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Biking to Work Is a Great Idea, But…

| Friday July 10th, 2009 | 6 Comments

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Many businesses, whether by legal mandate, internal desire, or to save money, are seeking creative ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Offsetting and making improvements on your facility are a great move, but then there’s the human component: You and your staff, how and where they work, and how they get there. Inevitably, bicycling to work is mentioned as an option.


Biking to work is a good idea. In theory. The reality can be much less appealing. Depending on your location, there may be minimal or no bike parking. You arrive to work sweaty. You may find your bike stolen at the end of the day. Your coworkers snicker behind your back.
Ok, perhaps not the last one, but the others are a real concern for most people, and a hindrance to more opting for this choice that’s beneficial in so many ways: reduced road traffic, emissions, space needed for parked vehicles, and health care needs of those who are doing the biking.
Brisbane Australia’s Penny Farthings has come up with an intriguing solution to all of these problems:
Green%20Pod%20Bike%20to%20work%20facility%20showers.jpgThe Green Pod. In roughly the same space as one parking spot, this structure can hold 10 bicycles, 10 lockers plus spaces to shower and change, or 20 lockers, 2 showers, 2 changing spaces, no bikes.
It’s configured to allow for solar panels to be installed on the roof to power it, has a solar hot water heating system, card activated locking, motion sensitive LED lighting, a grey water treatment unit that can then discharge the water into areas it can be put to use, say irrigating plants or lawn on site.
And it even cleans itself. I’m curious what with, if that too is consistent with its sustainable approach.
In designing a facility that accomplishes so much with so little space, with the ability to be freestanding, no need for outside power, it allows for flexibility of placement without requiring additional construction resources/integration with other structures, save for the water supply.
And if your company uses a commercial parking lot, it doesn’t monopolize space that might be otherwise profitable to the parking lot operator. The worst you’d need do is pay for one parking space monthly. A small fee for an all around beneficial choice being made much more easy to choose.
The only hindrance to this is that it’s currently out of Australia, far from many places where it would most benefit. Partnerships in other countries perhaps?
Readers: What other innovative, efficient ways are you seeing for companies to become more sustainable?
Additional bike to work resources:
How to Bike to Work (Or Anywhere Else)

But Won’t I Stink if I Ride My Bike To Work?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums.


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  • http://www.artformfunction.com Michaelc

    Using an electric bike cuts your effort in half so you do not end up sweaty on arrival and there are plenty of folding bikes that collapse in seconds and easily fit under a desk or in a closet.

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    That’s great Michael. Any electric or folding bikes in particular you recommend?

  • Greg

    I ride an Ezee Torq electric bicycle to work everyday. It has really worked well as a commuting vehicle. The ride is 4.5 miles. Here in Mississippi, it gets quite hot and humid. This bike has allowed me to ride my bike to work without sweating so much that it becomes a problem for my coworkers. I have put 1,400 miles on the bike just commuting to and from work.

    • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

      That’s great to hear Greg. I recently discovered that a friend is making electric bikes and trikes, called Smile Bikes. And they make “pushalong trailers,” which do as they say, push you along, from behind. Check them out at http://smilebikes.com/

  • Uncle B

    Sadly, the poor American workers are forced by American convention to subsidize the most profitable locations for their vulture capitalist exploiter corporations, and are even thankful for the opportunity! In China, free dorms are provided! free cafeterias, free company garb for the shift duration, and free transport to and from the factories! Americans are forced by American convention and corporate propagandists to spend a huge portion of their wages on automobiles, then run them at the corporation’s convenience, to fit the corporations shifts! Wouldn’t the proletariat, the peons, the “armpits” of America rather work in “sessions”, domiciled for free, in the factories, and return at the end of a “session” or “work-period” back home, paycheck intact! Totally applicable to the individual’s pet project? An “Eco-Ark” retirement dream home? A place in the country? Instead Americans line themselves up on roadways in expensive and brren suburias and wear out very expensive and not to durable cars and burn enormous amounts of very expensive gasoline, not even the cheaper diesel? and oblige employing corporations to “rip them off” with ridiculously short shifts, the only provision in some cases, free drinking water and toilet paper! Nobody should be forced to play this game of exploitation just to have a job! It is inhumane and cruel punishment for the honest, eager, and willing worker, at best!

    • Nick Aster

      Congrats. You win the prize for most incoherent rant this month!