Commuting by bike is more than just riding your bike to and from your destination. What you do with your bike and facilities to clean up after the ride are just as important as finding the best route to your destination.
Ideally your destination has a secure bike room for locking up your ride, lockers for wet gear, and showers for cleaning yourself up. I suspect these facilities are few and far between — although, admittedly the building that I work at has them. UBC, for example, has a number of bike lockers, and bike cages to store your bike and your gear.
But if you’re not so lucky to have access to these, what then?
If your destination is close to a Skytrain station, you might be able to rent a bike locker from Translink. They have a number of secure bike lockers at most Skytrain stations that you can rent for a mere $10/month (3 months at a time, key deposit required). You can check out which stations have these bike lockers at: Translink.ca/en/Cycling/Bikes-on-Transit/Bike-Lockers.aspx
If you’re parking downtown, EasyPark has dedicated (and free, mostly) bike parking in 6 parkades. You can find a list of these sites at: Easypark.ca/about-easypark/parking-programs/motorcycles-and-bikes.aspx
If you don’t have in-building parking, are too far away from a Skytrain station, and are too far from one of the Easypark garages, your options are pretty limited. If you’re lucky, you’re near one of the bike corrals the city has installed. A bike corral is on-street parking where about 12 bikes can park in a space the size of an on-street car parking spot. There are a few in high-bike-traffic areas, such as the JJ Bean at 6th and Commercial.
Otherwise you’re left to trying to find something else to lock your bike to: a small bike rack or, if you’re desperate, a parking meter or traffic sign. Locking your bike to a parking meter or traffic sign, by the way, contravenes a rarely-enforced Vancouver bylaw.
Bike commuters, chime in: where do you leave your bike while at work? Do you bring your bike into your workplace, or do you lock it up somewhere else?