Thursday, 30 September 2010

Cycling To Work

Not the remains of my bike
I have been cycling to work for almost two years and credit this fact with a 17 kg weight loss and commensurate increase in fitness. I cycle through snow, rain and in the dark. I am a pretty committed cycle commuter. I wish my employer would make it easy though.

Despite being a large NHS acute hospitals Trust they still haven't managed to set up a cycle to work scheme. This doesn't bother me greatly but does indicate the importance the top honchos place on encouraging a healthy lifestyle - something I thought we were supposed to be doing! It might happen in 2011 but I'm not placing any bets.

The cycle storage is also dire. A few outdoor racks of various types dotted around the site. None of them are in a secure building and all are exposed to the elements. Some bikes that have been left outside have been vandalised and others stolen.

I rarely leave my bike locked outside. When I do it is secured with a heavy duty Abus City Granite chain through the frame and front wheel which is secured to an immovable metal object, the rear wheel locked into the frame with an Axa Defender wheel lock and the seat post/saddle removed. I would never leave it in the same place 3-4 days a week, 14 hrs of the day from early morning until well into the evening. Never mind the area of Manchester I work in which is populated by some very unsavoury characters.  

So, for the past eleven months, with the tacit approval of my bosses, I have been leaving my bike in the male changing room, up against a wall and out of every ones way. Not been a problem except this week a note went up to say no bikes were to be brought in doors and they should be locked outside. I was not a happy bunny. It transpires a couple of other people have been cycling in and one of them had been wheeling a wet muddy bike through the main clinical area - hence the blanket ban.

I arranged a hasty chat with the boss involved and we have agreed the status quo can be maintained while alternative secure cycle storage is looked into. One of the other bosses is keen for this to happen as well (he is an infrequent cycle commuter) and we have already identified a courtyard that can be accessed from outside, which could be easily gated and would have space for ten or so cycle stands. 

All this coincides with the setting up of a Bicycle User Group (BUG) for the Trust so guess what I'm going to be joining this week? I just hope the honchos whose permission we will need for this to go ahead are amenable to our arguments. A nearby Trust has excellent cycle storage provision, would force a slightly longer commute (a good thing as my current 3.5 miles finishes just as I am getting warmed upped) and a job there would not harm my CV at all. I really like my current job though so I hope we can work it out. 

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