How the best places to work measure up for bike riders

May 27, 2016

Kimberly Kinchen, business network writer

Image: Richard Masoner

For more and more professionals, a bike-friendly workplace is a must. Yet even as firms increase their efforts to attract talent with bike amenities, it’s not always obvious which ones are most welcoming to people who bike.

I decided to look at the top ten Best Places to Work, as rated by Outside Magazine, and see if they offer perks to employees who bike commute or ride for fun. These are companies that “empower their employees to live bigger, better lives.” But do they also empower their employees to ride bikes or reward the ones who already do?

I was looking for amenities such as secure indoor parking (or desk parking), proximity to low-stress biking routes or trails, participating in bike month challenges and on-site changing areas or lockers and showers.

Image: S Demmer

I spoke with five of the top ten and learned that in these cases, there is some overlap between Outside‘s ranking and bike-friendliness.

Codie Costello, new business director at Anchorage-based ad agency Spawn Ideas, says that her company wants to “make sure [employees] can get outside and experience all the outdoors has to offer.” Spawn offers $250 a year to every employee to participate in organized outdoor events, including bike rides.

Idea accelerator CauseLabs follows a lean model, with much of their staff working from home offices around the world. But they don’t skimp on bike amenities at their Denver hub, including offering employees have free access to B-Cycle bike share for work or play.

Bike share is also on offer at public relations firm Ground Floor Media. Ground Floor, which garnered Outside‘s number one spot, also offers a monthly $50 active lifestyle allowance. The money can go toward any active lifestyle habit; several staff have saved theirs up for a bike, or the money toward commute gear, says Vice President Jim Licko.

Ergodyne, a producer of industrial and protective gear out of St. Paul, Minnesota, also offers a wellness bonus for employees who commute by bike.

Nemo Design of Portland, Ore., has a robust bike-friendly culture where much of the staff has deep experience in the bicycle industry. To emphasize work-life balance, Nemo includes flex time for commuting or ride training. It’s a tool that can help retain talented staff, but the firm also views it as a performance-booster. “We know that sometimes your best thinking can come to you while you are away from your desk and on a ride,” Marketing Manager Ryan Barrett explains.

Bottom line: for professionals looking for a gig that will welcome your bike habit, Outside‘s Best Places to Work list is a good place to start looking.

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