You Don’t Ride a Bike to a Corporate Office Building



New York cyclists know that corporate office buildings are often not the friendliest places for bike commuters. Lynette Chang, a.k.a. "The Gal From Down Under," has been recording her attempts to enter Manhattan office towers with her folding bike. In this video she dresses up nicely, folds her bike neatly and tries to visit the PricewaterhouseCoopers building in Midtown. She is rebuffed by a meathead building manager who insists, "you don’t ride a bike to a corporate office building" and, leave it outside, since "nobody steals bikes."

  • carfreenation

    In terms of bike theft, maybe we can convince the police to do the type of sting that they do with bags in the subway. The police could put a bike on a rack with a minimal lock, and watch surreptitiously. If someone clips the lock, the intent to steal is obvious (which is different from the ambiguity associated with the current initiative to catch people picking up unattended bags in the subways). It wouldn’t take long for the word to get out that taking even an unprotected bike can result in jail time.

  • ddartley

    The struggle ahead is still long and hard, but the day when “meathead building managers” abandon this notion is NOT FAR OFF, I promise you!

    Incidentally, last night I was watching something on the D.C. reporter who first broke the story on the corruption of former Rep. Randi “Duke” Cunningham. In one early segment, they show the reporter heading to work at the National Press Building on his bike, and bringing his bike indoors:

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/expose/episode218/watch.html

    at around 2:20.

  • Josh

    “nobody steals bikes”? What?

  • He’s obviously not a bike rider. Never buy an expensive bike, that’s just a target for thieves.

  • ln

    F.Y.I.

    Regarding the linked video of bringing a bike to the NYPL building at 42 and 5th. There used to be an indoor bike rack at the 40th st. staff entrance. I used it everyday when I worked there, and have used it since when I went there for research, but not for a while…

  • Gwin

    As Michael1 pointed out, the solution to this issue is simple: don’t get a fancy bike. Who needs an expensive bike for city commuting, anyway??

    My bike cost $70. I have been parking it outside at both home and work for several years and have never had a problem. It looks like hell, but it works perfectly — what more could you ask for?

    In fact, in my 10 years of riding in NYC, I have never had a bike stolen — because they have all been beaters.

  • Other than eBay, does anyone know where to get cheap bikes? Seems I have outgrown by old 10-speed. Yes, 10.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    I think this is some wacked-out New York City thing because I never had a problem bringing my folding Brompton into a office building, restaurant, etc. It’s sitting right next to me, under my desk at work as I type this.

  • Gwin

    Michael1: Frank’s Bikes on Grand Street and the bike shop on E. 6th between 1st and A (I don’t know the name) both sell used, reconditioned bikes.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Also, Michael1, there’s Recycle-A-Bicycle, which many Streetsblog commenters have been connected to in some way:

    http://www.recycleabicycle.org/

  • nimoss

    Recycle-a-Bicycle is great. Actually, every bike shop I’ve been in to NYC has been fantastic.

    I’d especially recommend New York Cyclist at 301 W 110th St for any uptown folks. The shop is a one man show. Landon is just the most awesome guy. He’ll show you how to fix your bike for free.

    Hey Clarence, Streetfilms should do short segments on NYC bike shops. You wouldn’t believe the stories you get from the guys who are on the front lines of NYC’s bike scene ever day.

  • Thanks Gwin and nimoss, I’ll definitely check out both those places. You said the magic word: “used”. Check out the one on 110th Street since I go to CCNY anyways.

  • curmudgeon

    Michael1,
    10 speed is the new 10 speed. But instead of 2 x 5, it could be 1 x 10.

    Nimoss, New York City Cyclist on 110th St. is now closed. But there are shops close by at 106th & Columbus, and 104th & Amsterdam.

    Building manager’s are anti-bike bigots. Last week, I saw a post somewhere, where a cyclist was told that the building could allow bikes, because it may fall while being transported in the elevator, and hurt someone. Where are all the data and statistics of injuries and deaths caused by bicycles in buildings? How many people have tried to escape fires in high-rises, only to succumb because a bike was in their way? I’m sure we’ll be seeing a study soon from Department of Health, FDNY, or the Dept. of Buildings about this dire threat to public health and safety.

    Just remember: that building manager who thinks your bike is an obstruction, is probably also the SUV driver who thinks you’re in the way on the road too.

  • Jonathan

    Curmudgeon, building managers are often retired firefighters. I recently sat through my office building’s emergency action plan briefing, which went into exquisite detail about building collapses and how we should keep a flashlight and whistle and N95 respirator mask with us at all times so we can be rescued when the floor falls in. They probably see bicycles as dangerous because you could be hit on the head with the handlebar as the collapse happens. Or that they get parked in emergency exits where they could block evacuations.

  • rob

    I tried to get into the Met with my folding bike and was told that no bikes were allowed. It was in a bag that was to small so it was visible but I am sure that if it had been zipped up it would have been no problem to leave it in the coat room like the bag I saw comming out when I was heading in?

  • Will

    I agree with Gwin and others. For 6 years I have been riding everywhere in Manhattan and beyond on a 20 year old 10 speed and have locked it everywhere during the day and overnight (East Village mostly) using a $30 Kryptonite U-Lock. The only thing ever stolen was an unlocked quick release rear wheel. I have since bolted down both wheels.

    I was always told bike theft was a huge problem in NYC. Maybe that was true 10 or 20 years ago but it doesn’t seem to be the case now, at least not with a bikes that are considered undesirable by thieves. My 10 speed doesn’t look good but it goes as fast as I need it to, probably faster than the somewhat costly fold up and mountain bikes. The bike was harldy used when I bought it for $100 off of craigslist.

    Just wanted to share my observation on that.

  • Firstly, thanks curmudgeon about the bike store update.

    Secondly, Will pointed out another anti-theft trick in that to always buy a bike with bolted down tires. I’ve seen bikes with quick release and that’s just a target for thieves to take. A good U-Lock is good too or do what my friend does and get the big ass American Master lock. Weighs a brick but try cracking that!

  • Eric

    I’ve got to say, I don’t really think “don’t get a fancy bike” is the answer. Sure, maybe there’s some environmental benefit to recycling a bike rather than buying a new one, but I don’t think that’s the point you’re trying to make. The solution to inadequate bike parking or hostile building management is not riding a crappy bike, it’s getting the bike parking implemented and changing the anti-bike bias.

    It’s kinda like telling people they should conceal their iPods when riding the subway so they don’t get stolen. Common sense, maybe; solving the larger problem, not even close.

  • Eric

    And one more thing. Is it me, or does shooting video of yourself and the guy on the bike next to you while riding down the Hudson River Greenway seem like a slightly dangerous thing to do?

  • Since starting this experiment a couple of years ago things have moved along – the Bikes in Buildings bill has been passed:
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/12/11/banned-from-bringing-your-bike-to-work-the-laws-on-your-side-now/
    but of course, there’s still the question of storage – it’s still easier if you’ve got a folder.
    Some more experiments since then – largely for fun:
    http://www.bikefriday.com/tikitontrial
    Shooting while riding dangerous? Hmmm, well, I been doing it a long time, and it’s way easier than trying to open and eat a Powerbar while riding – no ridiculously impossible wrapper to try and chew off …

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