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I’m not supposed to tell anyone, but …

January 27, 2011

This blog post was written in a whisper.

My apartment managers gave me access to my very own bike storage room!

Remember how I used to whine about having to haul my bike up to my third-floor apartment? Well, all that has changed.

I now have a key and permission to use a small room in the building next door. The room has all the hallmarks of great bike storage:

  • Dry
  • Secure
  • On the first floor

How did I land this little car-free gem?

It started with a sign on the door to my building, which read something to the effect of:

“There are two bicycles locked to the railing in the stairwell on the third floor of this building. The owners of the bicycles need to remove them immediately or property management will remove the locks and store the bikes.”

I live in a 325-square-foot studio apartment. When you eat, sleep, work, and play all in one room, space is obviously highly valuable. Now, I had to squeeze my bike in there too.

Also, un-wedging my bike from behind the couch creates one more obstacle to riding it and getting where I want to go. Another worry was that its tire tracks would leave permanent carpet stains.

When I told my friend, Tom, he replied with a reasonable suggestion: “Ask them where they planned to store the bikes—and if you can store it there yourself!”

I went to my leasing office.

“I’ve been storing my bike in the stairwell for six months without incident,” I said.

“It violates fire code,” they said.

“I just resigned my lease,” I said. “This is a significant issue for me.”

“We might be able to give you access to a storage room in one of the buildings,” they said. “But you aren’t going to go around telling your neighbors about it, are you?”

“I’m willing to help find a solution for everyone,” I said. “But I need a place to store my bike now.”

Within the afternoon, the amazingly responsive maintenance team at my apartment had made keys, tracked me down, and led me to the storage room. I nearly hugged them.

Too bad I’m sworn to secrecy.

I can’t name them here to sing their praises publicly. Also, too bad not everyone in my building can utilize this ultra-convenient resource. The room could fit four or five bikes comfortably, but right now I’m the only one with a key to the room.

I understand my apartment manager’s position. The room’s not big enough to fit the bikes of all residents. Also, if they gave access to more than one resident, they might be addressing theft issues. Plus, people might take advantage of the set-up and try to store more than just a bike there. (Don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind.)

If I had my way, here’s what they’d do:

  • Designate a few more unused, first-level rooms as bike storage spaces.
  • Put a bike rack in each room.
  • Offer all residents to store one bike there for a $5 monthly fee.

Think that would be a good solution?


4 Comments leave one →
  1. tallpawl permalink
    February 7, 2011 10:39 pm

    I’m glad that worked out for you.
    This is always a major issue for me, where to store my bike when I get to where I’m going (also my panniers & rain gear depending on the season… so high maintenance).
    However, it is pretty amazing what you get if you just ask.

    • avaerewyck permalink
      February 9, 2011 12:33 pm

      I really can’t believe my good luck – or was it luck? It seems rare that I’m able to channel my frustration into a plausible solution or to approach someone to calmly ask for help. More often, I just gripe about it to friends or express my grievance curtly to customer service reps. Here I communicated my issue un-angrily, asked for a solution, and I got it! So my take-home lesson here is: Before getting angry, I need to reach out and give people the chance to help me.

  2. Mike permalink
    February 14, 2011 10:35 pm

    Is your post accurate – you live in an 80 square foot apartment – or did you make a typo – or were you being facetious?

    • avaerewyck permalink
      February 16, 2011 11:42 pm

      No, Mike, my post is NOT accurate. Good catch! My studio apartment is 325 square feet – still pretty small, but not THAT small. I live in Denver, not NYC – or Alcatraz! Sorry for any confusion. I wasn’t trying to be clever, just a slip-up. Thanks to your attention, I’ve fixed it now. Where are you joining us from?

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