The case for the lunch ride

January 23, 2015

by Hilary Oliver

Image: Andrew Hammond

The sunshine and fresh air. A little relaxation. A convenient way to run errands. Those are the obvious benefits of taking a bike ride over your lunch hour. But there’s more than meets the eye with the ?lunch ride,? and that’s why you and your company should make mid-day cycling breaks a priority.

Here are five reasons your boss should let you take a ride break during the workdayThe case for the lunch ride?or why you should encourage your employees to get out for a lunch ride?and a few ways to make it easier for them.

It boosts creativity. ?If you do creative work, where you have to solve a problem, having the opportunity to get out and ride helps you come up with great ideas,? says Andrew Hammond, global brand manager at Pearl Izumi in Louisville, CO, a company dedicated to promoting the lunch ride. ?I think I?ve had three really good big ideas while I?ve been here, and they?ve all come during a ride,? he says. ?The biggest, hardest problems are often solved when you?re out riding. They?ve come in a flash, and I pulled out my phone to use the voice recorder. If it’s a long enough ride, I can build out a whole plan on the ride.?

John Wainwright, the marketing communications manager at GU Energy Labs adds, ?Getting employees on bikes provides some reprieve from a lifestyle that’s becoming increasingly virtual?and that’s extremely valuable to both employee and employer.?

It will save in healthcare costs. Obesity has risen 34 percent since 1960, while morbid obesity is up sixfold, according to Forbes. And the costs of related healthcare and missed workdays weighs heavily on employers. Fitting an exercise break into the day can make a big difference, both for employee and employer. Plus, ?with laptops, smart phones and tablets, it’s becoming commonplace for people to work 16-hour days, and though that may not mean 16 hours at the office, it is still 16 hours in a semi-stressful mindset,? Wainwright says. Fitting an un-plugged exercise break into the day can make a big difference, both for employee and employer.

Image: Flickr

It’s good for productivity. Everyone knows that afternoon slump feeling: the drowsiness, the drop in productivity. But a mid-day exercise break can make all the difference. ?When 3 p.m. rolls around, I?m exhausted,? Hammond says, ?but on days when I do a ride, I can work with intensity until the ride, and then after, work with focus until the end of the day.?

It fosters work relationships. Organized group rides are a great way to help people from different departments connect, which can help smooth out future collaborations. ?If you take the typical hour lunch and walk to a restaurant or eat at your desk, you might meet a couple people, but don’t form that same bond,? Hammond says. Wainwright suggests taking the reins and organizing an official company group ride.

It’s a cheap?but highly valuable?benefit. ?I?ve worked for companies that have a lunch ride for 10 years, and the value of that for me is at least $10,000 a year,? says Hammond. For him, the lunch ride is the difference between being able to spend time with his family in the evening and having to squeeze a workout between leaving work and going home.

Want to bring the mid-day ride to your workplace? Offer?or ask for?a secure bike storage room and a locker room with showers, Hammond says. Or, Wainwright suggests, buy a few company commuter bikes that employees can use to run errands on days when they don’t ride to work.

Image: Andrew Hammond

Does your employer encourage mid-day riding breaks? Let us know if and how you manage the lunch ride.

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