Monday, October 9, 2017

How not to build a cycle park

A brand new, recently opened office building in Cambridge has been built with the worst cycle parking access I have ever seen. The block attracts some of the highest rents in the city, and there are very limited car parking spaces available to people working in the block, so almost everyone is expected to arrive by bike, foot or public transport. You're going to need a big cycle park, and here it is, in the basement of the building:

So far so good. But I am full of admiration for the cyclists that have managed to get their bikes down there. This is the challenge required to use it...

Having got through the double door entrance, its down two steep flights of stairs, either carrying your bike, or using the slippery side ramps:

Then that special late addition to the original planning application, a sharp right angled turn:

And then its on to the third flight of stairs, and finally on through the two sets of fire doors:

A fit, able-bodied cyclist with a light bike and no panniers would struggle with these stairs - anyone else - I suspect the cycle park is utterly useless. For the lucky few with car parking spaces, there is of course a ramp that would be much better for cyclists:

But any cyclist daring to try using this faces the wrath of the building managers. Remember this is a brand new, high profile office building in the cycling capital of the UK - how has something so rubbish been built? Do we blame the developers who built it, or the Council that gave it planning permission? Perhaps we should ask Alexa?

If you are fed up with this kind of nonsense, please considering joining the Charity Camcycle ( - Camcycle volunteers spend a lot of time reviewing and commenting on planning applications to try stopping stuff like this getting through - sometimes complaints are ignored by the planners, sometimes late amendments slip through the net, but many, many times applications are improved for cyclists with benefits for all road users.


  1. I could have written this myself.
    I have a very heavy bike and it would be madness to even try and get the bike into the bike park, I'd damage myself, the building or my bike.
    I'd have had no choice but to leave my bike at the station parking, and since I didn't want it to be stolen, I've basically given up on riding to work and drive in.

    Since the goods lift is in a very stupid place, it can't be used either. I imagine that also made life quite difficult for fitting out the building, it would have been very difficult to get large objects in!

    Overall, the building seems quite badly designed, which given it's a simple cuboid with windows is quite a feat!

    Well done, Brookgate.

  2. You're famous, indirectly

  3. I'm afraid it tbat was where I worked, I wouldn't care very much how wrathful the manager got, I'd be using the ramp, and I'd have formed a BUG to fight for cyclists' rights. Presumably the building had to have a travel plan to get permission, so I'd be seeking the support of the local authority too.

  4. The bike and car entrances are side by side, and there's a security guard by the entrances from early to mid morning, partly to ensure delivery drivers for neighbouring buildings don't block access, partly to supervise deliveries to the building (construction is still underway on some floors), but also it seems to prevent cyclists using the car ramp!

  5. You're not on your own. In my previous building (Hobart, Aust.) the ramp had a sign instructing cyclists to dismount (after one rider ran into a car.) It was universally ignored as it's safer to ride down the ramp than walking it in cleats.
    When new tenants asked for some improvements if they were to obey the sign or remove it the building manager instructed the area was no longer to be used for bike parking and cyclists were forbidden and swipe access disabled.
    When it was suggested that a campaign of civil disobedience take place re using it or parking bikes in offices we were reminded that failing to follow a proper direction of our manageent could be an issue with HR.