Monday, March 14, 2005

Bicycle Parking

One of my co-workers was just named as employee of the
month.....for November. Let's just say the program is running a
little behind.

There are some perks that go with this. For the next month, he
gets to use the EOM parking space right next to the front door.
I was wondering what I'd do if they ever gave me the award.
Could I put the reserved parking sign on the bicycle rack? It's
an idea that appeals to my fondness for the absurd.

Actually, since I ride my bike most days, I already have a great
parking space. There's a tiny parking lot right in front of the
building. The main parking lot is across the street, so some
employees will wait and wait and wait for a spot to open out
front. Now, they could park across the street and walk, and that
would probably take less time than waiting for a spot, but they
sit there, engine idling, until someone leaves.

The bike rack is right out front too. Until our new security
fence went up, I had an even better spot in the shade right next
to the building. It was about 4 steps from the door. I could
leave at the end of the shift and be out of the parking lot
before the traffic started to build. The new rack is about 50
feet from the EOM parking spot, but still closer than the main

I'm lucky too, in that my workplace is inside the security
perimeter of an airport, so the bike rack is inside the security
zone too. Theft and pilferage are not a problem. Today, for
instance, I rode my carbon-fiber racing bike, and I don't worry
about leaving it on the rack outside. (The weather report is
calling for 20-30 mph headwinds on my way home. Much as I love
riding a fixed gear, on days like this I want lower gears!)

My situation is the exception. Most bicycle parking leaves much
to be desired. Security is probably the biggest problem. We all
worry about bike theft. There are some simple, common-sense
approaches to stopping bike thieves. One idea is to ride an
'ugly' bike - an old bike that may be in excellent mechanical
shape, but is just plain ugly. Some people will spray flat black
paint onto a perfectly good frame, or cover it with black
electrical tape. They'll ride old three speeds, single speeds,
or fixed gears. Some folks carry two locking systems because
thieves reportedly won't carry the tools to defeat more than one.

I went with the ugly bike approach when I worked in a large
metropolitan hospital. I rode a Paris Sport track bike with a
scabrous golden brown paint job. It came from the factory that
way! The hospital had a bike rack inside the parking garage. I
locked the bike there with the original Kryptonite lock (it was a
LONG time ago!), took of the front wheel, pump, and lights, and
walked to my work area. No one would steal a bike with only one


The spirit is willing, but the flesh is middle-aged.
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