Passive Agressive Signs: Locking to Trees

I was about to duck in to a local coffee shop when I saw this sign on the front door:

I agree, it’s a bad idea to lock your bike to a young tree. You can scrape the bark, break a branch, or a thief can come along and break the tree and take your bike. However, there aren’t any bike racks at this coffee shop. In fact, there aren’t any bike racks in the general vicinity. The shop is in a small shopping district known as Wayland Square. It’s full of small, independent shops and restaurants (and one Starbucks). There’s also plenty of on-street car parking and a couple of off-street lots. In fact, this coffee shop will help you pay for parking your car in one of the lots:

I’ve taken a car to this square a few times (from back when I owned a car, or when I’ve been driven by friends). Whatever car I was in, we always managed to find an on-street space within 2 blocks of our destination. When I bike to this square, I usually make do with locking my bike to a parking sign.

Not the ideal solution, but it gets the job done. By the way, this picture is from over a year ago when I last complained about the lack of bike parking in Wayland Square. I’d like to see this situation improved, but I’m not sure how to go about doing it. I didn’t like the lack of bike parking at the Farmers’ Market, and now Recycle-A-Bike has a program that has helped to alleviate that (thanks to dedicated volunteers like Kim & Mary!) I don’t think that the bike parking demand in Wayland Square is high enough to justify bike valet. I emailed one of the restaurants last year and he basically said “our landlord doesn’t want to do it.” I emailed the landlord and got no response. A couple of days ago, I emailed the coffee shop in question and I have yet to receive a response. I also posted on their facebook wall about the issue – no response their either (granted, their last facebook activity was about a month ago…) I’d prefer to use a positive approach rather than approach the businesses with a gripe – and my email certainly had a positive tone to it. And yet… no response. So, has anyone else had any luck getting businesses to install bike parking?

UPDATE: The Cafe in question now has bike parking, within 3 weeks of my public shaming! Coincidence? You be the judge.


9 responses to “Passive Agressive Signs: Locking to Trees

  1. Well, Seven Stars did finally do it a while ago. Kudos to them! Also, all you ice cream lovers and readers of carfreepvd should be alerted that there’s a semi-secret bike rack hidden in back of Three Sisters.

    • Thanks Spouse! I’d almost forgotten about that good news. Big ups to Three Sisters for the bike rack. I’ll have to send them a thank you note.

  2. I’m dumbfounded that you found a coffee shop in Wayland Square that was even open. You must have been there between 10 and 10:15am.

    • This particular one does seem to shut down early. Pretty much the whole area rolls up the sidewalks around 4PM.

  3. In such a situation I invariably ask if, since they have no bike parking, it is OK to simply bring my clean bike in with me. I always bring it in with me to ask the question. I’ve never been told “no” yet. The coffee shop, having put that sign up, has clearly become aware that cyclists visit the place, but they haven’t thought through to the next step of advising what their valued customers SHOULD do. Or maybe they just don’t care about making a profit.

    • It’s a pretty small place, not really room for a bike there. I’ve only brought my bike into a place of business a couple of times. I usually bring it into my dentist’s office since he is also a cyclist (insert Serotta joke here). I started doing this when I visited the dentist while it was raining outside. The receptionist encouraged me to bring it in, and I’ve been doing so ever since. I think the doctor likes to see a bike in his office, and then he gets to talk bikes for a while.

      For this coffee shop in particular, I really do need to talk to them about the sign. I still haven’t received a response to my email. As someone who has had customers get all passive-aggressive, smug and feeling entitled, I don’t want to be “that guy.” I guess I should try something positive see how it goes. I would certainly make a good story for the blog. After reading your post on “teachable moments,” I wonder if this would be one. This same coffee shop has put out water dishes for dogs in the past, so they do seem to understand the value of catering to particular types of clients.

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