Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

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Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Rhubarb » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:41 pm

There's been a couple of threads lately about bike unfriendly workplaces, lack of showers etc. This has made me think about how lucky I am (well soon will be).

We're moving in to a new building in Aug which I think is going to be as good as it gets for cycling facilities. Highlights as follows:
- 182 bike racks in a secure caged area within the basement carpark with swipe card access, no extra keys
- 200 + personal lockers with full length hanging facilities and digital locks, no extra keys
- 11 showers each for male and female in the basement plus 2 per floor in the disabled toilets
- complimentary body/hair wash provided in showers (saves everyone bringing their own)
- complimentary fresh towel linen service (saves everyone drying towels in basement)
- ironing facilities in change rooms
- air conditioning in change rooms (important in Brisbane summer to stop sweating before you dress)
- dry cleaning / ironing service available (not free)
- complimentary fruit every day, plus heavily subsidized barista coffee within the building
- 3 bike shops within 200m if you need a tube or cable repair etc

My employer also provides a company branded set of bib and braces and a jersey free each year from scody.

There is going to be about 2100 people in this building but I still think this is going to be as good as it gets for cycle commuting. Bring on August!!!!
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:12 pm

That is impressive - it is hard to imagine any better.

Our head office is pretty good, with things being done on a budget that will not attract criticism. (We are a governemnt agency whose funds are always stretched meeting the demands for out services. So what we have is modest and defensible and often involves a fire sale acquisitions. We also have to be mindful of the heritage status of the buildings we use.

Modern showers refurbished three years ago and we scrounge any lockers we can whenever they present. So far 96 or so lockers for around 400 staff. We also have indoors parking but the racks are pretty basic and do not use space as efficiently as it could be, albeit with a fair bit of investment.

The facilities,while originally being set up for cyclists, now also provides for those in the company wellness program.

There are issues and lessons learnt, the biggest being that we should never have provided lockers with fitted locks - it becomes an admin nightmare. Hasp and staple or similar with user providing own locks is far easier to manage and is more secure. But overall, the facilities are great for an office of our size and are well used.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Oxford » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:29 pm

very lucky indeed, I hope you're on the shortlist and the take up is under 10%. what would be sad is people taking places and not using them.

is that the building on the corner of Charlotte and Albert Sts?
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Rhubarb » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:10 am

Oxford wrote:very lucky indeed, I hope you're on the shortlist and the take up is under 10%. what would be sad is people taking places and not using them.

is that the building on the corner of Charlotte and Albert Sts?


How very perceptive on both accounts !!!!

Firstly, yes it is 123 Albert St, cnr Albert and Charlotte.

Secondly, the take up rate and allocation process is a concern to me too. Normally 10% would be heaps but the facilities are so good that many people who don't ride now are planning on riding when we move. The company is making a big push to use them too as part of a corporate health and wellness program. Luckily I am part of the project implementation team so I have direct access those setting FM guidelines for allocation. And as the only cycling commuter on the project team, they listen. I've been frustrated in the past by seeing lockers allocated to people who one day might use them whilst daily commuters sit on the waiting list. Sounds like you've been there before too.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Max » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:00 am

So Rhubarb, who do you work for? I've been thinking it's time for a change of employer and yours has just made it to the top of the wish list!

Max
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Oxford » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:57 am

Rhubarb wrote: I've been frustrated in the past by seeing lockers allocated to people who one day might use them whilst daily commuters sit on the waiting list. Sounds like you've been there before too.

Not cycling specific frustration but similar situations, resources allocated to people who do not use it, blocking users who actually want to use the resource. It was however one of the concerns raised when the Cycle Centre opened at King George that people/corporates would just take the space and not use it. Depending on your point of view, that has not happened which is good for actual users, not good for the centre though with the lower than expected take up rate.
I could agree with you, but then we would both be wrong.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby trailgumby » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:10 am

We had an issue with people taking up facilities and not using them when we moved to SOP a couple of years ago.

Those red dust storms we had year before last actually helped fix that problem. :lol: It was very apparent who was using their bikes and who wasn't - the evidence covered the unused bikes.

About six weeks later, it was threatened that unused bikes would be removed and given to charity. The number of free spaces in the racks moved from zero to about 20 shortly afterwards. 8)
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby lethoso » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:45 pm

Oxford wrote: It was however one of the concerns raised when the Cycle Centre opened at King George that people/corporates would just take the space and not use it.


I think the fact you have to pay for it prevents that. As soon as something is free (or at least, no personal cost) though, everyone wants a piece :roll:

Max wrote:So Rhubarb, who do you work for? I've been thinking it's time for a change of employer and yours has just made it to the top of the wish list!

Max


haha, +1

Rhubarb wrote:I've been frustrated in the past by seeing lockers allocated to people who one day might use them whilst daily commuters sit on the waiting list.


Since it's all swipe-card, couldn't you track usage and boot anyone who isn't making good use of their spot?
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Kev365428 » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:06 am

We have 36 individual lockable "garages" for bikes at my place, on a first come, first served basis. Hand over a little tag with your details, receive a numbered key for the locker.
Seems to work well. Only ever missed out once.
Biggest issue is mistreatment of the facilities - people slamming the doors so the hinges bend, not closing the door when leaving so it swings around in the breeeze etc.

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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby queequeg » Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:21 pm

Rhubarb wrote:
Oxford wrote:very lucky indeed, I hope you're on the shortlist and the take up is under 10%. what would be sad is people taking places and not using them.

is that the building on the corner of Charlotte and Albert Sts?


How very perceptive on both accounts !!!!

Firstly, yes it is 123 Albert St, cnr Albert and Charlotte.

Secondly, the take up rate and allocation process is a concern to me too. Normally 10% would be heaps but the facilities are so good that many people who don't ride now are planning on riding when we move. The company is making a big push to use them too as part of a corporate health and wellness program. Luckily I am part of the project implementation team so I have direct access those setting FM guidelines for allocation. And as the only cycling commuter on the project team, they listen. I've been frustrated in the past by seeing lockers allocated to people who one day might use them whilst daily commuters sit on the waiting list. Sounds like you've been there before too.


Those facilities sound very impressive! Does the company you work for own the building? We moved to a great new office in Mid-2010. At our old office we were the only tenants (we had the whole building), so we had control over FM. In the new building we are only one of many tenants, and FM is done by the building owner. This has resulted in some clearly insane policies:
- 233 bike racks in cages with lockable doors, but sadly they didn't think anyone would want to actually have secure access, so the cages have a gate that anyone can open without requiring any swipe card or keys (including joe public walking off the street during business hours)
- 200 lockers, but they all need keys. You can only gain access to them on a daily basis by swapping your building access pass for a key. Problem: how do you then get to your floor in the building? Doh! Solution: hand over drivers licence instead. No use overnight, so no storage of clothes/toiletries for the week.
- 20 showers (10 male, 10 female), but no soap dispensers (old building had them, which was great). 1 disabled shower per floor, which we are apparently not permitted to use (as in able bodied people, they are supposedly for exclusive use of disabled employees)
- No ironing facilities
- No clothes drying facilities (this is the biggest issue, especially when it rains. Everyone has been hanging wet clothes over their bikes, which FM does not like, but which they have no alternative for)

Now, our company also provides:
- Complimentary fruit every day
- Cheap coffee
- Free drinks on every floor (double door fridge on every floor)

Also:
We have 2 bike shops within 1km (one is about 200m away, the other about 1km)

So, we're pretty close to cycling nirvana for commuting. Most of us have managed to find alternatives for the tricky stuff. For example, I don't bother using a locker. I just keep a bag under my desk with all my day to day stuff in it. I bring in a clean towel and shirt every day, and keep shoes/trousers on a shelf under my desk. I dry my clothes under my desk, draped over my pannier bags.

Oh, I am guessing you new building in also a 5 or 6-Star Green Rating, as I find that these are the buildings being fitted with these facilities (since it is a requirement to get that rating!)
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Sydguy » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:04 pm

Facilities sound great, my building is quite good, Deutsche Bank Place in Sydney.

The bicycle racks are your sopping centre variety, and I chain mine up with a cheap lock. There are some decent bikes chained up but nothing too flash. The flash bikes are generally taken up the goods lift to peoples office/work station. I am yet to hear of lights or anything else being stolen, which was my main concern.

Other than that, showers, towels and the like all taken care of. I just leave my wet clothes in my pannier and put said wet clothes on for ride home. quick dry shorts and a jersey is no problem, maybe in winter it will be less appealing.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby wombatK » Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:57 pm

Sydguy wrote:Facilities sound great

Have to agree, it really sounds impressive. But then look at the numbers more critically. 2100 people in the building. Let's say that you can shower in 3 minutes, and that there equal numbers of male and female staff (since the shower ratio is equal). (2100 x 3 ) / 22 showers => 4 hours 45 minutes for everyone to get ready for work. Even if there were only a 10% take-up, you could have a 28 minute wait for a shower. And much longer if you think about how much longer women tend to spend in the shower !

As nice as the facilities seem, it would be a hard sell to get people to bicycle commute if they had to add 28 minutes to their riding and change time. What sort of take-up rate are the planners expecting ?
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby lethoso » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:29 pm

wombatK wrote:Even if there were only a 10% take-up, you could have a 28 minute wait for a shower.


That's assuming everyone arrives at the same time, which is rather unlikely.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby RobertFrith » Sun Mar 27, 2011 11:55 pm

Mine's crap. I only have myself to blame though as I'm the boss cocky.

Just a measly 3 permanent employees, 2 casuals in a rented 70's building. I'm the main ride to work person. My full timer rides now and again, but catches the bus more often. My part timer might catch the bus one day :)

For every day permanent or casual staff don't bring their car to work I pay them $5 clear. Not a lot but the last three casuals all moved to within walking distance of the office and my full timer always leaves his car at home if he doesn't need to be out and about with gear during the day.

I dream about space for bike racks, showers and lockers. The dream will become reality sooner or later.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Puffy » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Showers? Lockers? Bike Racks? What are they? I work in a donga (metal box) and shower in the sink! No A/C in the toilet and typically I am just as sweaty coming out as I was going in. Could be worse, at least I don't have to worry about the bike being stolen.

The last place as good, but a little weird. There was one shower and so as to not hold up other users, once you had your pants on you stepped out and let the next guy in. Trouble was you were now standing partially dressed, hair wet, un-brushed in the middle of the office. I pitty they guy who's work station was just there. He'd have to put up with unwanted male nudity, BO and copious amounts of deodorant. To dry our gear we'd hung them in the cupboard next to the shower (Air conditioner! Seriously!) :mrgreen:
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby goneriding » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:14 pm

trailgumby wrote:We had an issue with people taking up facilities and not using them when we moved to SOP a couple of years ago.

Those red dust storms we had year before last actually helped fix that problem. :lol: It was very apparent who was using their bikes and who wasn't - the evidence covered the unused bikes.

About six weeks later, it was threatened that unused bikes would be removed and given to charity. The number of free spaces in the racks moved from zero to about 20 shortly afterwards. 8)


Didn't stop them from all coming back again though :( There was even a couple of kid sized bikes in there the last time I was put there. Same thing is happening in the City office as well.

We are well serviced with bike cages and lockers. The problem is being able to get a locker. It's been a year and half now without being able to get one. I don't mind hanging my smelly laundry up on the back of a cupboard but I guessing I'm the only one :)
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Xponti » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:03 pm

Mine is similar to the OP.

We have a cage with swipe access, specifically designed for bikes with good bike racks from Steady Rack http://www.steadyrack.com/default.asp along with ground racks, we also have good showers and change rooms with lockers inside for the lucky few. We have a gym with treadmill, bikes, rowers, weights etc.

All this was provided for by the social committee.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby waramatt » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:37 pm

My workplace is fairly bike friendly. Large underground secure car park with a dozen bike racks (180 employees). Remote clickers to access the carpark are freely available to any cyclists wishing to park underneath. Only 2 x mens shower cubicles and about 20 lockers - were made available on request when we moved in 2 years ago. Sadly, not all are being utilised. I ride to work 3 days p.w and again sadly, never have to wait for a shower. We only have 3/180 employees who regularly commute by bicycle (sad but true).
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Rhubarb » Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:54 pm

Max wrote:So Rhubarb, who do you work for? I've been thinking it's time for a change of employer and yours has just made it to the top of the wish list!

Max


The company is in the ASX top 20 by market cap and is in a growth phase, so PM me if you're serious.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Rhubarb » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:03 pm

wombatK wrote:
Sydguy wrote:Facilities sound great

Have to agree, it really sounds impressive. But then look at the numbers more critically. 2100 people in the building. Let's say that you can shower in 3 minutes, and that there equal numbers of male and female staff (since the shower ratio is equal). (2100 x 3 ) / 22 showers => 4 hours 45 minutes for everyone to get ready for work. Even if there were only a 10% take-up, you could have a 28 minute wait for a shower. And much longer if you think about how much longer women tend to spend in the shower !

As nice as the facilities seem, it would be a hard sell to get people to bicycle commute if they had to add 28 minutes to their riding and change time. What sort of take-up rate are the planners expecting ?


In addition to the basement showers, there's also 2 showers per floor, on all 24 floors. A total of 70 showers - should cover it.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby MacG10 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:49 am

@Rhubarb: reading your (not so) subtle hints we might be working for the same company... Is the bib/braces/jersey thing BU specific or is it BNE wide?
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby CommuRider » Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:07 am

LOL. @rhubarb & @MacG10 are you accessing the forum during company time :P

Actually, the thought has crossed my mind that other ACFers are my workmates too. Seems we are all a bit shy to talk to each other in real life. Is it a male thing? One of the cyclists in our racks has this beautiful CF giant and I have tried to say hello to him a couple of times. Hmmmm...

Aa for our facilties, nothing extravagant like fruit, but happy with the security cameras, lockers and showers. I hear the male lockers are full now.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Rhubarb » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:33 pm

MacG10 wrote:@Rhubarb: reading your (not so) subtle hints we might be working for the same company... Is the bib/braces/jersey thing BU specific or is it BNE wide?


Not sure - I am only a contractor in IS&T so don't go digging around other BUs much.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby Rhubarb » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:36 pm

CommuRider wrote:Actually, the thought has crossed my mind that other ACFers are my workmates too. Seems we are all a bit shy to talk to each other in real life. Is it a male thing? .


I generally find its easier to get to know other cyclists as you've always got the weather to discuss (good or bad). Workmates wouldn't necessarily recognise me instantly from these forums though as Rhubarb isn't my real name.
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Re: Bike friendly workplaces - mine's hard to top

Postby CommuRider » Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:43 pm

Rhubarb wrote: Workmates wouldn't necessarily recognise me instantly from these forums though as Rhubarb isn't my real name.


No, I wouldn't have recognised you either with that name. :lol:

IRL I find other cyclists tend to talk about each other's bikes with me first. We get talking about the weather later but we do the quick assessment of each other's bikes, do the up and down check (or in this case front to rear wheel check) then see if we can get talking about bikes properly. Their comments on my accessories, mine on their specs. After that, how far do you ride from, how is the commute etc. Good way to talk to complete strangers. Although the talking is usually done at a fast rate due to the still pumping adrenaline.

I rang one cyclist- colleague today and he normally talks slowly but he spoke to me as if he had just snorted crack since he was talking at 200 words a minute. Then he told me he had just been out for a ride.

Seems once you're a cyclist, one tends to become rather obsessive about it.
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