Man's Greatest Invention

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. - Elizabeth West

Purpose and Mission

To share our experience and to encourage and inspire others to use a bicycle as a form of year round recreation and transportation. To be an example of living car-free and to help others to make the transition to having a car-light or car-free life style.

Our bodies is the engine that moves us.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What Stops You...?

With the short summers that we experience here in Calgary, I've often looked for ways to make my commute longer; like taking the long scenic way home. Commuting simply became another opportunity to ride my bike.  I was able to combine commuting with pleasure riding.  Commuting between the core and Westhills Shopping Center, I would take a route that would have me pass through the Glenmore area and around the south side of the reservoir before coming out at Weaselhead Park, then onto 37th St S.W. and then head N.W. into the Westhills area.  When I arrived at my work place, I had the ability to bring my bike indoors.  I could then look forward to the ride home.

The view from the entrance to the park @ 37th St. S.W.

Two of the most often stated obstacles preventing cyclists from commuting on their bikes are the lack of secure parking and the inability to shower and change before walking into the office.  Are you one of those people?  Would you use a different bike to commute with if you knew for certain your bike would be there when you came to retrieve it?  Would you find a shower facility in close proximity to your parking spot useful?  How would you feel if this was within a few minutes walk to the office?  What would you be willing to pay for this kind of convenience and security?  Would you use your bike more if these services were available to you?

Specifically, would you use your bike instead of driving your car and paying the high cost of parking in the core?  And would you use your bike instead of public transit?

Please feel free to comment, we want to hear from you.


  1. I agree this is an obstacle that comes up often in my office. It goes beyond just people not willing to ride as well. I have a number of co-workers who tell stories of the time at there old job where they would go out and get a good run in over the lunch hour, often commenting how they haven't been in that kind of shape since those days but they don't do that any more as they can't take a shower.

    I have the privilege of having semi secure parking and that makes it much easier to bring the bike down town. The thing that I don't have is a shower except for the canned variety that I carry with me. Now the lack of a shower does not really deter me from riding as I have my own opinions on societies perception of cleanliness, but on the days where I should probably clean my self up better having the ability to freshen up would be a pretty nice option. Currently I commute about 17 km each way so on a warm summers morning, If I have the urge to really hammer down I arrive down town looking more like a dog through the wash then a professional but probably enjoyed that more then the next 8 hours in the office so it is worth it. A downtown facility with parking toiletries, and a pro-shop that one could pick up a quick snack or hot cup of coffee or get a quick tune up done so you can get you bike home would be great in Calgary. The cars have a service station on nearly every corner in Calgary, and the cyclists and path way users don't see nearly as many convenience's in the services type arena.

  2. i have thought of this as well, The trouble would be finding an affordable place to to lease. To be useful, it needs to be in the core, and rents down there....It could be made to work, with an efficient way of packing the bikes in, but the setup cost would be steep. Also, how do you get large numbers of riders through he showers? They will typically expect to be arriving within a similar time window. Lots of shower stalls would be the answer of course, but again, setup cost...

    Personally, I park the bike in the warehouse, and the new building we are promised is supposed to be getting a shower, so I should be set.

  3. I am fortunate enough to have secure parking downtown, and my workplace has shower facilities. Even if I didn't have showers, I'd still ride and just use some wet wipes or something to clean up with. The thing that makes it tough for me is the clothing. Packing a shirt and pants to work every day is great if you can get away with khakis and a slightly wrinkled polo from a company golf tourney. If you have to wear a suit or tie, forget it. You need to be able to have your clothing looking fairly sharp when you are presenting yourself to others. It really makes a difference.

    I'd suggest that there be a way to store not only bikes in a secure environment, but also work clothing. It would be fantastic [particularly for those of us stuck in cubes] to ride downtown, park our bikes, drop off the helmet, jacket and bike shoes. Jump in the shower, get out and put on our work clothes. You could get them laundered at the adjacent dry cleaner if you didn't want to take them home. Right now, I keep ~12 shirts, 3 pair of pants, 1 pair of shoes and a belt at work. The shirts and pants get laundered downtown, and never come home unless I change jobs.

    The bike lockup needs to be available 24/7, and should really be keycard accessible. You buy a membership, and the base level gets you a secure place to lock your bike up. Upgrade your membership to include access to the showers and change room. A final upgrade gets you a clothing locker adjacent to the shower/change room. Placement of the facilities should be at the West and East ends of downtown, as that is the axis along which the largest employers reside.

  4. I'm not in Calgary, but I still think this is a great idea. I work at a university, so I'm pretty scared of leaving my bike outside on campus - I only ride if I can bring it into my office. Showering isn't as much an issue for me.

  5. My question would be, What is a fair price to pay for the security and convenience?

  6. Fortunately I have secure bike parking so no issues there. No shower facilities.. however I make use of the "wet-wipes" (aka baby-wipes) which seem to do a terrific job (plus Deodorant), throw on some clothes, then head to the bathroom for a facewash and hair-fixup. Clothing... much of it tends to be at work (office), and slowly gets rotated and/or laundered downtown. Commuting is relatively problem free, lack of shower facilities are more an inconvenience than the deal-breaker som many folks choose it to be.

  7. To answer your question regarding fair cost. I like the idea of a city government sponsored program for businesses to support alternative transport whether it be secure bike parking or change/shower facilities for those who choose to walk, blade, or ride.