Bike vs condo

24 04 2010

Condos aren’t very bike friendly.

Many have rules requiring bikes to be stored in a common bike area. Usually these aren’t much more than a stand in a storage room. Bikes of all description and pedigree are crowded in there, handlebar by seat stay, leaning this way and that. The security of the bikes is only as good as the security of the building in general, and the honesty of your neighbours. And there’s no room to clean or work on your bike.

When we were shopping for our first condo, the storage and access to our bikes were major considerations.

Between Katie and I, we have four bikes; we each have a road bike, I have a mountain bike and Katie also has a foldy. The road bikes are our pride and joy. Their security was paramount.

Our first tour of our building proved the bike lock-up woefully inadequate. But our storage locker was generously large; it could easily hold the mountain bike and foldy.

A thorough read of the strata bylaws revealed nothing that would prevent us from keeping the road bikes in our actual apartment; the rules said we couldn’t keep bikes in common areas like hallways and balconies, but they only stated we should keep them in the common storage.

So we made our offer, which was accepted, and immediately after moving in, we converted the second bedroom into our bike room/office.

So far it’s worked out pretty well. I’m always careful to carry my bike out of the building, so nobody can complain about dirty tread marks (although dirty dog paw prints seem quite acceptable), and when it’s time to clean or work on the bikes, I set up my stand on the balcony, in the sunshine, and have at it.

That’s not to say there haven’t been adjustments. Drive & rides have become a major exercise in planning; when I lived in a walk-up and parked my car on the street, I could just roll my bike out, load it up and be off, but here, I have to first take my car out of the underground, find someplace along the street to park, then come back upstairs to retrieve the bike so I can hoist it onto the roof rack. And when I come home, I have to remember to do just the opposite. Otherwise the consequences can be ugly, and expensive.

Drive and rides can get a bit complicated when you live in a condo and park your car in the underground.

Ideally, more developers would consider bike facilities in their buildings like at the Pacific Cannery Lofts in San Francisco. Not only is it a great amenity for cycling residents, it’s also a great place to meet and hang out with your cycling neighbours, and it encourages green living.

Hmmmm, maybe it’s time to infiltrate our own condo board…



One response

27 04 2010
robert Freeman

I hate to say this, but you know Tai Chi imbues the practitioner with an inner harmony that is cheap, graceful and you don’t get all hot and sticky in the bargain. It also allows one to guzzle Coca-colas like there’s no tomorrow, although the resultant pot-belly does make Tai Chi movement Number 75 ‘Creeping Low Like A Snake’ somewhat problematic.
But the Zen of anything is where you find it, so good luck with your fundraising, may you never slip a gear or encounter inclement weather.

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