We’ve seen a lot of “surveys” that leave us scratching our heads but one has puzzled us for its, well, you’ll see.
Folding bike maker Brompton teamed up with property letting website Zoopla to calculate the cost of storing a bike in London – that’s the space someone's bike takes up in their home - and it’s come up with an average monthly cost for that space of, drumroll, £43.73 per month, or £9,731.92 per year.
Unsurprisingly the most expensive place in London to store a bike (and of course, live) is Kensington and Chelsea, where a bike’s worth of space in a home – calculated at 1.4 square metres - is a depressing £27,532, while the cheapest borough is Barking and Dagenham, where it’s £4,521.
It's no surprise to us bike aficionados that folding bikes take up less space than non-folding bikes, while fancy outdoor lockers for our beloved steeds are another solution for the space-poor (Brompton offers both – other models are available*).
The dilemma then might be what to do with the space you’ve freed up in your Chelsea penthouse or Hackney bed sit. Ironing board? Aquarium? Baby?
Setting aside the fact most of us can't change our flat size as easily as we do our clothing when we gain or lose an extra bike, it’s puzzling the notion cycle storage within our homes is costing us money – we don’t get to give that space back and get a refund, after all, if we get secure on-street bike storage, or buy a folding bike.
Interestingly, something that costs us all money, whether we own one or not, is parking space for cars.
Recent research from the US estimated one above ground car parking space costs, on average, $24,000 to build. As one Washington Post article argued supermarkets that supply parking spaces are passing on the cost to all of us through the cost of goods.
That's money you can't get back.
Parking requirements increase rents. https://t.co/D4gsGJNr0P
— Donald Shoup (@DonaldShoup) March 23, 2016
As parking expert, Donald Shoup, put it: "Everybody likes free parking, including me, probably you. But just because the driver doesn’t pay for it doesn’t mean that the cost goes away. If you don’t pay for parking your car, somebody else has to pay for it. And that somebody is everybody.
"We pay for free parking in the prices of the goods we buy at places where the parking is free. And we pay for parking as residents when we get free parking with our housing. We pay for it as taxpayers. Increasingly, I think we’re paying for it in terms of the environmental harm that it causes."
We aren't saying Brompton's maths are wrong. We just think maybe, just maybe, there is a bigger problem. We just need to put our finger on what it is.
*The problem of bike storage in high-density housing can also be solved by asking your local council for secure on-street bike parking. Hackney and Lambeth Councils in London are investing in bike hangars, covered lockable bike parking that replace one car parking space, can store six bikes and can be rented from the council for around £42 per year, or £3.50 per month. If your council doesn’t provide them, you can write to them and ask them to.