Saturday, February 4, 2012

Rack Me Up

New York City Dep. of Tran. image, from New York Times story on bike racks.

Rang some bells this morning at the Trans America building in Cedar Rapids— MMU bell-ringing group was taped for an Eastern Iowa Variety Telethon, a children’s charity, in March.

I noted as I entered the big insurance company building at the corner of 42nd and Edgewood that they have a bright blue chunk of metal right by the entry.

It was a bike rack.

Well, cool for them. I’m not totally sure, in context, how useful it is, because 42nd Street is pretty dicey for biking, but it’s nice that a company encourages biking and puts the rack right by a door.

Would that all places of business were so thoughtful. The gym that I belong to recently changed locations. They used to have an old neglected bike rack at their former location, but removed it. I then began chaining by bike to the railing that led to their entrance—always on the outside of the railing in the hopes that it wouldn’t get in the way.

They have moved to a new building. There is no railing, no bike rack, no obvious place to park on two wheels. In the summer, if I start biking there, I wonder what they’ll say if I park my bike inside?

It seems to me that a neighborhood gym ought to anticipate that some of its members would rather not drive there … after all, isn’t the percent of bikers (or walkers) a bit higher among the types of people likely to use gyms?

Mount Mercy has a fair number of bike racks, one near my building, Warde Hall, although it’s also true that the newest buildings—Basile, the U Center, even the library—are sans racks. That lack isn’t a problem for me except when I want to park near the library, when I end up doing the “chained to a railing” strategy.

Anyway, in a country battling sedentary lifestyles, I think it only makes sense for employers and places of business to be both bike and pedestrian friendly. I realize that the reality is that most employees/students/clients/customers will drive and need parking lots and that cars and stupid ugly oversize SUVs have to be a priority, but walkers and bikers have fairly modest, inexpensive needs that can be met.

I don't know if you can tell, but in my opinion an ugly old bike is way cuter than a shiny new Suburban.

And bike racks can be whimsical and fun, just so long as they are thoughtfully located and functional.

No comments:

Post a Comment