Full lockers at work

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Monday, July 28, 2008
By Yokota Fritz

I've chronicled how the local trains and buses have maxed out on bicycle capacity. I've encountered another bicycling infrastructure capacity issue on my commute. The shower lockers are now all in use.

We don't have assigned lockers at my work -- the cyclists and joggers and others who use the showers just hang our sweaty clothes and towels in the small individual lockers for the day. We're required to remove our belongings when we leave in the evening. It used to be that only two or three lockers were used during the day. Now I see that the dozen lockers in my building's shower room are fully utilized almost every day.

I'm seeing more bikes around the building, too. People are leaving them in the stairways, the hallway, and in their offices. The outside bike cage is many bikes I haven't seen in previous months, many of them obviously brand new.

Even people I *never* expected to see on a bike are riding their bikes to work on occasion, and all of them come to me like excited little children bragging about their accomplishment. I say good for you. I should probably get some gold stars to pass out to everybody who does this.

It used to be when I searched for bicycling news article in July, the news was dominated by the Tour de France and headlines like "Bicyclist killed in car crash." These days I'm seeing more stories like this: Do you see more cyclists on the road where you live and work?

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I've noticed a few more bikes around, but we have some tiny little locker/handicapped bathrooms, and for the first time ever, i'm noticing that they are full. As in, I have to wait until the people are done showering to even get in. I also unfortunately hang my sweaty clothes off my bike in my cube. tacky, but people don't really come to my cube (and no, it's not causal!)
I've noticed a couple more people bike commuting. I even ran into a guy on the local trail the other day that was confused by a detour that is up right now. He said it was his first time riding to work, so I showed him how to navigate around the detour.

I've been trying to get into it a little bit more often myself, but it takes a little more effort than just getting in a car so I've had mixed results. The difference is that personally I do it because I enjoy cycling (and do enjoy the days I make it to work via the bike). I'm not doing it for high gas prices or anything like that. I have a fuel-efficient car and probably save myself less than $3 in gas each day I ride - and when you consider the cost in food (extra calories burned), bicycle maintenance (yearly tune-ups, new parts, etc).. its probably a wash for me.
There has been more and more bike lane traffic over the past few months. I am still the sole bike commuter in my small office of 12, but there have been more bikes out there to and from. In the past I had clear roads the whole way and would finish my ride having only passed 3 or 4 other cyclists, but this summer I've noticed a huge increase in the number of bikes on the road through Boston and Cambridge.
Make up some "I biked to work today" stickers like they do for voting. Then when someone comes up to brag, give them a sticker!

I've been seeing the same thing at my office as well. A fellow commuter said he had even read my blog about riding. I was a bit surprise since I don't really think anyone is listening.
I definitely see more people on bikes! Driving through any small town around here and you are guaranteed to see someone on a bike, and they aren't just out for a cruise. You can tell they are riding with a purpose, be it shopping, running an errand or whatever. There are definitely more "utility" riders out there now.
Yup! I've been commuting by bike for almost a year now and there's been an absolute rise in bike commuters on my 6 mile route. It's terribly exciting to see. 2 (and sometimes 3, out of 18) of my co-workers commute by bike now, too.
Yes, but instead of celebrating the old guard are mostly complaining about how reckless, dangerous, and rude all the newbies are. It's like they can't quite cope with the loss of their exclusive "bike commuter" status.

And sometimes I wonder if that's how I feel, too. But why? Is this not what we wanted?
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