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Bikes vs. Cars: Storage

April 25, 2017

What’s interesting about biking vs. traveling by car is storage. Lockers, cubbies and easily rentable/loanable stuff is the hallmark of a pedestrian/bike culture; car culture means people can arrive to a place with just their keys and phone and a wallet in their hand.

I’m really interested in this. It’s actually one of the biggest boons to me when driving: feeling light and easy and having all the STUFF in the car, rather than on my person. When I am biking I come encumbered. Things that make my life easier include space for me to leave my stuff safely once in a space (I really dislike lumbering through art galleries with a backpack, and don’t even get me started on carrying panniers) and rentable stuff.

For example, though I am pretty sure Stronghold Climbing Gym did not do this out of urbanist principles, they rent gear out to members for free, which makes biking there a lot more manageable on some days — don’t need to haul my stuff around to avoid paying $5 or whatever.

By contrast, my yoga place charges $2 for yoga mat rental — which, to be clear, is totally fair — but biking around all day with a yoga mat becomes a serious inconvenience. Actually, when I think of it, some yoga places in Boston and New York would allow members to store yoga mats in house for free.

Of course, the biggest thing is just culture. It’s one thing to arrive to a place with multiple bags and be seen as a bulky weirdo (am I projecting too much?) or, if you’re in a store, as a hazard, or even, possibly, a thief. (Less of an issue for me than for my men/minority friends; I’m a white, if bizarre-looking, lady and as I age, I get more and more harmless-looking, which has been quite useful.) In New York + Paris + other cities (why Paris pops up for me is a serious aside), this is just a part of normal every day life: the part of being a human with several places to go in the world.

So it’s interesting; it’s definitely a THING, which impacts my life, and in fact even sometimes influences my decision as to whether I should bike or drive. But unclear if there’s anything to be done about it or if amenities only arrive when needed.

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