Launching a successful bicycle commute program that’s tailored to your business may seem daunting at first, but it is as easy as 1,2,3…
Appoint an on-site Bicycle Commuting Coordinator
This is the individual responsible for planning and carrying out project goals, and for acting as a liaison between project participants and company administration. Choose a person whose other job responsibilities provide a logical tie-in to employee bicycle commuting promotions, such as your company’s human services, community relations, wellness or employee transportation coordinator. It is helpful if this individual is a cyclist, but even more importantly, they should have enthusiasm, autonomy, and time to develop the program.
Assess current commuter habits and bicycle commuting potential at your business
Begin by taking inventory of facilities and programs that already exist at or near your business related to bicycle commuting. Are showers, lockers, changing facilities, and/or bicycle parking already provided on site? Is there already an employee wellness program to which a bicycle commuting component could be added?
Conduct an employee transportation survey
This will help you learn about your employee’s demographics (how far away do they live?) transportation habits and preferences (who bicycle commutes or would like to try?), and determine what facilities, incentives, or types of education would encourage more employees at your business to bicycle. Why worry about installing showers if your employees tell you that what they really want is more secure bicycle parking?
Establish a Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC)
The BAC’s purpose is to assist the Bicycle Commuting Coordinator in developing ideas, implementing and evaluating strategies, maximizing participation and sustaining interest in your bicycle commute program. Its mission should be sanctioned by company administration.
Composition of your BAC should be representative of your company, containing cyclists and other interested persons. BAC members can provide one-on-one assistance to novice bicycle commuters by answering their questions, assisting with route finding, even accompanying them on their first bicycle ride to work. Your BAC can also be a liaison to public entities’ issues that affect bicycle access to your company, but are beyond the company’s direct control, such as necessary road improvement projects and bike route maintenance.
Employees may be hesitant to try bicycle commuting because they feel they don’t know enough about how to do it. They may need help finding a comfortable bike route to work, or they may want to learn more about buying and maintaining a bike, dressing, carrying gear and navigating traffic effectively. To the novice, bicycle commuting may seem complex and mysterious. In fact, it’s as easy as, well, riding a bike! Here are some ways to provide information about bicycle commuting:
Schedule a brown bag workshop series
No doubt, there are seasoned bicycle commuters at your business who would be happy to share their expertise for an hour. Local bike shops might be willing to send an employee to talk about buying or maintaining a bike, or lead workshop sessions. Provide door prizes and encourage a sense of camaraderie among regular attendees.
Sponsor a bike education course
Bike education consists of classroom and on-bike instruction, taught by nationally certified instructors. Find instructors who can lead a class at your workplace.
Coordinate a bike buddy program
First, identify some experienced bicycle commuters at your business who would be willing to spend a little time mentoring a novice. Advertise that hands-on help (Bike Buddies) are available to new bike commuters if they’d like it. Try and match Bike Buddies with new commuters who live in the same part of town. Bike Buddies provide new bicycle commuters with information, advice and moral support, and may even accompany them on their first ride.