Drying room

As previously blogged I don’t expect a dedicated drying room to encourage anyone to switch to cycling, but it shows that my company continues to take cycling seriously, even if only a few of its employees do, and it will make the lives of the existing cyclists a little less unpleasant.  There’s few feelings worse than donning wet gear at the end of a working day.

I was taken on a tour of the facilities and the term drying room is a bit of a misnomer, as its drying capabilities look limited to a single 13 amp fan heater.  However we have no alternatives such as radiators around the offices and it does address the main issue of space for drying kit, removing the risk of damp and dirty stuff infecting clean clothes.

This morning I pointed this problem out to the owners of 6 towels (none of them mine as I forgot to being one today) 3 pairs of trousers and 2 suit jackets all of which I thought had not moved since before the Christmas break.

I’m not going to push the lack of warmth in the new facilities as there are other requests that are more likely to make a difference to cycling and benefit more people.  The first of these is an Emergency Ride Home scheme which I will be proposing to our Executive when I present my CSR plans for 2011 next week (gulp!). 

JMP, the transport planning consultants  advising Exchange Quay Management regarding their travel plan, sent me details of a business case supporting the adoption of a scheme where anyone who travels to work by means other than their own car can claim the cost of a taxi ride home in the case of an emergency.  The EQ travel survey last year suggested that such a scheme might overcome the barrier of car sharing or taking public transport or maybe even cycling.  A case study of a company who had adopted such a scheme stated that only £15 had been paid out over a 4 years period.  I’ve got agreement that the Manchester site can pilot such a scheme for the rest of Sage, let’s hope it can be agreed locally and implimented.

The drying room still needs finishing off.  There’s a pile of stuff left over from our office refurbishment which is preventing the work being completed and signed off.  A couple of cubicles which will spare us the temptation of ‘looking at each other’s junk’ as Hendo so eloquently puts it, and lockers will offer space for cycle tools, kit and essentials such as a spare towel.

I’m looking forward to cutting the ribbon and declaring it open.

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About holmesinho

Happily married father of 2 living in Prestwich 5 miles north of Manchester, England. I cycle most days though mostly commuting and also enjoy running and triathlon.
This entry was posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Cycling. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Drying room

  1. Mr Colostomy says:

    If I had to travel a huge distance to work by bike, I’d consider gear and showing facilities to be a welcome addition to my workplace. Most people travel less than 5 miles to work, which could easily be done on a non-sporty bicycle in your work clothes without being an issue. So, the question I would respectfully like to ask is, have you considered that these facilities, whilst beneficial to the few of you who currently cycle in, might be putting off the majority of employees who do not cycle in, by making it look like they would need to buy cycle-specific clothing, a sporty bike and a shower when they get to work if they were to give it a go?

    People who like the sportier side of cycling don’t really need it promoting, they have been finding it themselves for years, even through the general decline in cycling in the UK in the past few decades. What seems to have been lost is the idea that anyone can hop on a bike in their everyday clothes and travel a few miles at about 12-15 mph without needing a shower at the other end. If a company wants more of its employees to cycle in, this could be a more productive angle to work. Obviously it is the lack of dedicated cycle infrastructure which is the main factor putting “normal” people off cycling for transport, but some of the more rational ones might be persuaded by this kind of approach.

  2. holmesinho says:

    Thanks for your comments Mr. C.
    I don’t think we are particularly typical in that most people in my department travel much further than 5 miles (furthest being Scunthorpe by train!). The showers enable a few of us travelling between 5 & 10 miles to cycle all year round. Even 5 miles in the wet with oil being thrown up off the road means that overtrousers and jacket are necessary and that’s when you start getting hot. The drying room is needed to keep all our wet gear out of the main office, H&S even prevents us from hanging a coat over the back of our chairs and around my desk is a clutter of alternative footwear, panniers and newspaper.
    In a recent survey of all the businesses on Exchange Quay, Salford, 17% (who replied) said shower facilities and lockers would encourage them to cycle. You’ll not be suprised that the most popular answer (27%) was improve cycle paths/lanes on the way to work but we can’t do much about that on our own.

    • Mr Colostomy says:

      Surely your mudguards would prevent the road oil being a problem? Even cycling in the rain isn’t so bad when the water is only coming from above (clean) rather than from above and below (filthy and possibly partially composed of urine, at least here in Manchester).

      I never enjoy wearing waterproofs on the bike, even good ones end up giving you that “boil-in-the-bag” feeling to a certain degree. I dislike my waterproofs to the point of just accepting getting wet if I am on my way home.

      I suppose the distance people travel to work will naturally vary depending on the job. I couldn’t imagine anyone getting the train from Scunthorpe for a job in a shop. I’m not surprised that the infrastructure was the top answer in the survey, although Exchange Quay is one of the more well-serviced routes for bikes. The path from the city centre along the waterside is fairly nice and reasonably direct (although the council do close the waterside route very early in the day during winter), and the Fallowfield Loop dumping out in nearby Chorlton would be useful for people coming in from anywhere along that route.

      I quite like the sound of being a company’s self-appointed Cycling Tsar.

  3. holmesinho says:

    Re mud-guards see my following post, but even with full guards on my jacket was picking up some unremovable stains. I too ride home without waterproofs unless it’s filthy wet. That path by the canal is really handy for lunchtime excussions to town for a bit of shopping but it gets a bit rough past Regents road. The mysterious ‘Quay Watch’ organisation are responsible for the gate closing at 3pm through the darker months so it has limited use for comuting. I use it as a summer alternative. Irwell City park is due to be discussed at the next Salford Cycle Forum at the end of this month so there might be another chance to improve access point and review the opening hours – It has been discussed at the forum before. Getting to the Fallowfield loop can be quite ‘exciting’ as I see the Chester Road / Trafford Road junction as a major obsticle. It’s a nightmare even as a pedestrian. I am fortunate to have options heading north, if I am a little more patient (and weather is favourable) there is NCN 6 and the option of following the path of the Irwell instead of Bury New Road.

    • Mr Colostomy says:

      I remember using the route through the summer in 2009 and then being flummoxed by the locked gate just before the bridge in October. I had assumed that some people at the council were afraid of trolls.

      The Chester Road / Trafford Road is a bit of a disaster for pedestrians and cyclists, but I bet it is officially one of the safest junctions for cyclists based on the official “accident figures” (read “negligence figures”). These routinely neglect to account for the fact that there are no cyclists in places which are horrible to cycle in, therefore no collisions involving them.

      It is always nice to find a fellow Greater Manchester bikey blogger. Have you heard about the Cycling Embassy?

  4. holmesinho says:

    I had only looked at the Embassy briefly, but just applied to join thanks to your recommendation. I’m a fan of the ’20s plenty’ campaign that Rod King is pushing and it seems to be gaining some momentum. Thanks Mr C!

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