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British company Active Commuting came up with units for workplaces that replace two car parking spaces

A shower and bike storage unit which can accommodate up to 34 cyclists and 46 runners while occupying just two parking spaces has been designed by British company Active Commuting.

The units are modular blocks made from shipping containers that come in three sizes, and can include bike parking, showers, lockers, changing rooms and even toilets, and can be stacked up to two stories high.

The company is currently looking for a commercial sponsor for its first site in a hospital of 3,000 staff, of whom just 20-30 cycle to work. Transport for London cites a lack of shower, as well as hair, towel and clothes drying and storage facilities as major barriers to people commuting to work by bike. 

Co-founder Andrew Rechten told road.cc: "We set up Active Commuting to design and build secure bike parking, showers and locker facilities for people who want to run or cycle to work. This was due to our frustration that having good facilities was becoming a lottery of where and for whom you worked for. It had to be affordable, could be run as a club, or purchased by a company/organisation and offered as a benefit."

"Due to high commercial property rents and the associated dilapidation costs - I commute 15miles into London - we designed it to be portable, adaptable and scalable."

The company's smallest design can uses the equivalent of just over two car parking spaces and can cater for 34 cyclists and 46 runners. Units take up to 12 weeks to build and, the company claims, are warm in winter and cool in summer.

Rechten is working on getting his first unit installed in a hospital car park, and is looking for a sponsor. If successful he plans on measuring the effects of the facilities on the hospital's 3,000-plus employees, of whom just 20-30 cycle to work regularly. He says the hospital is well connected with cycle routes and believes the lack of changing facilities is the last remaining barrier to people cycling. 

Transport for London recommends two shower facilities, plus one extra for every additional 50 employees. It says often storage and drying facilities can be a bigger barrier than showers. It cites overseas development charity, CAFOD, increasing the number of its employees cycling to work by 9 per cent following introduction of bike parking, locker and shower facilities.

Research has shown active employees take half as many sick days as those who don't do regular exercise, as well as being more productive than their sedentary colleagues.

Active Commuting isn't the first company to come up with modular shower units - Clearspace's Shower Hub has been going a while.