Bike Parking in the City: Issues and Etiquette

Bike parking in the city can be a tricky business. Many parts of the city (at least the ones I visit in the District) do not have enough racks to accommodate all the bikes of those who want to park in the area.

Bikes get crowded onto racks or, if those are not available, we seek out other alternatives such as locking to a parking sign pole or other pieces of metal that look sturdy and theft-proof.

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The Politics of Bike Parking at Work

I recently began a new job, and my lovely setup of parking my bike in my office is no more. I now work in a cube and have no space to park a bike. I could use my Tikit or Dahon folder, but I have not put the time in to make either of them what I would consider “commute ready.”

Instead, I continue to ride my Surly LHT and park my bike in one of two places at my building:

  1. The underground parking garage that has inverted U-shaped racks to accommodate about 20 bikes. 
  2. A prison bar-style outdoor bike rack that is mostly covered (depending on what direction the wind blows), and can theoretically fit 50 bikes, but from my point of view is basically worthless for those of us that use fenders and a U-lock with the exception of the end spaces.

During the winter months, I have made regular use of the garage. It reduces the time I need to spend in the cold locking and unlocking my bike and it keeps my bike decently warm so my hands do not immediately turn to ice when I put them on the handlebars.

However, I will still occasionally park outside and lock to what I consider the substandard prison bar-style rack.

Through commuting regularly to my job in this shared parking environment, I have begun to notice funny things about us bike commuters.

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Employers: Setting the Tone for Bike Commuters

Surly at Dupont Circle

Since I began commuting nine years ago, I’ve worked for three four different employers. All have been located within five miles of my residence at the time, and that short distance encouraged me to leave the Metro behind and either bike or walk to work. Now I exclusively bike or walk to my office, something that I know I’m extremely lucky to be able to do.

Over the course of commuting to these jobs, I’ve seen how employers can influence and even encourage people to bike commute. The following are my experiences commuting to three different places and a description of the various bike commute setups used by each employer.

These environments helped shape my opinions about employers’ roles in creating a conducive environment for bike commuting. Bike commuting isn’t only the ride from home to work. It’s also about what happens once you and your bike arrive at the office.

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Washington, D.C., Bike Parking Scenes

One of these things is not like the other One of these things just doesn’t belong… Can you figure out what it is? This was the status of the bike rack at my local grocery store Thursday evening. I know it’s not always easy for people to find a place for their dog to hang out while they’re inside shopping, but I was a little … Continue reading Washington, D.C., Bike Parking Scenes