* shower and locker room, albeit old, run down, and a neglected after-thought
* theoretically towels available in the locker room, but often this gets neglected
* co-workers are not negative. I wouldn't say they exactly encourage me though.
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Old 01-15-15, 02:29 PM
  #84  
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I lost a lot of weight couple of years ago, down to 170lbs. A fellow rider commented that I looked sick and looked better at 200lbs. I intend on staying below 170lbs, regardless of what people say
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Old 01-15-15, 04:09 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by ussprinceton View Post
I lost a lot of weight couple of years ago, down to 170lbs. A fellow rider commented that I looked sick and looked better at 200lbs. I intend on staying below 170lbs, regardless of what people say
I got that once too.
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Old 01-16-15, 02:26 AM
  #86  
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I voted average. I work at a non-profit health clinic & cannot bring my bike in the building. No showers. I have to drive to offsite/community meetings a few times a month & that means I drive those days. I hate it when it's rainy for most of the week & then nice weather on the day an offsite meeting is scheduled...
Some coworkers are supportive or curious about my biking. Most are indifferent. Some people express concern for my safety, especially when I ride home after dark in winter.
The thing that gets me is that I work in a very large building with many environmental non-profits. There is a huge parking lot and everyone drives in solo. No carpools or anything. It's been 5 years & I am the only person who bikes in. We are in an area with many cyclists and good bike routes.
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Old 01-16-15, 05:35 AM
  #87  
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The trouble here is your AND statement. I would have selected this:
Well - Coworkers appreciate my bike-commuting, and my work has limited indoor/covered bike storage
However, while my cow-0rkers are very supportive (not that they would do it themselves) the storage is a rack outside. That being said, the first time it rained, with my bike outside, the custodian put a tarp over my bike. I told him not to bother the next time.

I suppose that I could bring it in, today I will bring my trailer in. However, in truth I want people to see it so that they can see that it is a real, viable, transportation alternative (and the time I had it in my classroom the students kept tring to play with it and I was worried it would fall on one of them).
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Old 01-16-15, 08:44 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by 1242Vintage View Post
I'm that guy who my coworkers see duck walking in bike shoes and wearing spandex through the lobby every day and I am treated very well. Have a secure bike locker right outside my office building and we have a full locker room with showers in the basement for commuters.

Other benefit is my coworkers and company executives know I commute daily so not uncommon for me to be in a late afternoon meeting and Director will make sure to take care of any business with me first so I can get out and on my way home before it gets too dark.
This is a huge thing for me. Typical office hours are 8:30-5:30 for my work, but I have a lot of work from the UK, so I get in at 7:30 and leave at 5:00. Sometimes, people will wait until 4:45 to send me something that needs to be edited and sent out that day, leaving my commute starting between 5:00 and 5:30, one of the most congested times to leave the city. I have to cross a very congested bridge (both for cyclists and cars) leaving Boston, and I personally think it's extremely dangerous to bike even in the day light, let alone at night, when people are frustrated in their cars on their own commutes home.
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Old 01-16-15, 10:32 AM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by halcyon100 View Post
I voted average. I work at a non-profit health clinic & cannot bring my bike in the building. No showers. I have to drive to offsite/community meetings a few times a month & that means I drive those days. I hate it when it's rainy for most of the week & then nice weather on the day an offsite meeting is scheduled...
Some coworkers are supportive or curious about my biking. Most are indifferent. Some people express concern for my safety, especially when I ride home after dark in winter.
The thing that gets me is that I work in a very large building with many environmental non-profits. There is a huge parking lot and everyone drives in solo. No carpools or anything. It's been 5 years & I am the only person who bikes in. We are in an area with many cyclists and good bike routes.
I work for an environmental non-profit. Taking alternative forms of transportation is definitely encouraged. You can get bus passes for free. What I do find a little surprising though is that the organization also subsidizes or completely covers parking costs for a significant number of employees. Some people do need to drive in order to do their work and in those cases it makes sense. Others get parking paid for as a perk and that I think that sends a bad message.
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Old 01-16-15, 10:55 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I work for an environmental non-profit. Taking alternative forms of transportation is definitely encouraged. You can get bus passes for free. What I do find a little surprising though is that the organization also subsidizes or completely covers parking costs for a significant number of employees. Some people do need to drive in order to do their work and in those cases it makes sense. Others get parking paid for as a perk and that I think that sends a bad message.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Because I don't need a parking card, I get about a $300 reimbursement for that corporate perk, and I park about 100 feet from my desk.
Well, I hope you at least get a close convenient parking spot for your bike.
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Old 01-16-15, 11:06 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Well, I hope you at least get a close convenient parking spot for your bike.
We have vertical racks in the suite and a bike room in the basement. I can also bring a bike into my office but don't want it dripping all over everything in the winter.

In lieu of free parking, I opted to get a "GO" card instead which lets me take a metro bus or train any where at any time. I'm sure it doesn't cost them as much as the parking, but I'm not complaining and it comes in handy.
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Old 01-17-15, 05:51 PM
  #92  
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I voted very well. I work for a minicipality. There are about 20 people in our building. Only two of us commute on our bikes. We park our bikes in a covered area in the front part of the building out of the weather. No need to lock the bikes the area is secure.

We have showers and lockers. There is some incentive for alternative transportation. I have won free movie tickets three times in the last year or so. Coworkers are pretty supportive of my bicycle commuting. Most are impressed that I ride in shorts every day, and they think it is such a long commute (~20 miles rt).

Living in the desert, I get to ride on dry pavement almost everyday. Kudos to all you who brave real winter conditions. It does get a bit warm in the summer here though.
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Old 01-17-15, 07:57 PM
  #93  
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Average here. Nobody cares. There's 3 gyms within a mile of work, most of us are college students. Showing up with hair wet from a post workout shower is super common, as is coming to work in workout clothes and going to the gym afterwards.

Bike rack outside. 0-4 bikes on it(besides mine) isn't unusual. A couple of managers ride a couple times a week, and keep their bikes in their office.

My personal manager has noted that my mental health and quality of work has improved since I started riding, so he's super supportive. I have some FMLA/disability exceptions going on, and riding has made me a bit lower maintenance, actually. So my boss/HR are pretty supportive, but on the whole, my employer is pretty indifferent if you're on time.


Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
UN F ING believable! at least schools and colleges can ban it
Lots of them do. Not even allowed in the parking lot! Or on-campus housing.

I think the 'not even in the parking lot' or not a single designated smoking area is a bit much, but whatever. I've quit not married to a smoker anymore, nor any smoker roommates/friends I see regularly, so no longer an issue.
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Old 01-18-15, 12:43 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by Fishmonger View Post
I'm a high school teacher and I've always been allowed to stash my bike behind my desk in my classroom. It is incredibly secure that way, and my students see how often I ride and in what conditions. Students and faculty alike are disappointed when I drive, so it is a good motivator to keep on pedaling. Also my principal is a triathlete so I get nothing but encouragement from him. Everyone just knows that I'm the bike guy.
+1
I teach middle school and keep my bike behind my desk. I can change in my classroom before and after school. I commute in full kit because I like to ride hard and fast, and get very sweaty. The kids and other teachers like that I ride and always notice if I don't ride. I usually ride 185 out of 190 work days.
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Old 01-29-15, 11:07 AM
  #95  
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One problem I have with "bike perception" at work is that currently most of the bikes scattered around the dark corners of the office building are rarely if ever ridden, which gives the impression to people that the bikes are a toy consuming "company storage space" and cluttering the hallways rather than a transportation device. If these bikes were visibly in use it would be an entirely different impression.
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Old 01-29-15, 12:16 PM
  #96  
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As one of the very few people who commute by bike in Turkey my colleagues generally are very impressed and like what I am doing. Even tho there are no bike parks or racks I am allowed to put my bike in car park under the building. There is a gym and showers too. So I generally come about an hour early do my daily exercise take my shower and start a fresh day.
However this is the story of the last 3 months.
On my former work place even tho I was again allowed to put my bike in a closed room in the car park there were no showers. I had to go to work by subway to not to sweat and returned back home riding. Later on tho I got a shower built in one of the basement floors. Everyone there also admired how I commute by bike in this maybe the least bike friendly city (here see for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qizi3JYOvxs) There were people who I didn't know but who knows me as "the cyclist guy"
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Old 01-29-15, 12:36 PM
  #97  
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I work for the government. I get $20 reimbursed monthly to ALL my bike purchases. My work has a gym w/shower so I just walk in, drop my stuff off and hit the showers. My bike sits right next to me in my cube. When I started biking in, I just sat it next to me and didn't ask for permission.

I have been asked to "carry" it in..lol..ok, I can track more garbage on my shoes that my tires, but ok. I also have a beach towel on the floor that I put my bike on top of to "look nice". Also, my clothes hang/dry right on the edge of my wall on hangers

Co-workers mention stuff only when it dips into the 40s or 100s and still see me riding in. They think its cool.
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Old 01-29-15, 02:07 PM
  #98  
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I am a CAD draftsman and I have been lucky enough (and strange enough for other peoples taste) to be able to ride to work and shower and leave my bike near my desk. We CAD guys seem to be the keep Portland Weird type so they expect us to be different. Our Plant GM came by and told me that he could see me for a mile the other day on his commute in his car and really appreciated the lengths that I have gone to be visible on the street. I consider that a comp. Our plant hires about 300 people and of those 7 to 8 commute. 10 to 15 ride after work when the weather is nice. We are small be we have the green light.
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Old 01-30-15, 12:25 AM
  #99  
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Originally Posted by bigredkevbot View Post
This is less of a call for advice or a rally for a cause, but more of a poll.

So I work for a small Healthcare company (around 20 people) in downtown Boston. Most of us are between 23-32 years old. And when I ride to work, I get not outright criticism, but my efforts to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle while fully employed are not taken well. My work has regularly told me that I will need to lock my bike up on the street (as in to a stop sign, there are no bike racks near our office), that I cannot come into work in my riding clothes (we share a bathroom with 6 other offices and the door does not lock, nor are there showers), or generally just being made fun of for biking to work.

Is this how other people are recieved at their work as commuters? I want to assess the general experience.
My experience is generally very positive. I've been riding to the same job for ten years, and put my bike in the storage room. Some people do question my judgement for riding a bike, but no one has questioned my right to put the bike in a safe place. Of course, it helps that both of my bosses and a couple of my co-workers also commute by bike. The only problem I've encountered is that we have more bikes than we have places to put them where they're both safe and out of the way, but we resolved that one. This is actually one of the reasons I've stayed here so long. Yes, I enjoy the job itself, but since my bike habit is accepted, I feel more accepted, and don't feel a strong urge to leave...
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Old 01-30-15, 07:40 AM
  #100  
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I work at a bookstore that is mostly outdoors, so there is no indoor parking for my bike (unless it's nasty weather). But my boss rides everyday (he lives on the property) so he is cool with it and my coworkers are very encouraging. I also use my utility trailer to deliver books to our satellite locations about a mile away, and my coworkers are understanding of the delay.

I used to work for a medical device manufacturer, and although I worked with a bunch of unhealthy people who teased me for my riding, they gave me a space to keep my bike in the warehouse.

I think it's a matter of looking at your company policies and doing as much as you can within those boundaries, if your work is not welcoming.
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