Secure parking, showers and somewhere to dry clothes are all important for an active commute

Four in ten office workers would commute by bike — if their workspace offered better facilities, a survey has found.

New research published by the British Council for Offices found that if the cycling targets set by the government are to be reached, businesses need to take the lead in making it easier for employees.

16 per cent of office workers said they were discouraged from the active commute by poor facilities.

83 per cent of offices had some form of bike parking, but less than half was covered and secure. 45 per cent have no showers, something that was important to a quarter of respondents.

According to Bikebiz, Remit Consulting director Neil Webster said: “As cycling continues to rise in popularity, ostensibly the most pressing issue for businesses will be finding the space for bikes, lockers and storage. However, research shows that the focus needs to be on the quality of the facilities offered, not just the quantity.

"Alongside safe storage and showers, there is a clear demand for towels, hairdryers and complimentary toiletries. This kind of service provision may not just encourage existing employees to cycle to work, it could also act as a market differentiator for prospective employees, and even have a positive impact on lettability.”

It’s not a new problem; in April we reported how 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.

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.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.