When I first joined the workforce, and rode my bike to work, facilities for cyclists usually consisted of a lightpost to lock your bike to, if you were lucky. Today I read in BusinessWeek about some companies that truly cater to their biking employees. This is the magazine that usually gives us all the gloomy economic news about how greedy sub-prime lenders are going to cause our economy to tank, so it’s refreshing to see a positive article, especially one about bikes. Here’s a bit about 3 of them.
Discovery Communications, the sponsors of team Disco, takes top spot on my list for a couple of reasons. First, they fork out $350 for a bike or repairs to employees that commute by bike. Then they cover the cost of a car-borrowing service for emergencies. We all know that $350 doesn’t buy much bling, but that will certainly cover a competent commuter. And I like the fact that they’re not just saying “here, ride a bike”, but that they’re enabling employees to live car-free if they wish.
Next up is the Evironmental Protection Agency. No word on how many employees they have in the Ronald Reagan Building, or what percent actually rides, but they have room for 100 bikes. No need to unclip to get in – the doors to the lockup swing open automatically, thanks to motion detectors. Once inside, not only do they have a secure area for their bikes, but showers right next door.
There’s something very right about a brewery that gives employees bikes. New Belgium Brewing, which gave us the lovely Fat Tire Amber Ale, hands out beach cruisers after a year of employment. I’m sure they offer an employee discount as well. As a matter of fact, I’ll wager that on Friday afternoons, a steady stream of beach cruisers exits the parking lot, each with a six pack in the handlebar-mounted basket. Of course, they also sponsor cycling events across the US. Good stuff.
There were 3 other companies mentioned in the article, but two were financial services companies, and the other was some internet joint, so I just picked my top three. Thanks to Jay Greene for doing the original legwork on this.
Wish we had that sort of thing at my work. I’m thinking about maybe moving closer to work (depending opn where my wife finds a job) and it would be nice to commute by bike… assuming there’s a place to shower and change. And how do you carry non-foldable work clothing on a bike?
I’m in high-tech — every company I’ve ever worked for — from small start ups to Fortune 500 — allowed bikes in my office or cube. My current employer has showers, lockers, secure covered bike parking, emergency ride home service, free transit passes, etc. No cash as an incentive, though — that’s not a bad one. The county I live in, though, gives several hundred dollar rebates on the purchase of folding bikes if you attend a bike safety class.
I work for a tech company in a college town with 60,000 students, and we don’t even have a bike rack. In all fairness though, we have one cyclist. I’d like a job where I could ride a bicycle to work, but I live near the freeway, and my office is maybe a mile from the exit. So if I want to ride, it’s about double the distance to go into town and up the main road.