Celebrate: Bikes in Parking Lots

Look for lots of bicycle commuters today–it’s Bike to Work Day (BTWD). This annual special event is part of National Bike Month, which was started by the League of American Bicyclists (http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth) in 1956 and is observed each May.

BTWD is celebrated in many areas with special events designed to get commuters more aware of and comfortable with pedaling as a viable alternative to driving. For many local commuter assistance and mobility management programs, BTWD also serves as a great opportunity to recognize local leaders who have been (or could be) champions of bicycle commuting and hold public conversations about bike lanes, safety, and related issues.

Bikes play an increasingly visible and important role in today’s mobility mix. You might notice your bike parking facilities being much more heavily used on BTWD, particularly by folks who are trying cycling as a commute mode for the first time. After what was an unusually harsh winter for much of the U.S., would-be bicycle commuters might also use BTWD as a chance to team up with other cyclists, celebrate spring, and enjoy a change of pace.

This day presents an opportunity to engage with a niche audience that will use the quality of its BTWD experience as the basis for deciding whether biking to work is just a nice springtime event or the beginning of a realistic, long-term change in personal commute habits.

Get Your Bike On!

J.C. Porter

Tomorrow, May 18th is Bike to Work Day and you may be asking yourself one question: “Do I have to wear Spandex to ride my bike to work?” The quick answer is no, not unless you really want to! Commuting by bike should be easy, but we like to make excuses such as, “I can’t commute by bike because I don’t have a carbon fiber bike,” or, “I have to buy all new clothes to ride my bike.”

I’ll help lead an International Parking Institute (IPI) webinar next month on making your parking facility bike-ready. Until then, here are a few tips for bike commuting to help everyone get started:

1. Use what you have. Everyone either has a bike in their garage or knows someone who has a bike they can borrow.

2. If the bike has not been ridden in awhile, make sure it is in good working order before you set off. Complete the ABCs to ensure a bike is road-ready:

A: Check to make sure the tires have the proper amount of Air in them.
B: Check the Brakes for slowing down as well as stopping distance.
C: Gauge the Chain to make sure it is well oiled and will shift properly.

3. Wear the clothes you have. Most people just commute in their work clothes. As long as you take it easy and do not pretend you are competing in the Tour De France, you should be okay.

4. Use Map My Ride or another route-finding technology to find a bike route from your home to work. Keep in mind you most likely will not use the same route that you would in your car. Practice your new route ahead of time so you are comfortable with it and can identify any potential surprises that may arise.

Enjoy the ride to and from work, as it is a great stress reliever to the start and end of your work day. Remember, coffee cup holders are available for most bikes!

4 Ways to Welcome Cyclists

J.C. Porter

Bicycling is receiving a lot of attention in the parking world, and for good reason: it’s healthy, it’s environmentally-friendly, and it helps alleviate car congestion. There are four easy ways to create an inviting bike environment for businesses, cities, and universities:

  1. A little paint goes a long way to help increase the visibility of cyclists and your efforts to promote bicycling. Sharrows, a street marking to indicate a shared-lane (from a combination of the words share and arrow), are easy to paint and save space over traditional bike lanes, as they are meant to be used by both bikes and automobiles.
  2. There are several different types of bike racks that can work for different types of spaces. An inverted U is the most common type of bike rack; this works best for cyclists and is also attractive. Space savers can be used in areas such as underneath stair wells or unused portions under garage ramps. And finally, cycle stalls are multi-space bike racks that are placed on the street. These allow for better access on the sidewalks and, if placed strategically such as near crosswalks, can create better sight lines for both pedestrians and motorists.
  3. A fix-it station is an easy addition to any location. This provides a place for riders to use an attached pump or other tools to keep their bike running.
  4. Joining forces with bicycle-related organizations is a great way to receive recognition for additions and improvements you take on. These organizations will help promote your business, city, state, university, or hospital’s efforts to encourage cycling. Small investments in time and money will go a long way in helping to promote your organization.

Have you encouraged your customers to commute by bike? Let us know in the comments.