Cyclists commuting to work in Los Angeles rush hour traffic is a sight I thought I’d never see. Even just a few years ago, seeing a cyclist commute in LA was as rare as a drop of rain in July here. More and more, though, I see at least one or two—sometimes even multiple groups—of saddled-up commuters every day. While the safety of cyclists may be the first thing you think of when you think of LA traffic, it turns out that cycling in LA isn’t as dangerous as you might think, and there seems to be no slowing of new cycling trends.
In fact, in August 2015, the LA City Council 2015 approved Mobility Plan 2035—a two-decade strategy aimed at getting Angelenos out of cars and onto buses, bikes, and trains. And as more and more environmentally-minded millennials flood into the city, the demand for bicycle-friendly amenities is only growing. This includes your apartment block. With more people swapping their steering wheels for handlebars, renters are going to expect (and pay for) facilities that help them store and look after their bikes. As a multifamily owner, the best thing you can do is anticipate these trends and become bicycle-ready.
Internal Apartment Upgrades for Bicycle Owners
Let’s start with upgrades that can be made to your units themselves. There are a couple of improvements you can implement to make residents’ apartments a better place to store bicycles, especially if you don’t have any shared storage options available:
- Bicycle hooks are an obvious and affordable place to start. These are relatively small metal hooks that can be placed on almost any kind of wall and that are strong enough to hold a bicycle. Not only do bicycle hooks give owners the opportunity to store their bikes safely in their homes, but it also allows them to do it in a space-efficient manner, which also means you don’t have to worry about complaints of bikes littering communal spaces.
- Dedicated closets can be a solid alternative if apartments are too small to hang a bicycle. These can also be multipurpose, so residents who don’t cycle aren’t stuck with a space they will never use.
- Flooring options are another thing you may wish to consider. If tenants are going to start bringing their bikes into their apartments, you’re going to want to make sure that this doesn’t involve damaging your property. Carpeted floors are a magnet for dirt and could become an issue. Luckily, you have an array of flooring alternatives to choose from.
Before carrying out these renovations, you’ll also want to think about the accessibility of your multifamily. It’s no good creating bicycle-friendly apartments on the 9th floor of a block that has a tiny elevator, or doesn’t have one at all. If this is the case, you can consider adding runnels to your stairways so that residents can easily push their bikes up and down staircases rather than having to carry them.
Communal Bike Rooms for Parking and Repairs
Upgrading individual apartments isn’t necessarily appropriate for larger complexes, especially if there is enough space on the first floor or in the basement to create a communal bike room. These rooms don’t have to be fancy—the idea is simply to bring traditional outdoor bicycle storage inside the building to offer residents a little more security.
At a bare minimum, your space needs enough room to install several bicycle racks—we’d recommend having two spaces for every apartment in your complex. Don’t forget to accommodate for different types of bicycles, as well. It’s not necessary, but you may wish to add small lockers so that residents can store their helmets and other cycling accessories, as well as a table or area where tenants can make repairs.
One benefit of a dedicated bicycle lot or space is that not a whole lot of additional security is needed. Residents will be responsible for locking up their bicycles as if they were in public, so as long as you have secure access to the complex, a lock on the bike room itself isn’t required. If your multifamily is open to anyone, however, then you should consider installing a secure access system. In addition, you may also wish to add a security camera to act as a deterrent or provide evidence if the worst does happen.
Private Storage Lockers Keep Bicycles Safe
For multifamily owners who wish to provide a more personal storage solution, we recommend installing private, individual storage lockers. Placed inside or outside the main apartment building, each locker comes with its own key or security fob, so that only the owner has access.
While these are clearly the most secure storage solution, they will also be the most expensive and require the most space. Still, if your multifamily offers a luxury service, you may find your tenants are willing to pay considerably more for this storage option, and it can prove itself a valuable investment.
Additional Amenities to Entice Bike Lovers
Cycling amenities don’t end with storage, and getting creative can attract cycling enthusiasts to your property over others.
- Consider adding a bicycle repair kiosk to your bike room. All bicycles break down at some point, but not everyone has the tools or expertise to complete the job. By providing a work area complete with tools and step-by-step instructions for fixing common issues, you can help tenants get the most out cycling to and from your multifamily.
- Provide rental bikes for guests. Just because you don’t own a bike doesn’t mean you never want to ride one. By providing a rental service for tenants, you can offer them an environmentally-friendly alternative for getting around your community without having to take the car out.
- Organize group cycling trips. This can be a great way to get everyone out on their bikes in a fun and safe way. Even better, it can help to boost community spirit in your complex and help residents feel like your multifamily really is home.
Getting your multifamily bicycle-ready will show your residents that you value the environment, fitness, and community. Whichever direction you choose to go in, we will work with you every step of the way when planning and implementing your ideas. REIG construction will ensure that your apartment complex becomes bike-friendly on time and on budget. Get started by giving us a call today.