Keep Your Office Clean

Drip PadIf your office doesn’t currently have a policy regarding bicycles in the office, it’s most likely because nobody has given the management a reason to create one. It’s in your best interests to keep it that way!

I’ve seen the fear of dirty carpets get bicycles nixed from offices on more than one occasion. I think there may be a misconception from non-riders that bicycles are dirty. For the most part though, bicycles are probably cleaner than the shoes that trample the carpets daily.

Having said that, there are times of the year when your bicycle will collect snow, ice, rain, or mud along your commute. Make sure you take the time to get any of the big chunks off your bike before bringing it in the office. Until your bike has a chance to dry, put something underneath it to collect the drips. Paper shopping bags work good, but lately I’ve been using the pages from my old desk top calendar. Most of the crud seems to accumulate around the cranks, bottom bracket, and front derailleur, so be sure to cover that area.

Once your bike has dried, hide those drip catchers! Also, try not to block any vital office equipment, or make other obstructions that may inconvenience others. Don’t get noticed…fly under the radar! Anything you can do to maintain a visibly clean storage area around your bike will help you keep your preferred, secure storage on the inside of the building.

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0 thoughts on “Keep Your Office Clean”

  1. printenv says:

    My work won’t let me store my bike in my cube because there once was someone who cut them self on a pedal walking by a bike. That means security won’t let anyone have a bike indoors. I wouldn’t care so much if we actually had an accessible bike rack, meaning you don’t have to go through bushes or carry your bike over other peoples cars. Plus, there is nowhere to put the bike to keep it dry and safe if it is raining out.

    My thought is we start a recycling program for all the pop bottles, let people bring in paper and stuff to recycle (would be good PR) and then use the money generated from that for bike parking and encouraging people to bike. This would also benefit them with their health costs by hopefully helping them go down. Problem is, there is no one to bring this to anymore as we just got absorbed by a gigantic company.

    I am curious if there is some way anyone has got their work to get better bike parking.

  2. david p. says:

    i work at a large regional transportation planning agency. we do not allow regular sized bikes in the elevators. security reasons. i have no idea why we cannot. some people think its because they make the carpets dirty.

    turns out, some bikers were using the storage closets for their bikes. then, when director needs a box of her business cards and you see a large, messy cannondale with cycling bibs, and crap strewn everywhere…. it’s no shocker that bikes got nixed.

    we are allowed folding bikes up in our cubes… as if any one has those.

    fortunately, we have ample bicycle parking (both racks & lockers)

    i agree with the article…fly under the radar! don’t spoil it for future commuters.

  3. Rob L says:

    I always stated that my mtnbike had company colors. It made it’s home first in an unused office, then later in the battery backup room. I managed to keep my area’s clean and the bike didn’t look junky so it was cool.

  4. Jen (SLC) says:

    I work for a pretty small company, and we have a basement entrance into our building that only we use. I can stash my bike just inside our entrance and head to my cube. It’s pretty ideal because the entrance is locked and there’s concrete floors and a drain in the area. From time to time, that entrance is blocked and I have to go in the building lobby, ride the elevator, and stash my bike in my cube. No one’s ever said anything, but sometimes I get weird looks.

  5. rick p says:

    I love keeping my bike in my office. Some people have those inspirational posters with some success quote underneath it. Why can’t a bicycle act as a actual inspirational item? Even when I meet with clients they are always happy to be doing business with a company that promotes an environmentally friendly mode of transportation. So If your employer is upset you can always play the environmental card.

  6. Jim Carson says:

    The biggest problem I’ve had is not what to do with the bike — I’m lucky that I can keep it in my office, on top of a sheet of scrap vinyl flooring to catch drips — but rather, what to do with all the wet, stinky clothes. I was fortunate that the building manager offered up my using the electrical (!) closet — it’s a warm, low-humidity environment. My stuff usually dries out in time for the ride home.

  7. Fritz says:

    Good advice, Jeff. When I cleared the office of my first “after college” job, there was a big black stain on the carpet under where I kept my bike. The office was brand new when I moved in.

    I’ve never had a problem storing a bike indoors, and these days I’m enough of a Big Swinging Diligent Worker that I make bike parking and showers a condition of my employment. These days also I have secure, covered outdoor bike storage, which is very nice.

  8. Jennifer says:

    So, uh, what’s a good brand of carpet cleaner? You know, speaking hypothetically, of course…

  9. Matt S says:

    Once (before I had an office), I tried putting my bike under the stairs. The office manager told me I couldn’t because it violated the fire code! (as if the bike will catch on fire!) That doesn’t stop them from storing the Christmas decoration *boxes* under the stairs for the whole month of December.

    I work at a clinic a block away from the hospital. Sometimes I put the bike in my office, but I’m usually at the hospital first thing in the morning. The hospital’s rack is under an overhang, well out of the elements. But twice in the last year, an ambulance backed up into the rack!

    Still, I like the good feeling that comes from seeing a rack packed with bikes. (Like today) I feel bad when I hide my bike indoors. 10 bikes in the rack lets a hospital employee know that your co-workers commute by bike, and you can too.

  10. david p. says:

    hey jennifer, i’ve used simple green to clean grease out of a carpet. if you don’t mind the zingy smell. i’d go for that.

    the wet stinky clothes does require some ingenuity. i have an empty cardboard box beneath my desk that i use to dry my shirt. i just drape it over the opening and it’s good to go at day’s end. for jackets, i put those on the back of my chair. my shorts and pants don’t get too wet, so i usually leave them in my bag. i’m in really tight quarters, and my cube-mate hasn’t complained. so i guess its working.

  11. SF Commuter says:

    When I lived in NYC I road a folding bike to work and bagged it so I could bring it inside. I had originally locked a bike outside but had parts stolen off of my bike too many times.Now in San Francisco I park in the garage under my building where they do supply bike racks.

  12. Xd says:

    here’s an idea: stash an old bike bottle (or two) full of water outside the workplace and use it to hose off the worst of the gunk before bringing it inside and minimize the drippage and mess.

  13. Jeff Moser says:

    If I were to walk around the state capital complex where I work, I’d find much nicer accommodations for smokers than for cyclists. Fancy ash trays, covered shelters, nice benches… There are a few bike racks here and there, but I think it is unreasonable to ask a bike commuter to use one. Especially if your bike is worth more than $100. It’s like asking car owners to keep their windows down.

    A standard bike rack seems to work best for quick trips like the supermarket. Places where your bike will not be unattended for more than a few minutes. A bike that is left for 8 hours or longer on a rack has a very good chance of getting stripped of parts.

    One thing I’ll be working on for bike to work week this year, is an educational packet for employees and employers that will help address the safe bicycle parking issue. I don’t think the smokers in the above example get preferential treatment, they just have a louder voice. If we speak up and demand proper facilities, I believe we can get them!

  14. James says:

    I work for the Sherwin Williams Company (NYSE:SHW) in Cleveland and I took my bike up to my office for the last 12 years. To protect the carpet, I started with an old bath towel I was given by the office Fitness Center staff. I then brought in a long scrap piece of 4mil poly I had at home and used the towel to hand dry the bike. I just dried the plastic and rolled it up under a file cabinet when I left work. Nobody ever gave me a problem storing it in the office – I was a bit of a novelty. My issue was the requirement to use the freight elevators as they only run from 7am to 5:20pm. If I arrived early or left work late, I would need to call building security to run the elevators – an inconvenience for both of us. Five months ago, after years of requests to the building management, they installed a suitable bike rack inside our office parking garage(better late than never). For a nominal $10 per year and a signature on a liability waiver, I park my bike inside the building garage three feet from the security office. Carpets are not an issue anymore and have no problems entering or exiting the building.

  15. Crotach says:

    Printenv, I do not know how helpful these will be, but I came across two websites I thought were interesting a few days ago. I was actually talking to a friend in the same boat as you – works at a place with lousy bike parking and no room in his tiny office.

    This site has a do it yourself cubicle bike rack. Maybe something like this would work for you and pass the security test?

    I also found some pretty good info on the SF Bicycle Coalition site on improving bicycle conditions on the job:


  16. Bill says:

    We’re very lucky with multiple parking options. Covered secure parking in the garage and a bike cage outside where access is granted through the company id badge. Company vehicles to use if you need one during the day. We’re also part of the regional commuter trip reduction program where all alternative commuters are entered into monthly drawings to win $25 gift cards. The only problem is that due to my position I’m stuck driving in most of the time.

  17. Fritz says:

    James, are the motorists who use the parking garage also expected to pay a fee and sign a liability waiver?

  18. Jeff Moser says:

    Crotach – Thanks for the links to the SF Bicycle Coalition. Just the info I’ve been looking for!

  19. James says:

    Yes, motorists at SW are required to have a parking contracts that contains a damage/injury liability waiver. They are assigned parking spaces, have valet parking during business hours and have 24/7 keycard access. They pay a premium for these services at around $300US per month. I have 24/7 access by ringing the buzzer and telling security my name and that I have a bike parking contract.

  20. CaptCanuck says:

    I started a new job last summer and have an office big enough to bring my bike inside. I generally commute on one of two road bikes, which I clean every week and after every wet commute. I generally use a wax based lube on the chain to avoid an oily mess.

    I generally arrive early and I park the bike against a back wall in my office, drive train facing the wall. I have a carpet runner under it in case anything drips. I hang my sweaty clothes in the shower room to dry and keep a spray bottle of Febreeze to freshen up my helmet and shoes which I bring up to my office as well.

    No one has raised an issue with bringing it indoors (yet) but I expect it’s due to the fact that they are very clean and inconspicuous in my office. Now, when I strat riding that Big Dummy to work, I will have to park it outdoors…

  21. mirc says:

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  22. mirc says:

    I always stated that my mtnbike had company colors.
    thanks a lot

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