(With thanks to Mark Wagenbuur @BicycleDutch, for this image)
Well that was fun. The first part of the ride, along empty roads with distant views of hills and sea, gave that useful real time to dwell on the topics for the meeting ahead. Even that rainstorm on entering the urban roads and city traffic hasn’t dampened spirits, you feel refreshed and energised to take on the world.
But then arriving at the building you look for secure cycle storage, only to find no available space in the limited facilities, and the new, bold facilities management signs on the fencing suggests that’s a not an option either.
Enquiring at the reception for suitable cycle facilities, somewhere to change out of damp cycle clothes and lock up, it is suggested you contact Jo who cycles in to the building regularly and may be able to help. After a couple of attempts to contact by phone, the receptionist thinks she may be off, suggests you lock up at the rear of the cycle rack and directs you to the disabled toilets to change, commenting they are cleaner and more space than in the gents.
And so, 20 minutes later, frustrated from awkward changing you head upstairs to the meeting room. Those brilliant thoughts for the meeting have evaporated, and so too has that energy. Feeling flat you drop your cycle helmet and rucksack in the corner of the meeting room, grab a conference standard coffee and take a seat.
I am by no means of any stretch of the imagination a commuting cyclist although I have done a bit in an earlier career life, between Derby and Nottingham, but as someone passionate about cycling I do try to cycle to local meetings wherever possible from my base here North West of Preston. This is often pedaling out to meetings in Preston or Lancaster, or depending on wind direction changing a train cycle combination to further afield venues in Blackpool or into East Lancashire.
There is a nice piece of recent research (1) that indicates those who cycle to meetings and to work, are more energised than those who may have arrived via public transport or by road. That same research also reported that an overwhelmingly majority of employers (98%) say cyclists are healthier and more energised (89%) than their commuting counterparts. Indeed, one of the reported ‘pleasures’ of cycling to meetings, even in wind and rain, is the time available to plan and prepare for meeting or day ahead with a free mind, to contemplation of the nuances (mindful cycling anyone?)
Whilst the choice to cycle may often be determined by the weather and wind direction, it is not always the case. Indeed, many cyclists relish that energising cycle in the wind and the rain. No, the decision to cycle to a meeting or event is in having reliable cycle facilities and information.
Truly, there is nothing worse than turning up drenched and wind beaten for a meeting, only to find there are no changing facilities, no secure bike areas. And sadly, I'm afraid this applies when visiting my local universities and other establishments who profess to have green transport as part of their sustainability credentials.
Saying that however there are organisations with great facilities that excel when it comes to cycling. Not only secure and protected storage, realistic changing facilities, but also have cycle travel directions within the travel directions web pages, including locations of nearby cycle shops.
Designing facilities and buildings for human powered living and human access is increasingly a key imperative for healthy buildings, and of course also a key aspect of the facilities management ‘wellness’ agenda. Within the world of green and sustainable buildings and organisations, not only encouraging, but prioritising the cyclist and other low carbon travel must now be high on agendas.
With built environment and cycling colleague Paul Wilkinson, we have long talked about the merits implementing a scheme that ranks both cycle facilities at buildings and the cycle related travel information available on the organisations website
And so, moving on from this article, we are delighted to have the opportunity for a regular column where we can showcase and share some of the good, bad and ugly in cycling facilities that we, and you encounter. Moreover, we would love to hear your stories, good and bad, and some of the factors that determine whether you cycle or not.
1. Cycle Scheme Research conducted with 103 employers June 2016
The 100 California Street facility in San Francisco includes an End-of-Trip (EOT) center, a unique amenity space that provides bike parking, showers, and lockers. With a goal of making a best-in-class EOT to support San Francisco’s ever-growing bicyclist population, designers Blitz worked with bike consultant Bikes Make Life Better and analyzed existing bike amenities throughout downtown San Francisco (such as bike lanes and repair shops) as part of early programming research.
Source / Credit : http://www.designblitzsf.com/projects/100-california-lobby/