The notice in the elevator was titled: Bicycle Storage in Parking Garage. The one pager went on to say how, according to Section 4.3a of the Condominium's Declaration, each parking spot shall be used and occupied only for the parking of a motor vehicle.
Rules are rules.
Clearly, in the picture above, you can see how my non-motorized vehicle is an issue. The rubber tip of the handle bar leaning up against the wall. Its problematic tires touching the cement floor. It is casting shadows on the wall and creating a distraction from the number painted two feet above it. (Just in case we forgot which spot was ours.) I mean the thing is just sitting there, paralyzed, and taking up space that could be used for...a larger motorized vehicle I suppose.
The bicycle is a menace. An eyesore. Dangerous and unsightly, hazardous and unsafe and needs to be removed.
We have lived in this condo for a year and a half and this is the first talk of parking spot regulations. There are two floors of parking in the underground, roughly 350 units in the building, which makes for, I'm guessing, about 75 or 100 bikes.
The aforementioned notice went on to state that several bikes have gone missing and have been vandalized. That is unfortunate. However, I've had bikes stolen (while locked) from outside my place of work and from my old apartment where the bike was locked to the wooden stairs outside the front door. The thieves took apart the wood railing and stole the bike. At least they left the wood so we could put the railing back together. Once, just my gel seat was stolen. That's just weird.
At the condo, I stopped locking my bike (to itself) a few months ago because I'd seen other bikes unlocked. And nothing happened. My philosophy is if someone wants my $99, twelve speed from Canadian Tire that badly, they should take it.
In the condo's defense, there are several bikes other than mine down there leaning against walls, taking up space behind parked cars. Can you believe some bikes are even using kick stands? Standing upright in an empty spot that should only be used for a motor vehicle. There are two adult sized bikes and two kids bikes leaning up against each other, against a wall, in a spot where there is no car. A whole group of them, bunched up together in an empty spot...the horror!
And that's only P1. I've never even seen P2. Who knows how many unlocked bikes are loitering around down there.
I get that vandalism and theft if bad.
What I don't get is why I am being offered the following two options:
(a) pay $5/month for the use of bike racks that have been installed (which is why the notice was delayed until now), with a $40 mandatory payment up front to cover the storage from September through April
(b) put the bicycle in the storage locker
Here's the thing...
(c) I am not going to pay an additional $5/month to park my bike in a rack that I never wanted and do not need
(d) The storage locker is already full of camping equipment, Christmas ornaments, golf clubs, winter boots, etc., you know...stuff you store
And in fact, there are more than two options.
I could park it outside the public bike stands on a busy street.
I could ask the neighbours with a garage, if I could use a few feet for my bike.
I could put a bike rack on the car and store the bike there.
I could lock the bike to the car itself.
But I am not going to do those things.
What I have opted to do, is bring my bike up to the apartment every evening when I get home and lug it down through the stairwell every morning when I leave. It's not so bad. There's no additional cost. I feel in control. Exercising my rights as a tenant. Because it's up to me what I put in the entrance way of my apartment whether it be a welcome mat, a coat rack, or a bike.
Incidentally, CBC radio ran a great series called Know Your Rights - an on-the-ground and in-the-field exploration of our rights as Canadian citizens where host Craig Norris navigates the complex world of what we legally can and cannot do in our country.
I haven't listened to the whole podcast yet but I intend to, just in case things escalate with the condo board. I'm guessing they'll have something to say about me bringing my bike up in the elevator. The Declaration likely states something about how the elevator is to be used only for human or canine occupants. Wait till they see my pony.
I'm not even one of those hardcores that cycles all through the winter. Up the street Set Me Free bike shop offers free winter storage if you do your Spring tune up with them. Sold.
Rules are rules.
And some people have nothing better to do than to enforce them.