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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 01-06-15, 08:15 AM
  #1  
bigredkevbot
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Commuting and Workplace Wellness

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.
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Old 01-06-15, 08:53 AM
  #2  
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I work at a Ford dealer and my boss like the fact that I commute by bike a lot. He think it gives a greener look to the dealer and to the company so I have a parking space for my bike Inside the drive-thru area so my bike is in good sight for every one to see. Everybody I work with still think I'm crazy for doing it but I like to park my bike Inside where I can have an eye on it.
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Old 01-06-15, 09:00 AM
  #3  
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I'm lucky; I bring my bike into my office and change there. I understand your employer requiring that you leave your bike outside but I don't understand why you get a hard time coming into work with cycling clothes. It here a dress code at work?

For locking up the bike, is it possible to pay a hopefully small fee to use a parking garage? Downtown Boston is such a bike theft magnet I'd be worried about leaving my bike locked up outside.
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Old 01-06-15, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I'm lucky; I bring my bike into my office and change there. I understand your employer requiring that you leave your bike outside but I don't understand why you get a hard time coming into work with cycling clothes. It here a dress code at work?

For locking up the bike, is it possible to pay a hopefully small fee to use a parking garage? Downtown Boston is such a bike theft magnet I'd be worried about leaving my bike locked up outside.
They let me bring it in most days, but they always say "next time you won't be able to". I work in an office where most people wear khakis and a button-down or collared shirt. Granted, we don't have clients or guests coming in regularly, and I keep a pair of dress shoes in my desk to make sure my attire is appropriate for most of the work day.

A small fee for parking in Boston? I wish! There are some places to store it that charge a $200 yearly fee, but they don't gaurantee a spot. Most of them are caged enclosures inside a parking garage, and students will store their bikes there for the whole winter. My bike is at serious risk for theft, but if I do have to leave it outside, I park it right out front, across from a popular deli/lunch spot, hoping to deter thieves with high foot traffic.
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Old 01-06-15, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bigredkevbot View Post
They let me bring it in most days, but they always say "next time you won't be able to". I work in an office where most people wear khakis and a button-down or collared shirt. Granted, we don't have clients or guests coming in regularly, and I keep a pair of dress shoes in my desk to make sure my attire is appropriate for most of the work day.

A small fee for parking in Boston? I wish! There are some places to store it that charge a $200 yearly fee, but they don't gaurantee a spot. Most of them are caged enclosures inside a parking garage, and students will store their bikes there for the whole winter. My bike is at serious risk for theft, but if I do have to leave it outside, I park it right out front, across from a popular deli/lunch spot, hoping to deter thieves with high foot traffic.
Yeah parking costs a bomb in Boston; the city really should do something to help bike commuters out with parking.
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Old 01-06-15, 09:29 AM
  #6  
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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.
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Old 01-06-15, 09:45 AM
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I'm between Average and Well. My workplace has no indoor bike storage (it does have a covered outdoor rack), and my co-workers think my bike commuting is pretty cool.
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Old 01-06-15, 09:46 AM
  #8  
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Locked on the street? Ouch. Any sports clubs nearby that would have showers to use? I know at alewife and south station, there are card access bike lockers.
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Old 01-06-15, 10:02 AM
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I live in a bikey part of the world, and it's one of the reasons I chose to live here. There's a major bicycling artery that dumps itself right into the plant. We have many bike commuters among the engineers. Most people bring their bikes indoors and stash them in their cubicles or in empty cubes nearby, and the employer doesn't say boo. (This is made easier by the dry climate, probably.) My employer provides beater bikes for employees in the factory area. It has an on-plant helmet law and many locations away from the factory are off-limits to bikes, but the former is not enforced except at the gates, and the latter is for good reason.
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Old 01-06-15, 10:29 AM
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I think another important dimension is shower&locker. That is is more important to me than a parking space.
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Old 01-06-15, 10:31 AM
  #11  
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I voted "Well" since my coworkers generally approve, and I have shower facilities and a couple of extra drawers to stash clothes and shower supplies. But our bike parking is all outside, so I flirted with voting a lower option. I can't complain overall.
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Old 01-06-15, 10:34 AM
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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...

Is this how other people are recieved at their work as commuters? I want to assess the general experience.
Howdy neighbor,

I live in Kenmore Square and year-round cycle commute to Norwood (at least 14 miles one-way). I voted "very well," and in fact

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… Humbly, if Bike Forums ever had a Best Commute Award, I would be a frontrunner.
I had to defend that assertion on a Living Car Free thread, so FYA:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…an ideal destination for a cycle commuter. I bring the bike inside near my office, and have a place to hang my cycling clothes and a table fan to dry them off. For the most part I wear surgical scrubs all day so I don't necessarily have to clean off on arrival (I shower at home before the ride). I do have shower facilities though, as well as a coffee shop and cafeteria on site.

Finally, almost all my personal service needs like barber shop, dentist, dry-cleaner/tailor, supermarket and drugstore, and good take-out restaurants are all within walking distance [of work], or a short hop on the bike.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
And I cycle a nice distance of at least 14 miles through one of America’s most charming, interesting, and historic metropolises on residential and light commercial roads (and partially on a bikepath in a park) in the reverse commuter direction early in the morning, during all four (pleasant to tolerable) seasons. For training purposes, I can expand my routes to encompass popular high-level cycling outer suburbs (e.g. Dover, for the cognoscenti).
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Old 01-06-15, 11:03 AM
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I transferred work places and had to introduce our office to bicycle commuting. The first few months people in the office were A$$holes including upper management. I stuck to my guns and no one cares anymore. Interesting, there are now 6-9 bicycle commuters a day when I started there were nil, zero, zilch. They are remodeling our office spaces and they will be installing a shower and changing room along with enclosed outdoor bike rack. Encourage others to bicycle commute once a week or once a month and before you know it, you are just part of the crowd.
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Old 01-06-15, 11:11 AM
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Current workplace is similar experience in Frankfurt, Stockholm and Copenhagen.

About 30-50% of colleagues in all ride (men and women). In the summer, it's 50%, not it's about 25%.

All places had showers/gym facilities.

CPH/Frankfurt/Stockholm had standard output piles-of-bikes.

Here, in England, there's a bike locker for faculty only, which can get quite full.
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Old 01-06-15, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I think another important dimension is shower&locker. That is is more important to me than a parking space.
We have a shower in my building and there are others around the plant. There are lockers at the gym and elsewhere. I don't think cycle commuters were the target market. Some of our employees have the kind of job where you need to change.
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Old 01-06-15, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I think another important dimension is shower&locker. That is is more important to me than a parking space.
That's such a luxury that I didn't even think of it! I mean, I share a bathroom with between 20-50 other people (2 stalls, one urinal), and most other offices dont have a kitchenette, so coffee and food remnants go into the bathroom sink. It's actually really gross.

I would definitely be willing to sacrifice a shower for a proper bike/clothing storage space though, considering that I don't work up too mean of a sweat on my ride with proper layering/venting. But you're right, a shower/locker space is quite crucial to the ideal cycle-commuting situation.

@Jim if you don't mind my asking, what kind of work do you do in Kendall? Im curious if other industries have different attitudes towards biking. I was more surprised that a healthcare company was not an advocate for workplace wellness.
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Old 01-06-15, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bigredkevbot View Post
That's such a luxury that I didn't even think of it! I mean, I share a bathroom with between 20-50 other people (2 stalls, one urinal), and most other offices dont have a kitchenette, so coffee and food remnants go into the bathroom sink. It's actually really gross.

I would definitely be willing to sacrifice a shower for a proper bike/clothing storage space though, considering that I don't work up too mean of a sweat on my ride with proper layering/venting. But you're right, a shower/locker space is quite crucial to the ideal cycle-commuting situation.

@<a href="http://www.bikeforums.net/member.php?u=344" target="_blank">Jim</a> if you don't mind my asking, what kind of work do you do in Kendall? Im curious if other industries have different attitudes towards biking. I was more surprised that a healthcare company was not an advocate for workplace wellness.
I find it nuts that most offices in the Anglosphere don't have kitchens. I noticed this after moving back. The UK is quite poor compared to Germany, Sweden, Denmark with it's offerings. The best ideas come out of discussions at fika!


Space was tight in Stockholm (toughest real estate market I have ever seen) so, we put a standing shower in the far corner of the disabled bathroom and there was a queue post-lunchtime!

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Old 01-06-15, 12:22 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by thrllskr View Post
I transferred work places and had to introduce our office to bicycle commuting. The first few months people in the office were A$$holes including upper management. I stuck to my guns and no one cares anymore. Interesting, there are now 6-9 bicycle commuters a day when I started there were nil, zero, zilch. They are remodeling our office spaces and they will be installing a shower and changing room along with enclosed outdoor bike rack. Encourage others to bicycle commute once a week or once a month and before you know it, you are just part of the crowd.
What exactly did "introducing" the office to bicycle commuting and "sticking to your guns" entail?
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Old 01-06-15, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bigredkevbot View Post
...@Jim if you don't mind my asking, what kind of work do you do in Kendall? Im curious if other industries have different attitudes towards biking. I was more surprised that a healthcare company was not an advocate for workplace wellness.
See my PM. For an overview of various industries attitudes towards cycle commuting, see this thread: ” Does your place of business love you as much as mine does me?”

I think in general that probably Hi Tech industries are the ones that welcome cycle commuting the most, FWIW.

PS: I hope I didn’t sound too braggadocious in my reply about a "Best Commuting Award." But as a long time year-round commuter, who avidly reads commuter threads, my reply encompasses all the notable downsides of commuting I am familiar with, and my own situation.

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Old 01-06-15, 12:28 PM
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I'm in healthcare, and most of the patients that know me have seen me commute long enough that they like my commuting. Some really like it, especially the patient with bike fit questions that showed up as I was cooling off one day allowing me to show her some of the things I was mentioning. Others think I'm kind of amusing when I'm pulling off layers to cool off outside when it's cold out. I've commuted long enough that most people are curious if I rode now instead of wondering how it's possible that anyone could ride more than a mile, and my riding to work was one of the things that made it easier for me to get funding for the annual kids bike helmet giveaway I've ran for the past 7 years.

I didn't answer you poll because we recently expanded enough to cost me my indoor parking. Covered outdoor parking is available directly in front or our receptionist, but it's not the same as the indoor parking I had for so long. But I still have access to laundry at work!
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Old 01-06-15, 12:30 PM
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I voted "well" - cycling is pretty strongly supported at my workplace but all the bike lockups are outside. They are under cover and are under camera surveillance so it's a pretty secure place to lock up. The building also has showers and a limited number of lockers. I don't bother with a locker since I can keep a change of clothes & some street shoes in my office.
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Old 01-06-15, 12:34 PM
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I am very well received. People are always amazed how far I go, even though it is a meager distance to me.

I used to bring my bike inside but I am fine locking it up out front. The receptionist keeps her eye on it, we are at the end of an industrial cul-de-sac and I think a commuter bike with kid seat is a good image.

I can park inside I just choose not to. I do park my commuter inside sometimes and always my race bike. So it is not an issue.


I have an excellent shower set up. It is a decent size room with two shower heads. I set up a curtain rod on one end to hang clothes and gear. I have a Tupperware tote of undergarments, extra soap and towels. I hung a few hooks for my shoe covers and panniers to dry. It is nearly ideal in my mind.

The were a few other commuters over the years who have come and gone.

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Old 01-06-15, 12:36 PM
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I love me some Peter Stormare (ever since Fargo, my wife&I have nicknamed him "Unguent"), but what a weird ad campaign -- I can't understand how that's supposed to sell trucks!

Anyways, Fika sounds just like English tea-time to me. I was a postdoc at Imperial College, London for two years, and there was a large breakroom with a staffed concession where people would get tea every day; to make things quicker, our group of 5-10 would take turns buying everybody's tea, coffee, chocolate etc each day. I seem to recall a public microwave where people could heat up leftovers, but I don't recall much more in terms of a usable "kitchen".

I got it pretty sweet at work now though, four kitchenettes on every floor, fridges (that dispense water&ice), microwaves, coffee/tea/hot water, I have access even to a toaster oven. I keep frozen mixed veg and sliced bread in the freezer, sliced cheese in the fridge, and ramen noodles in my cube, so my typical lunch is noodle soup fortified with veg and sriracha, with a toasted cheese sandwich. Other people do think I'm weird for all the "cooking" I do at work, but whatever. I'm way too cheap to buy from the cafeteria or go out much.
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Old 01-06-15, 12:41 PM
  #24  
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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????
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Old 01-06-15, 12:42 PM
  #25  
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I voted average, but we don't have lockers, showers, or a rack. The few of us that ride are allowed to have a tote for storage, there's a good covered spot to park bikes and its a guarded secure facility so no need to lock anything up.
Nobody cares one way or the other about how folks commute.
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