Heidi Dietrich, formerly of Patch and now with the Gates Foundation, brags about some of the company’s awesomely cushy facilities for people who bike to work. From a huge, secure bike parking room to swanky showers to a room specifically designed to dry your wet clothes, the new Gates building sounds like it is truly making efforts to encourage people to cycle.
These are the kinds of decisions that make sense when you don’t offer free parking to your employees. By providing an incentive for people to take transit, walk or bike, a building can use money and space typically spent building and maintaining parking garages on other things, like creating some of the best bike commuter amenities in the city.
Add to that the increases in worker productivity and accuracy as well as decreases in missed time, and rooms designed to dry rain jackets start to make a lot of business sense.
When I bike to Gates, I use my key card to enter the secure, employees-only garage. I then walk my bike to the bike room, which has mounted hooks for some 140 bicycles. I’ve been impressed by how many hooks are in use during the coldest, rainiest part of the year. I’m told that the room is even more hopping in the summer months.
The dry, light, and secure bike room offers both ample rack space and a bike pump in case anyone needs to add air to their tires. Gates employees can access the room 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Once I leave my bike inside the garage, I can head to either the mud room or the women’s shower room. The mud room contains racks and hooks for drying out wet biking clothes. Special heat and ventilation allow riders to air out their drenched outfits during the work day.
The locker and shower room also provides a number of amenities. Tons of lockers and drying hooks provide more space to stash gear. The room reminds me more of a posh gym’s locker room than workplace showers, as it comes stocked with clean white towels, lotions, soaps, and feminine products, all free of charge. It’s by far the swankiest office shower room I’ve ever been in.