Most landlords or board members have heard requests for bike storage rooms from their tenants. Some board members may not have ridden a bike in over 20 years, and don’t understand the need for an entire room dedicated to bicycle storage. If you are included in that group, let’s have some bicycle education time and discuss why storage rooms are a good idea.
The first reason most boards don’t think that bikes need a storage room is because many people think that bikes are easily stored. They are supposed to come with kickstands, right? Not anymore. Bike shops no longer mount kickstands on bikes because they are able to charge for kickstands if they don’t come with the bike automatically. A kickstand will never be found on an expensive road bike or triathlon bike because it would hinder the aerodynamics of the bicycle. So, over the past 20 years, the kickstand as a built-in storage method is no longer viable.
The second reason is probably one that building owners have heard from guys and gals wearing head-to-toe spandex outfits and helmets. A new brand of biker has emerged over the past 20 years. We now see the “serious biker.” These people are passionate about biking and will put on many miles at a time on their bikes. These tenants may own 2 or 3 bikes, each for different types of terrain or weather. The cost of some of these bikes can cost anywhere from $5000 – $15,000. This may help explain these passionate riders’ desire to have a nice organized place to store their investments. Locking up one of these expensive bikes outside will guarantee that it will disappear in less than 30 minutes.
From a building owner’s perspective, there are many good reasons to set aside some space for a bicycle storage room. The obvious one is the damage that bicycles cause when being carried through the hallways, up elevators or stairwells and into doors that are too small for the bikes. Pedals are sharp. They cause significant damage to paint and woodwork. Ask any building maintenance employee about the constant paint touch ups that are required. The majority of them are probably caused by bicycles.
To throw a wrench in the decision about whether or not to provide a bike room, there is now a law that mandates that a building must allow tenants to take their bikes from the street to their offices in commercial buildings. Commercial landlords are not immune to the bike storage problem and in fact, are required by law to allow the bikers to carry their bikes through the halls. So, as a building owner, it would be best to provide the bicycle parking space that everyone has been requesting instead of seeing the hallways and stairwells turn a nice shade of “scratched up.”
Another reason for a bike room is that being “green” is all the rage these days. Providing a bicycle storage area can help prospective buyers or renters see your building as environmentally progressive. Also, if a building is going for its LEED certification, a bike room will net it one point!
Lastly, the best reason for putting in a bike room or bike storage area is that is can make money! The tenants want the parking and are usually willing to pay a little to have a safe, secure place to park their bikes. Bike storage racks are a onetime investment. If rent is collected on bike parking spots similar to car parking spaces, the money can be made back in a couple years at most. After that, the rest is pure profit. This is a win-win situation for all parties. The bikers get their storage space and the landlord or condo board gets to make some additional money off the project.
Bike storage rooms do not need to be a difficult project. There are companies, like Rudy Rack or Bargold Storage, who can assist in the design and installation of the project. It can be an inexpensive project, using storage racks that are as inexpensive as $25.00 per bike. Space is a luxury in New York City, but you would be surprised where bicycles can be stored. Wide hallway? That works. Odd sized parking space that no one uses? You can get 16 bikes in that space. Sometimes, the key is enlisting help from professionals that do this for a living.
The next time a man wearing skin tight bike shorts and a neon yellow jersey stops you in the hallway and requests a better spot to store his bicycle, think about the advantages of adding in a bike room instead of the hassle. Happy tenants equal long term tenants and the possibility of extra income for the board or landlord.