I took a brief tour of the new downtown museum expansion the other day, and the architect said there will be bike racks and showers for employees. Those features are among several elements of the project that should improve the museum’s chances of getting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as a “green” building. I hope they help, and I’m happy to see project managers making an effort to accommodate bike commuters.
But while driving home, I wondered how many workers hear of the rare employers that offer such amenities, and then make the excuse that they can’t ride to work because their companies don’t offer showers or locker rooms. Let’s face it, Americans are masters at rationalizing laziness.
Since graduating from college 22 years ago, I’ve worked for five different companies, and only one provided exercise and shower facilities. That probably makes me lucky—I’d be willing to bet that the average working American has never had an employer provide any equipment or facilities to accommodate healthy lifestyles.
That’s no excuse for not riding to work.
And if you’re trying to use it as an excuse, you’re part of the problem.
Most companies aren’t proactive or imaginative enough to invest in long-term investments to encourage bike commuting where none exists. They look at a building full of people and see one or two bike commuters—if any—and wonder why they should spend money on a “nonexistent” issue.
American workers—including those who call themselves bicyclists but continue driving to work—need to suck it up and start a movement, one bike at a time. No more using excuses like, “Oh, I have to dress nice for my job,” or “what about my hair?” Toughen up, buttercup. Adapt a little bit, like the rest of us have done for years. And encourage others to do the same. It’s not that hard.
Tired of being ignored when you ask your employer for help? That’s because you’re numerically insignificant when the bean counters measure things like lower annual insurance claims and the reduced cost of providing employee parking.
You’re going to continue being rejected when groups of three or four people ask for new bike racks, indoor bike parking or showers.
You need a group of 20, or 40, or 60.