Taking place this weekend, 29th to the 31st July, is Prudential Ride London, a festival of cycling that is in its fourth year and a legacy from the 2012 London Olympic Games. It is now the largest sportive event in the UK, with more than 100,000 fellow cyclists entering a series of events over the weekend and 26,000 riding the London Surrey 100. Raising money for International Justice Mission UK, I will be taking part in it along with colleagues from Allsop.
This impressive celebration of cycling would be hard to imagine at the turn of millennium. Now, cycling is accepted as sensible every day city transport. Back in 2000, I cycled to work very much in the minority, with only 12,000 cycling in central London at rush hour. By 2014, cyclist rush hour traffic had tripled to 36,000, according to Transport for London. And, at last, investment is being made in segregated cycle lanes rather than dangerous painted cycle lanes. Outside of London in other congested cities, such as Bristol, cycle commuting is also growing rapidly.
Commercial developers have taken this on board and are now providing state-of-the-art cycle and changing facilities as the standard norm in new offices. This is part of the design trend of offices providing an environment that boosts health and wellbeing, which is seen as essential for attracting skilled millennial workers and aiding productivity.
Perhaps the most celebrated ‘bike friendly’ building is Alphabeta in Finsbury Circus, a scheme of 240,000 sq ft we worked on that has particularly attracted attention for its cycle facilities. Winner at the Property Week, BCO , Office Agents Society and RIBA London Awards, it is considered “one of London’s most innovative office spaces” and has a purpose-built ramp from street level through reception to a 220-space bike park in the basement, with showers and changing facilities with direct pedestrian access back into reception. And it doesn’t stop there – the building also boasts a basketball court, Barry’s Bootcamp and a yoga studio, in addition to typical features like the communal terrace and coffee bar.
The first proposal for Google’s new King’s Cross headquarters envisions spiral cycle ramps and multi-level storage, but this is likely to get more extravagant as Google has reworked more exciting plans for the scheme to include playground rooms, event centres, snooze pods and high-level air quality and acoustic materials. At The White Collar Factory near Old Street Roundabout, Derwent London has provided 276 cycle spaces, showers and heated lockers for drying wet clothes as well as providing the running track at roof level for those budding triathletes and runners.
Even urban fringe developments are getting cycle upgrades. At Stockley Park in Uxbridge, close to Heathrow, has bike parking, lockers and an innovative borrow a bike scheme, where fully-equipped hybrid cycles are available free of charge for periods of four weeks for prospective cycle commuters.
Overseas, some developers have gone further, providing even more luxurious facilities. At Aurora Place in central Sydney, bathrooms are more like a first class hotel. There are overhead and handheld showers and Dyson taps fitted as standard. There is also a drying room for cycle clothing and a cycle repair station with available tools and air pumps.
Also in Sydney is Grosvenor Place, which has 30 showers, 500 lockers and 230 bicycle racks together with laundry services, clothes spinning machine to help drying and shoe cleaning machine. This is all part of the building’s fitness and wellbeing agenda, with building management also providing fitness boot camp and pilates classes, as well as offering many dining facilities on site.
Facilities for fitness and wellbeing as a whole are now considered a must-have for top quality commercial developments. At Republic, a new urban campus in Docklands designed to attract creative tech companies, wellbeing is at the heart of the development. Developed by specialist UK office development and investment company Trilogy Property and LaSalle Investment Management, Republic will feature planting, open water and trees and there are plans for imaginative fitness facilities, including a bespoke triathlon gym, yoga, military fitness and swimming amongst other ‘playground’ facilities.
With the increased focus on fitness and wellness amongst all ages, cycling can only be expected to grow. This combined with buildings competing to offer facilities promoting health and fitness means high quality cycle facilities will only go further up on the agenda. Cycling and, wellbeing in general, will very much play a role in shaping our future offices, so it will be interesting to see how developers take it to the next level.
Partner, Office Leasing, City
James Neville, Alex Pugh, Ben Hodge and Jack Sawbridge are cycling in the ‘Ride London’ event, raising money for International Justice Mission UK (IJM). IJM is a global human rights organisation working mainly in developing countries, tackling human trafficking, modern day slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violence and oppression. Thank you very much for your support.
Notes to editor
James is a Partner in Allsop’s City Business Team and specialises in office development and leasing, working with both Landlords and Tenants. James has provided strategic advice on UK property issues to a number of major corporates, and now concentrates on the London City Market, Midtown, Southbank and Canary Wharf.
You can contact James for advice on office development and leasing at email@example.com or call him on +44 (0)20 7588 4433.
The posts on this blog are provided ‘as is’ with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of their employe