A study of workplaces in London’s City and West End has found that cycle commuters lack showers, places to dry their kit and safe bike storage, with its authors urging employers to make better provision for those who choose to get to work by bike.
Researchers from ESCP Business School in northwest London were commissioned to carry out a study of provision for cyclists at work premises in the capital by real estate firm Evans Randall Investors, reports the London Evening Standard.
They found that most of the 61 businesses surveyed had failed to meet the boom in cycling to work that has helped fuel a 133 per cent rise in the number of trips made by bicycle in the capital from 2000-15, according to TfL, before the opening of two new Cycle Superhighways last year.
According to the survey, only one in five workplaces provided a room where cyclists could dry their kit and fewer still had somewhere to hang up suits and other workwear overnight. On average, offices provided one shower per 240 workers.
Where cycle storage was provided, 60 per cent of them were reported to be full or almost full every day.
One cyclist interviewed as part of the study said: “I end up using my handlebars as drying racks and have no choice but to take my wet shoes to my desk. My co-workers are not impressed.”
Another employee, who does not commute by bike, told researchers: “I’m all for people cycling, but not when their wet kit ends up on their chair.”
The study said that three buildings – the Cheesegrater and the Alphabeta Building in the City of London, and 7 Clarges Street in Mayfair, were ‘best in class’ when it came to providing facilities for cyclists.
Its authors said that premises in excess of 50,000 square feet should make provision of storage facilities for bikes and clothing, as well as showers, drying rooms and bike repair stations that cycle commuters can use.
Kent Gardner, chief executive of Evans Randall Investors, said: “Just five years ago cycling provision in an office was seen as a benefit — it’s now an expectation.”
Last year, we reported how Darren Bilsborough, CEO of the consultancy Office Space Matters and an expert on workplaces and productivity, said that businesses needed to prioritise walking and cycling and “forget about cars” to keep their staff productive.
Last year, the senior partner of leading international law firm Allen & Overy, which is based in Canary Wharf and employs more than 1,500 people in London, told road.cc that cycling infrastructure and facilities were now vital in attracting and retaining staff.
The firm is one of more than 180 London employers signed up to CyclingWorks, originally set up to emphasise support by businesses and other organisations for the capital’s Cycle Superhighways, and is also a member of British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling Network.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.