Bike Parking Paranoia
I used to be pretty care-free about where and how I parked my bike, that is until the day my brother had his BMX bike stolen directly from him by some bullies. After that I was very careful about locking up my bike and staying away from questionable people.
Even when I started high school I used to ride all over the place but there were so many vandals that even though my bike was locked up at the school bike parking rack, they would still do things like kick-in spokes, deflate tires, or try to steal anything that wasn’t firmly bolted down like quick release wheels.
When I started driving, I stopped biking to school completely, but I still occasionally rode on the weekends with my best friend, but I always had a large twisted cable lock on my bike.
But through the years, my paranoia of having my bike stolen subsided just a bit. I would leave my bike locked outside of my workplace but when I started working at one office, I started bringing my bike into the building.
But when I started working at NOMA in Southfield, we were in the same parking lot as a rather large movie theater that saw a lot of traffic and hooligans causing ruckus in the evening. There was NO-WAY I was leaving my bike outside to be trashed or worse. So, I starting bringing my bike into my cubicle. No problems, no worries. After almost 2 years of doing this, someone in the building management decided to make it an issue and screamed at me for bringing in my bicycle. When I asked why building security never stopped me from bringing it in, she said it wasn’t their job to enforce “building policy”. So I challenged her to show me this “policy” since there were no signs forbidding bicycles. It’s not like I was riding it in the building, I always walked it.
However, even after talking to the building owner and not really getting a clear answer since it seemed like she was just trying to be neutral on the subject, I decided to start locking it on one of the benches just outside the main entrance so that it was in plain sight. The noise-maker of this whole affair then gave me a dirty look and attempted to say that I couldn’t do that either, I interupted her and demanded that the building management company either supply secure bike parking for us cycling commuters or they allow me to bring it into my office where there have been no complaints. She immediately shut up and walked away, never to be heard from again.
So, for my remaining weeks at that job, I would continue to lock my bike to the bench or periodically sneaking it in if I got in really early.
After moving to Portland, I got a job with the Port of Portland and they were awesome enough to supply a secured bike parking ROOM for all its employees. Only the people that parked their bikes in the room had the key-code to get into it. Now way was my bike getting stolen in there.
I felt lucky to have such an accomodating employer since Portland seemed to have such a high rate of theft, especially if you didn’t have a U-Lock.
I recently started working at Knowledge Learning Center (KLC) as a contractor and started parking my bike outside with several other bicycles, but being so close to a MAX stop made me a bit nervous so i started bringing my bike into my cubicle. My supervisor says it’s OK as long as it doesn’t block the walkways.
I wish more employers would give accomidations to cycles and either give them a secured location to park their bikes without transients and meth-heads trying to steal their bikes or allow us to bring our aluminum steeds into the office, but not everyone is that fortunate.
I’ve been lucky enough to never have had one of my bicycles stolen and I aim to keep it that way.
Now, no matter where I go with my bike, I always carry my 2lbs U-Lock to keep “My Precious” nice and safe. It is my main transportation, my hobby, and my passion.