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To increase bicycling, provide shower

From Plugged In, a Scientific American blog:

A shower. Of course a shower. We talk endlessly (and rightly) about bike lanes and sharrows and complete streets and the disastrous economics of free parking schemes, yet the study* showed this simple amenity — one every business in the entire western world could provide for less than $5000 — massively improves your likelihood to ride to work and accrue all the other health and environmental and psychological and business and community benefits therefrom.

A shower.

Evening Grosbeak - Coccothraustes vespertinusOf course, if you cycle to work regularly, you know this to be true already. Even with my measly 3-mile commute, I would greatly appreciate a proper shower before facing colleagues and students. (Instead, I’m relegated to the “bird bath” technique of cleaning up with baby wipes. I also bring a change of clothes whenever I think I’ll need it. And, to cover all my bases, I even keep a set of clothes in my desk drawer for those times when, oops!, I underestimate how hot or humid it is in the morning… or get caught in a freak rain shower.) I’m also lucky enough to not have to cross a bridge on my commute or climb any killer hills. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those with longer commutes.

So, sure, secure parking and a shower facility would greatly benefit those who already ride to work… but it would have an even greater effect on non-riders (or hesitant riders) by encouraging them to commute to work by bike by giving them peace of mind. That’s really the greatest takeaway from Buehler’s study.

Do any of the CUNY campuses provide showers for their employees? (How do you clean up after a ride?) If your campus has a gym, are you a member and do you use it to shower after your ride in?


Buehler, B. (2012). Determinants of bicycle commuting in the Washington, DC region: The role of bicycle parking, cyclist showers, and free car parking at work. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 17(7), 525–531. Available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1361920912000594.

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1 comment to To increase bicycling, provide shower

  • Ah the thought of a nice shower and to be equal with all my other co-workers that would be great. I do think there are many places such as learning institutions that do have some kind of shower facilitates some place could work out some thing for bicycling commuters to be able to have access to. Some big corporations also have this kind of facilities they are just not known about and made public to all workers. For this to be a common thing that showers will be available more I do believe is some time off into the future but one can always have hope.

    HC