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Are these the best workplace facilities for bike commuters in the UK?

Bristol’s tallest office building receives world-first 100 per cent rating from accreditation body CyclingScore

Are these the best facilities for bike commuters in the UK? Well, CyclingScore – a certification agency which rates residential and commercial buildings according to their friendliness for active travel users, whether they are on a bike, scooter, skateboard or walking or running believes it is.

Castlemead 01

In fact, when rating the cycling facilities installed as part of the £2.3-million refurbishment of the 18-storey Castlemead office block in Bristol – the city’s tallest office building – it had to devise a new platinum category, with the building achieving a 100 per cent rating.

The main pictures here are CGI generated ... but as the tweet below shows, the designs have been translated into reality.

Writing on LinkedIn, Greg Davison of the Floreat Group, which led the redevelopment, said that the building now has “unparalleled tenant amenities,” including “new best in class cycle and changing facilities in an unused basement.” 

Themed around cycling iconography including the Tour de France and rainbow bands, facilities include 341 cycle parking spaces, four Brompton hire bikes, 18 new showers and changing rooms, 400 lockers, a huge drying room, secure cycle entrance and lift, and 12 EV chargers.

Castlemead 02

The Castlemead website says:

Working with CyclingScore, the leading certification body for cycling facilities, the basement has been transformed into a welcoming Tour de France themed micromobility hub with world-beating end of ride facilities.

A variety of racking solutions will cater for all current and future modes of active travel from bikes to e-scooters and more. High quality showers, comfortable changing rooms, a drying room and digital z-lockers form the core facilities of this ambitious project.

E-bike charging points, a bike maintenance area and slip-resistant flooring are some of the details that add up to a perfect 100/100 CyclingScore. The availability of Brompton Bike Hire and other engagement services via Castlemead’s dedicated online portal and app puts the facilities in a league of their own.

Castlemead 05

The big unknown at the moment, of course, is whether the facilities will be fully utilised once life returns to a semblance of normality post-pandemic.

The government may be encouraging people to choose active travel over public transport and private cars for their commutes as part of the country’s recovery, but at the same time there are widespread predictions that even once offices are fully reopened, staff who have been working from home over the past 14 months or so will continue to so at least for part of the week, with some businesses even moving primarily to a remote working model.

Nevertheless, the facilities certainly look impressive, and while there has been a definite trend in recent years for commercial developments to provide decent facilities for those who choose to come to work by bike, from the pictures it does seem to take it to the next level – unless you know better, and if so, let us know in the comments below.

Pictures via castlemeadcabotcircus.com

Castlemead 03

 

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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24 comments

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HeidiR17 | 2 years ago
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They look great ... if you're not Disabled and have the upper-body strength/dexterity/height to use the racks, and don't mind your cycle not being locked properly to the rack.

Frankly, the fact that an inaccessible cycle park can get 'top marks' shows that whoever came up with the scoring knows very little about the diversity of people who cycle. Giving that CyclingScore designs cycle parking spaces (all of which look equally inaccessible, judging by the images online), it's more a marketing gimmick than a proper assessment - and the lack of accessible options means that, if a Disabled cyclist does want to commute to the workplace by cycle, they can take legal action against their employer if accessible cycle parking of the same standard isn't provided - not a great PR look.

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hennie | 2 years ago
1 like

Wow...amazing.

Compare that to my local council whom I emailed. I just asked to talk to somebody about the possibility of getting ANY cycle parking solutions in my town. Didn't even get a reply.

sigh...

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Nplus1 | 2 years ago
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Someone pointed this out on the tweet and in comments below that Cycling Score and Bike Dock Solutions (the installers of the cycle parking) are run by the same guys. And the racks they use are pretty rubbish two level racks that you can't lock to.

Its like writing the exam and marking your own paper. I wouldn't trust Cycling Score score if they gave that facility a 100 percent rating... 

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rivers | 2 years ago
1 like

That looks pretty good. If only all workplaces were like this. 

Not that I can complain about my place of work. Loads of parking, though all outside. I keep my bike in my office. There is a drying room apparently in one the buildings, but I set-up a portable radiator on some costume rails in the dressing room on wet days. Several building have showers. Might even be all of them. And any cyclists also have access to laundry facilities should they need them.

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RobD | 2 years ago
1 like

Nice to see that the final installation actually resembled the rendered plan pictures

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Liam Cahill | 2 years ago
4 likes

*Updates CV*

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Moist von Lipwig | 2 years ago
2 likes

This is all well and good, but has that concrete column earnt the right to wear the rainbow bands?

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muhasib replied to Moist von Lipwig | 2 years ago
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And the red polka dots!

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EK Spinner | 2 years ago
1 like

Is there really anything special there compared to what i provded in many other workplaces (Not all obviously).

The impressive thing is surely the quantities and that is based on the overall size of the facility they are serving. In this case its a towere block so makes sense. On a sprawling large area site then numerous smaller copies of this would make sense but be less impressive

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to EK Spinner | 2 years ago
3 likes

Yes, ours is similar although smaller. We have four self enclosed wet rooms, lockers for 60 or so people, rack space for supposedly 20 bikes although this is the let down as it is only one row of floor mounted hoops one side and one row of floor alternating wheel ramps and wheel holders the other. Neither really allow bikes to be next to each other OR offer easy access / locking options. 

The pièce de résistance is a large drying cabinet to hang the wet clothes/towels in and set going. 
 

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kil0ran replied to EK Spinner | 2 years ago
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Where I used to work we had the following (and this was since the office was opened in 2009)

  • 8 wet rooms with separate changing area - unisex, one adapted for accessibility requirement
  • Hairdryers
  • 4 toilets, one adapted
  • 50 lockers
  • Drying room
  • Secure parking (although visible from the road, and they had to modify the exit gate after a scrote managed to take the bars and pedals off a Venge (yes, really, someone was commuting on that) and slide it underneath to nick it)
  • Shortly after I left in '18 they installed a repair stand and spares/tools rack

Helped that the building manager was a motorcyclist I think, because the lockers were big and long enough to store leathers and a full face lid.

Made it super easy to cycle rather than pay the £10 to park, and for the last 5 miles of my commute it was quicker to cycle than to drive.

Admittedly didn't have the capacity of this scheme but there was space to extend it by removing the parking spaces that were given to highly paid execs (I've never understood that rationale, but then C2W rewards higher rate taxpayers too...)

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brooksby replied to EK Spinner | 2 years ago
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Bike facilities at my current office:

(1) Basement room with six sheffield stands (accessed from rear car park, locking outer gate and locking-and-alarmed inner door); no internal access from that room into the rest of the building.

And, er, thats it...

(I bring my bag up to my office, hang things on the radiator if wet, and we have no showers in the entire building).

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Mungecrundle replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Bike facilities at my current office:

(1) Basement room with six sheffield stands (accessed from rear car park, locking outer gate and locking-and-alarmed inner door); no internal access from that room into the rest of the building.

And, er, thats it...

(I bring my bag up to my office, hang things on the radiator if wet, and we have no showers in the entire building).

Luxury!

My facilities consist of:

Unused gas bottle cage round the back, by the fire escape and the rotten picnic bench. To which I can lock my bike.

Single cramped toilet with a basin.

Chair for the spare desk next to mine over which to drape cycling jacket.

Fortunately my cycle commute is neither long, nor sweaty.

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Jetmans Dad replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
2 likes

brooksby wrote:

Bike facilities at my current office:

(1) Basement room with six sheffield stands (accessed from rear car park, locking outer gate and locking-and-alarmed inner door); no internal access from that room into the rest of the building.

And, er, thats it...

(I bring my bag up to my office, hang things on the radiator if wet, and we have no showers in the entire building).

Facilities at my current workplace ... 

1. Lock it up in the same bike shed as the students use.

2. Get a shower if you are in early enough to use the sports centre changing rooms before any students are on site. 

3. ....

At least when I take up my new job at a different school in September I can put my bike in my department office. But will not be allowed to use the showers!

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Tired of the tr... | 2 years ago
1 like

Where is the "variety of racking solutions"? I can only see lots of narrow two-level contraptions plus 3 Sheffield racks.

The two-level thingies don't work well for many types of bikes and for people who are not young, strong and acrobatic. Our local supermarket installed them, and they are always empty while people chain their bikes to lampposts and shopping trolleys.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Tired of the trolls here and gone cycling instead | 2 years ago
6 likes

Well as Cycling Score is run by James Nash, and Bike Dock Solutions who make those two level thingies are run by James Nash....... 

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Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

None too shabby, but if I was being picky (for a perfect score) I'd say the Sheffield stands in the "look sharp" photo on twitter are too close to the wall. But hey, I would not be complaining!

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nniff | 2 years ago
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Not with those micro-lockers - had those at my last place. Anything damp and sweaty or wet stayed that way, so towels and clothing all got draped over the bikes.   At least is was secure - an underground car park on the corner of  Hatton Garden is not short of big steel gates and cameras -

 

Another place had heated lockers with some sort of humidity sensor - anything put in wet in the morning came out dry in the evening - amazing

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to nniff | 2 years ago
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They do mention a drying room for wet stuff. Whether there are lockers in those or whether like with us, you just hang up stuff in cabinets which anyone can access is not covered. Like the locker idea for security etc but thw water would still be pooling at the bottom for awhile and the smell from the drying cabinet is not something I would want in a small locker I might use for other things. 

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Tinbob49 | 2 years ago
3 likes

I was expecting something more than this for a perfect score. Not entirely sure what, maybe a skimpily clad free masseuse on site (of either gender) and a smoothie bar, who knows.

Then i thought, good facilites isn't exactly rocket science is it. Racks, space, showers, lockers, drying space, that's pretty much it. Makes you wonder why it seems impossible for everybody else. 

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Dave Dave replied to Tinbob49 | 2 years ago
4 likes

"I was expecting something more than this for a perfect score"

The 'score' is marketing hype from the people who installed the bike room. Nuff said.

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Captain Badger | 2 years ago
4 likes

WAS THIS PAID OUTTA MY ROAD TAX!!?!?!?!?nosurprise

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Compact Corned Beef | 2 years ago
1 like

That's very, very cool. 

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brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

OK, yeah, I'm kind of jealous...

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