Urban Bicycle Wash Stations

Committee: Streetsmarts

Cost: $20,000

Location: 2 locations, to be determined

Short description: Bicycle owners need to clean and care for their bikes, ideally monthly. But for apartment dwellers, this is really hard! These centrally located bicycle wash stations would allow bicycle owners to wash off dirt, grime, and salt from their bikes.

Long description: Bicycle owners need to clean and care for their bikes, ideally monthly. But for apartment dwellers, this is really hard! It's tough to get access to a hose, and tough to legally and safely store solvents for cleaning chains and deal with their disposal. Some suggest washing bikes in a bathtub, but that's inconvenient, cumbersome, and sometimes ineffective.

There are currently not any bike wash stations in Cambridge. This project will pilot two bike wash stations in areas of Cambridge with high residential density, ideally close to one of the bike repair stations. The bike wash station will include a hose for washing the bike, a bike stand, and appropriate drainage. They will be installed near a fire station or other public building where City staff can keep an eye on them.

Bike cleanliness can be considered a safety issue. Allowing dirt, grime, and salt to accumulate on a bike can impair the functioning of brakes and other mechanics of the bike. This project will help the many apartment dwellers in Cambridge who use their bikes as a primary means of transportation to work, school, and around the neighborhood.





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  • Devon West
    commented 2023-02-27 10:56:06 -0500
    Wow I wish we had these bike wash stations in Victoria BC, for we have so many bikers here. I’ll talk with the team at https://goo.gl/maps/kHPx9SDuCxBfMvpw5 about this. Thanks for sharing!
  • John Hawkinson
    commented 2017-12-05 22:42:10 -0500
    Nicolas: The hope is that it would be available year-round assuming suitable locations can be found. Indeed, the need for bike cleaning is stronger in the winter because of salt. (Although there are fewer cyclists in the winter weather, so perhaps it balances out a bit. But those who do bike in the winter need it more.)

    Willie: It’s tricky to assess, because different people bike different amounts, and in cleaner and dirtier conditions, on roads and dirt paths, etc. Bikes work better if you keep them clean, and a dirty chain causes the rest of the drivetrain to wear out and need to be replaced. I think a lot of cyclists in Cambridge live in apartments and have no practical way to clean their bikes (short of toting a bucket of water outside). So we generally do without, and that tends to mean bike parts wear out faster than they should. We’ll have to see!
  • Anonymous
    followed this page 2017-12-05 11:09:24 -0500
  • Nicolas Garcia
    commented 2017-11-27 19:15:24 -0500
    Would these be open in the winter?
  • Willie Boag
    commented 2017-11-27 17:27:35 -0500
    I’d be interested in knowing how widespread the problem is and/or what impact this project could have to improve things? For instance, I don’t have a bike (I just walk everywhere), but if this would help a huge amount of bicyclists, then that would be awesome to know!