Session Topic: Leveraging Bikes For Sustainability

Large corporations and universities were concerned with their climate impact long before ESG started hitting the headlines. And now, according to the Wall Street Journal, 70% of companies are planning to increase their sustainability budgets. This Bike Forum conversation explored how companies are leveraging bikes to meet their sustainability goals.

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Stephen Bay, CEO of EarthUp, kicked us off. As part of his work, Stephen interviewed hundreds of sustainability teams to learn industry best practices. He has 8 years of data on how companies decarbonize. He heard that getting employees involved in what is interesting to them, whether its commuting or composting, and harnessing that passion, then tracking the impact is an effective way for companies to start down the decarb path. Engaging employees; getting them to care is the spark and also what keeps the program moving forward.

Biking is one way to engage employees in corporate sustainability efforts, get them to care, and then have biking act as a gateway to other sustainability efforts, like energy, etc. Every employee is different and the hook is different for every company, and even though getting everyone biking isn’t going to reduce Scope 3 by much, it helps get employees involved.

It’s almost like getting employees to be sustainability social workers (love this term!).

Additionally, most companies are in the fact-finding phase of net zero – tracking emissions, setting goals and then understanding how to meet them. 

Meegan Watts (CBRE nested at Nike) shared that she is supporting employees who are spearheading an in-house grant program that aims to get bike EDU and reimbursement for bike supplies from their local bike shop

So, how do companies track their emissions, specifically their Scope 3, Category 7 (where bikes fall)? (group discussion)

  • User generated info, like surveys that ask: “did you bike this week? How many days did you bike?”
  • It’s tough to track and not a lot of companies have put focus on tracking it. They see it more as a way to spark interest. 

Any feedback on creating employee reward/recognition programs? (group discussion)

  • Claudine Schneider from TDM Specialists shared some ideas:
    • E-bike loaner program: She manages a TMA/site with 30K commuters (pre-pandemic) / 10K (post), and started an e-bike loaner program, available for any employee who is a member of the TMA there. She got a grant for the program, and now she has three e-bikes there, available for employees/members to borrow on a 1-3 month basis. Or even just a couple of days. Claudine shared that she has other sites with e-scooters.
    • Incentives: Log 10 trips and receive $30; log another 10 and get $50. There are also bike grants available ($300 towards an e-bike purchase). 
    • Starter kit: Claudine mentioned a bike incentive package. If an employee or member commits to biking, she provides them with a starter kit (tire patches, reflectors, helmets, bike bells). They must commit to some amount of riding, i.e. 2 days a week, to receive a bike incentive package.
    • Partnerships: They partner with other shops to try to get discounts, and recently connected with a small independent shop (this one carries class 2 e-bikes, looks like mopeds that go 22 miles per hour). Members get 15% off
    • Connected with Bicycle Mobility Solutions, a bike lease a bike program, where employees can lease a bike through local bike shop (like Mikes Bikes in the Bay Area). As long as an employer has signed up for a program, they can contribute a certain amount to the lease of the bike. Then the employee covers some of the cost. In the end if the employee wants to keep the bike, they’re paying less than what the bike actually costs. This works great for contract employees who come from overseas and don’t want to buy a car.
  • Meegan shared the following efforts at Nike:
    • Sustainable Innovation Fund: A few years ago, Nike began a “Sustainable Innovation Fund” for campus where employees can submit proposals. If approved, those projects get funding. A few years ago employees submitted a video proposal where people were riding past traffic and looking cute on their bikes. The ask was for gamification/engagement when it came to biking. Meegan worked with folks who created that video and created a slack channel for commuters, meetups for commute rides, a social hour, and other ways of engaging riders to get to know each other. These connections are critical, since employees often need a buddy for their first ride. 
    • Competitions: Competitions for bike month. Asked employees to take a post ridiculous and fun selfies.
    • Word of caution: If you work for a major corporation, you need to be aware of the line which is advocacy for your project and then representation of your company. It’s good to make sure there are some guidelines and parameters, and that risk knows and can weigh in if needed. But having bicycle champions is also a powerful and necessary tool: If you get someone on a bike, they love it, and they become evangelists. As a program manager, you just need to help shape what that advocacy looks like (i.e. doing it on your personal time and not company time).

Chip Amoe, Director of Sustainability, Michigan State University, E. Lansing, MI, (1 month into his role at MI State) and former Director of Sustainability for Henry Ford Health, shared some additional strategies for boosting biking as a focus on sustainability:

  • Improving infrastructure: Support parks and community gardens and other off street community developments; along with bikeability, this also boosts health and wellness support. (
  • Create density on your campus to increase its bike-friendliness. Density allows for more active transportation and building bridges and connections into the surrounding communities.
  • Learn how all the pieces fit together. MI State is wedged into a rural, suburban, and urban area, so Chip is learning how to bridge those connections in a seamless way. Not one size fits all but how do all the pieces fit together.

Along with sustainability, Meegan mentioned that bikes are good for disaster preparedness / workforce resiliencey (yes, there are!).

Question: In the big scheme of ESG/emissions reporting, how big is transportation? (group discussion)

  • (Stephen) It depends on what you mean by transportation. Fleet vehicles are part of Scope 1, so that is where companies are going to have a focus on bikes first – figuring out how to reduce or electrify trips b/t buildings (when the vehicle is owned by company). Then there are downstream emissions (i.e. how they deliver products .. Amazon is trying to use bike carriers for packages in urban areas, for instance). Scope 3 category 7, really depends on ghg protocol (first created in 2010, so outdated). When measuring emissions, protocol dictates that you survey 5% employees and then extrapolate out from there. But, this changing, which is the good news. Once that changes, it depends on how employers track. Right now sustainability teams are like accountants; few teams have actually gotten to “so how do you decarbonize?” We really need a uniform methodology, so a survey isn’t going to work, we need a more granular approach. All Scope 3 emissions reports are totally made up right now.
  • Chip shared that they just had a greenhouse gas inventory at MI State, and he’s looking at #s now — it didn’t pull in all emissions (purchases; commuting and travel; wastewater emissions, etc.) Employee commuting makes up about 50 % of emissions reported, based on surveys. Another way is to track employee parking passes or if employees have to register for parking. It’s also easy to ask them for their home address and then you can calculate mileage and figure out their commute emissions, and then scan that and passes each day to figure out who drove to work that day. Math it up from there!

Session Topic: May Bike Month

May Bike Month is the most popular and well-known bike commuter engagement event. This Bike Forum Conversation will highlight how corporations and universities can leverage May Bike Month to encourage and support more employees and students to bike commute.

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Ideas to steal for May Bike Month / Bike To Work Day!

Last year, Microsoft decided to partner with its internal sustainability group to bridge earth day and bike month via a communications campaign. The aim was to encourage employees to ride bikes as a way of supporting Earth Day. The plan featured an online emissions calculator for biking (so employees could understand CO2 emissions of driving vs biking) and a set of classes they held in early May for May Bike Month such that the transition from Earth Day to Bike Month was seamless. This is a good example of how to bridge corporate efforts around sustainability and transportation at an organization.

Nike runs an amazing E-Bike Loaner program, which is a good way to get people riding bikes in general. Nike also surveys its employees on their commuting habits, and found that of employees who took a non-drive alone form of transportation, 55% of those folks did it to reduce carbon footprint. This gives confidence that Earth Day and Bike Month should be bridged.

Speaking of partnerships, Salesforce partnered with an internal fitness challenge for Bike Month. The challenge featured an app and a tracker and was an active challenge from February through March. Everyone that was participating in the fitness challenge knew that May Bike Month was coming up, so it was a nice motivation to continue the challenge.

Transportation fairs are another good way to get the word out about Bike Month or anything programmatic. Ways to get people to engage at fairs: Sign ups for free tune ups; various prizes; demo days with local bikeshare providers or bike shops. These types of fairs are challenging now since not everyone is in the office these days.

Hold a “swag swap” where all departments in your org pool their leftover swag, set up booths, and have employees come through for free stuff (and then hit ‘em with bike info). Salesforce did something like this, and had tons of employees commute into the office for the swag.

Try offering rewards from different businesses for biking. Helps stimulate the local economy and gets people on bikes! This can be combined with a Bike Bingo challenge.

Warner Bros led virtual classes (bike maintenance, adjust brakes, leading yoga stretches) during the pandemic to make sure all employees were included in the fun. Another successful strategy Warner Bros deployed was to expand BTWD to “bike and walk day.” We suggest including anyone who rolls (scooters, skateboards) or does anything active (kayaks) would also be a good way to expand engagement.

The City of San Diego created a photo bike bingo campaign where people were encouraged to submit photos based on prompts to their social media profiles. This was mid-pandemic, so instead of having everyone bike to a certain location in Balboa Park (they didn’t want to draw people to one location during the pandemic, crowd) directives were more location-vague like “take a selfie of you and your bike at sunset at a projected intersection.” There was a small incentive for completing bingo and you would also be entered into a prize drawing.

Some universities, including Michigan State and George Mason, have had success with moving May Bike Month to April (since students have left campus for summer vacation by May). Tim Potter, MSU, reports that he is planning on doing a half-day event in April for students, faculty, and staff that would introduce them to a variety of things people can do with bicycles (riding events; static activities; hoping to involve bike shops in the area). Tim has a big grassy area next to the shop plus an auditorium upstairs to use if they get a lot of rain. He hopes to bring cargo bikes, trikes, tadpoles, and all kinds of interesting vehicles for demos. Possibility of offering a slow fun race (perhaps in partnership with three different student-run cycling clubs), a bike obstacle course challenge; courier challenges; and safe biking skills demos. One staffer wants to decorate bikes with lights and then go into the evening with a parade followed by a bike movie in the auditorium.

George Mason University moved Bike Month to April since May is graduation month. Last year, GMU went international and involved all campuses, including a satellite campus in Korea.

Demo Days have worked really well in Bentonville, Arkansas where PeopleForBikes is working with Walmart and other companies there to get their employees riding. Additional ideas include a family bike rodeo to engage everyone outside the workplace with opportunities for the kids and the parents. The plan is to set up a family passport and have participants visit each station for a stamp (obstacle course, rules of the road etc.) and get a prize for doing that as a family.

What are some ways to make your Bike to Work Day special? Food is always popular (free breakfast on campus or voucher for a Starbucks card, etc.). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has mechanics onsite to give subsidized tune ups on Bike to Work Day (individual pays for 1/2) and they’re sold out weeks in advance.

Western Washington University hosts adult Learn to Ride classes to engage those who need to start at step one before participating in BTWD.

Essentia Health does a 30-day challenge, where employees are engaged via a social media campaign to ride in April. April is a tricky month in Duluth, because you’ve got all the weather types (snow, rain, sun, etc.). The idea is, if you can bike in April, you can really bike year-round.

Having Team captains engage riders from your organization is a good idea. LoveToRide does this by assigning the Team Captain role and offering a communications feature on the app to encourage their team members.

Another idea to leverage BTWD is to participate with local bicycle coalitions. This includes offering to set up a BTWD booth near your office or campus with swag and information on bike commuting.  

Salesforce offered 1:1s with bike champions during the pandemic where employees could get their bike questions answered. People were  looking for some way to connect with each other and meet people in the office after a long time away. They also offered ABC bike maintenance checks, coupons to local bike shops etc. The San Francisco Bike Coalition came into SF to do a class and 100 ppl showed up!

Leverage LoveToRide; there is a charge for corporate accounts, but their platform is free to use on BTWD/Bike Month. RideSpot currently offers a free corporate account if you want a Challenge set up specifically for your employees/students. Ryan Birkicht can help with private org accounts, challenges and RideSpot generally and can be reached at

Ask your wellness team if they have a budget that can be used to encourage cycling. One employer got enough money to give away free lights to anyone who completed one ride during the month of November.

Or…..offer a weird trophy for the most miles biked or most trips taken, etc. Tim Potter shares this amazing one!

Session Topic: E-Bike Growing Pains 12/8/22

The growing popularity of e-bikes brings new challenges for companies and universities who want to accommodate bike commuters. Since e-bikes are larger, heavier, and require electricity, it is useful to think about how to address issues such as parking space requirements, security, and safe, convenient battery charging.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Gaining Popularity

More employees and students are riding bikes to get to work and school. 

David: E-bikes are outselling Electric Vehicles. Source: On a more granular level, we’ve seen a significant increase in e-bike maintenance. For instance, at one shop the percentage of e-bikes we are working on has risen from 5% – 12% in less than a year. 

Parking and Space Requirements

E-bikes require more parking space per bike and appropriate bike racks. Cargo e-bikes are even larger and have special space considerations and of course, all electric mobility devices need electricity. Also, a welcoming space invites more employees and students to try biking.

Meegan: Establishing a “hub” where every mode can charge is beneficial.

Andre: Building mobility hubs could provide the space and amenities needed for e-bikes. We would need multiple mobility hubs because we don’t have central locations where we can place a hub with enough space. We can also plan for future bike rooms larger in width so e-bikes aren’t taking up multiple spaces due to their size.

Todd: The University of Washington bike master plan is being updated and we will be requiring that a certain percentage of the parking must be appropriate for e-bikes and cargo e-bikes. We might also include bike “houses” with electrical outlets. We are also looking at multi-level bike garages. We are not yet sure what standards and requirements will be set for charging. Lower level parking is required for larger bikes. Security is also super important. E-bikes are usually expensive and need a secure place to park. 

David: At one client bike room, we put in cargo bike parking with designated signage so everyone knows they are for cargo bikes only. We also make sure bike facilities can accommodate large bikes (i.e. a kick door).

Tim: We will have three new bike rooms to support 14 buildings. They will include parking for all different types of bikes. To get into the bike rooms, there will be pedestals outside with a badge reader where you just have to wave your badge in front to open the door. That decision took a lot of back and forth with security. Also you need to consider the turning radius in the room, especially for cargo bikes that can be twelve feet or longer.

Brandon: Our bike entries are required to have kick doors, but it is the easiest way for bike thieves to get in. They simply follow the person in front of them. Or for a kick door inside the bike cage, it is possible to use a long stick to hit the door opener from the outside to gain entrance. For that reason, I agree that it is best to build structures where you cannot see inside. In general outdoor shelters are big targets. 

Meegan: I heard Tom at the ACT conference talk about how companies that are trying to get employees back to the office “Need to compete with the couch.” One way is to add a sense of luxury and a valued space for cyclists. Make it inviting and warm. A place you want to bring your bike that feels comfortable. 

Shawna: Yes Meegan! I just toured a bunch of bike rooms in Minneapolis, and there were a couple that were so cozy I just wanted to hang out there. It was definitely a different feel than the ones that were nice, but cold and sterile.

David: You can just add a little lighting and paint to make a space more welcoming and vibrant. 

Meegan: SportWorks is working to develop charging capabilities on their racks. But it’s not a reality yet.

Meegan: If you need to be able to move racks around, staple racks on rails is an option. 

Battery Charging (convenience and safety)

Providing electrical outlets is a great way to support e-bike commuters. However, misuse of batteries and charging comes with fire hazards. Therefore it is important to provide safe charging options. E-bike charging policies should also be considered. 

Meegan: Requiring UL rated batteries is important.

Heidi: One policy is to simply not allow employees to charge e-bikes (and other e-mobility devices) at work and if you do, there must be someone present while batteries are charging.

Meegan: Employees should ideally charge at home. But educate employees on safe charging. Is the charger rated for lithium? Are you following manufacturer’s guidance? If you do allow charging at work, consider an outdoor space. But how do we create that outdoor space? It needs to be covered. One idea is to build electrical “hubs” to bring all EVs together to charge so there isn’t a need to install infrastructure everywhere. Condense it into one space.

Tom: E-bike/scooter policy: E-bikes are allowed in buildings provided there are proper charging capabilities

David: This is an opportunity for employee education. Proper batteries from reputable manufacturers are safe. It is the refurbished and homemade batteries that are unsafe. Also, following the manufacturer’s guidelines is important. For instance, don’t put your battery next to a heater!

Brandon: Providing lockers with electrical outlets to charge removable batteries is a potential solution. We want it but can’t find it in the US market. 

Evan: Here is one resource:

Also, we have a client that is creating battery “closets” which are fireproof spaces to charge batteries.

 Brandon: Here are some other battery charging/storage options:

Jessica: Curious about these lockers. Would you still be pushing for UL certified batteries only? If so, have you thought about how this would be enforced? The main concern I see in this style is that a battery catches fire, and then you have a tinderbox full of other batteries nearby and difficult to maneuver to a safe place.

Heidi: At one of our Seattle bike parking rooms we didn’t add outlets to the floor. However, we added hanging outlets post construction, which was easy and flexible. Cyclists can pull them down to reach their bike battery.

Andre: Curious about Perch as a charging hub: 


E-bikes can be much more expensive than standard bikes with most models ranging from $1500-$7000. This is a significant investment that leads to higher demand for secure parking options from bike commuters.

Meegan: Bikes have serial numbers and you can help employees by tracking those. Also, it is important to make the bike parking in a way that stealing the bikes does not look tempting. Companies/universities need to be on top of abandoned bikes. Security teams hate abandoned bikes. 

David: I agree with Meegan that it is best when it’s not tempting to steal bikes. Keep them out of sight and behind multiple layers such as inside a locked room inside a gated garage. Double barrier key card entry is a best practice.

Todd: UW will start using more steel paneled structures so the bikes are mostly out of sight and to make it more difficult for creative thieves to use tools to get through porous construction.  

Jillian: Todd, you say that you don’t recommend that people leave their bikes overnight in the bike cages. What do you offer to students who live on campus and want to park their bikes securely?

Todd: Most on campus housing have bike rooms available. Students who live off campus housing are discouraged from leaving their bikes on campus overnight. Similar to leaving a car overnight in an unsecured parking lot.


There are vendors specializing in access to e-bikes such as leasing programs and bike fleets which can potentially relieve issues around charging and ownership (among others).

Tim: We are considering e-bike sharing on campus and would require the vendor to take care of the charging. 

Heidi: Ridepanda offers a subscription model and can give a corporate discount. Using a vendor helps to not manage your own fleet. 

Heidi: There is a company called Kuhmute that offers a flexible charging station for e-bikes/scooters. 

Brandon: The Kuhmute product is for fleet vehicles as it has a unique charging port. We were looking at them but they are more designed for fleets and they are not a great solution for charging. 

Tom: Intuit leverages local safety education programs for e-bikes like the San Diego Association of Governments and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Club.  

E-bikes/Cargo Bikes on Shuttles

Most bike racks on shuttles cannot accommodate heavier or different-sized bikes. Are e-bikes and cargo bikes appropriate for shuttles?

Meegan: We don’t have racks on campus shuttles. Sportworks handles racks for long distance shuttles. 

Andre: We had issues with the rack supplier for shuttle racks so racks are not an option. But bike commuters are relying on us. Our solution for now was to remove seats on shuttles to accommodate bikes. 

Jessica: There are more rack solutions that accommodate heavy bikes now. For instance, ramps are being used on some racks. Also, Yakima/Thule racks on shuttles accommodate up to 60lbs. However, we don’t necessarily encourage people to put e-bike/cargo bikes on shuttles because they are meant to replace cars as opposed to being used as first/last mile modes. This is the rack that LinkedIn van shuttles use. There are more out there. But this one seems to do OK. An important call out is that security remains a concern. Someone could (and I’ve seen this happen in past years), walk up to a shuttle and pluck a bike from a rack.

Tim: Microsoft runs bike trailers hooked to shuttles. It was really popular. They use 14 person shuttles with bike trailers to accommodate as many bikes. 


Essentia Health
George Mason University
Lockheed Martin Space
Michigan State University
Nintendo of America
Penn State University
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Washington
Virginia Tech University
Warner Bros. Discovery
Western Washington University

Session Topic: Post Pandemic New Bike Initiatives 9/15/22

There’s no question that our programmatic approaches to TDM have shifted since the start of the pandemic, creating opportunities to rethink our bike commute programs. At this Bike Forum Conversations we explored new bike programs, incentives or policies…both existing and on the drawing board. Here’s what we learned from you.

Read the Takeaways from this session

LinkedIn’s Bike Program

During the pandemic, LinkedIn employees worked from home and many began biking for the first time (or the first time in awhile). The Bike Team there wanted to capitalize on the bike boom and encourage employees to ride to campus in Sunnyvale, CA. The barrier that the team set out to address: “People aren’t aware of what they’re capable of on a  bicycle.”

Pre-pandemic, LinkedIn was gearing up to launch a loaner bike program anyway, so finally in August of this year, employees began to borrow bikes for free. Here’s are details:

  • Program officially launched in August after a successful month-and-a-half pilot period.
  • There are 15 bikes total of various types (road, hybrid, e).
  • Employees may borrow bikes for up to 2 weeks. This time duration helps them get acquainted with the bike, without feeling ownership (LinkedIn wants their bikes to come back!).
  • To book a bike, an employee goes online, fills out a basic form where they provide info about their cycling history; interest in commuting to the office; and what bicycle they want to borrow.
  • Then a LinkedIn Bike Coordinator will connect with the employee, ask them to come to the shop location; provide them with the bike + accessories (lights, locks, water bottle cages); and give them any advice to ensure they have a successful cycling experience (route to work; where to ride the weekend, anything they need).
  • Bike EDU includes shifting; braking; how to lock; how to fit a helmet; important safety points (i.e. don’t just squeeze the front brake or you may go over bars; use bike lanes; make sure to use lights). The team also makes sure employees know how to operate a bicycle and ride safely on the road.
  • The goal is to give employees access to bikes and remove the high cost of buying a bike as a barrier to starting to ride; how they use them is up to them.
  • Employees sign a waiver and provide a $50 deposit for acoustic bikes and $100 for e-bikes with motor/battery.
  • Over the course of their rental period, employees may reach out to the LinkedIn Bike Team with questions or repair needs.

Within the last month and a half (from the official launch date) LinkedIn has had three participants purchase bikes and have had lots of employees riding bikes together outside of work (i.e. team building activities). Here are more learnings:

  • It takes 1.5 hours of staff time per bicycle loan (sometimes a bit more if they need that extra bit of advice) but really 1 person could run this program by themselves.
  • Excitement about these programs grows quickly – The Team put out only 1 communication, at the bottom of a form only 1/2 of employees get and within three days they received 25 percent of booking requests. They had to shut down the request form for five days to let it cool down.
  • Feedback from employees has been extremely positive; every employee has given the program 5 stars.
  • Most participants are brand new to bikes — ~ 60 percent have previously biked less than 1 per week, so anywhere from zero to one time a week.

Nike also has a bike loaner program. Here are the details:

  • Employees may borrow a bike for 30 days in the summer months and 60 days in the winter months (to give folks more of an opportunity to ride given rain).
  • Charges employees $25 to participate.
  • Employees may rent Specialized e-bikes, the “Cadillac of e-bikes” that retail at ~$4K,
  • Partnered with Westside Transportation Alliance (local TMA) — and WashCo Bikes (shop down the road), so Nike doesn’t have to directly manage.
  • Employees report diverse barriers to cycling, but childcare responsibilities often come up during surveys. Ditto for “I don’t have time”, cycling locations are too far,” “There aren’t enough bike lanes on the road,” and “I don’t know where lanes are.”)
  • If at the end of the program, they don’t want to buy the bike, they’re funneled into a Van Moof lease program where they can lease an e-bike for $99/month for a year.

Switching gears (har!), Walmart reports that there are more e-bikes onsite at their corporate HQ, and that means that the company needs to figure out how to store and charge these bikes while their owners are at work. Additionally, Walmart is rethinking vertical wall hooks in storage areas since e-bikes are too heavy to hang up. Here is what Walmart is looking at when it comes to parking employee e-bikes:

  • Access to power to charge bikes so batteries don’t need to be indoors (potential fire hazard) ← Have you looked into power on racks themselves?
  • Covered storage area that keeps the elements out
  • Floor storage space for these heavy bikes

Meanwhile, Apple has been running some super successful bike programs as employees filter back to work. Here’s the latest:

For “Bike to Wherever Day” this year, Apple handed employees custom musette bags and custom bicycle pins (“I got so many emails with VPs asking for pins because they were so cool. I had to order another 5K of them,” reports the manager there).

  • Apple also began a series called “Coffee and Conversations” at several of its bay area locations, where representatives from the local bicycle coalition were available to address employee questions and concerns in-person.
  • Apple also has been hosting bicycle demo days consisting of a vendor bringing bikes to campus for employees to test ride over a 4.5-hour period. The reservation time slots always “sell out” and the demos have been popular.
  • At any bike event, the Apple team usually enlists a mechanic to do bike safety checks. Usually, 25-35 people wait in line and repairs take place over the course of 4 hours, first come-first served.
  • Like Nike, Apple partnered with Van Moof to allow employees who live 5-10 miles from the office to lease Specialized e-bikes. The platform that runs this and all Apple employee deals is called “The Source.”


CBRE, representing Microsoft
Essentia Health
Gap, Inc.
King County Transportation
Moffett Park Business Group
Providence Health
TDM Solutions
University California, San Diego

Session Topic: Return to Office, the Real Time Problem-solving Addition

Now that most employees are traveling back to the office at least a few days a week, we wanted to know: What has challenged or surprised you during “return to work?” Did your RTO go according to plan? Has the pandemic bike boom resulted in more bike commuters? And what are your plans through the rest of the year to encourage even more cycling?

Read the Takeaways from this session

During this session, we explored your specific questions and brainstormed solutions as a group. Some shared program updates. Here are the takeaways:

Loaner bike programs and on-site bike shops seem to help draw in your bike community.

Here’s what some of you are doing:
• Nike has a small e-bike loaner program for employees to try for their commutes. It’s a month-long commitment, where employees receive a Specialized e-bike, a helmet, a lock, free maintenance – all for $25. They also must take a safety class. After one month, they return the bike. Employees are surveyed twice during the rental period. The exit survey asks questions like: “Did you change behavior? If so, what changed for you?” and “What barriers came up?” The survey measured how often participants used the bike in general and whether they thought it was worth it to buy an e-bike of their own. Nike started the program at a small, manageable scale with $7,000 and 10 bikes. It has since proved successful and is gradually scaling up. Nike also opened up a bike shop on campus for repairs, and with almost no advertising, it is now booked out 2 weeks in advance.
• Stanford Research Park launched a free e-bike loaner program for a specific subset of employees at the research park to use to get between buildings during the day. These bikes are bookable via Calendly for up to two hours. They come with a lock and helmet and users do an orientation and sign a waiver upon initial rental. The program is so popular that SRP is planning to expand it.
• Rubrik has a long-running e-bike and e-scooter program with RAD power bikes. The program manager there noticed that with 30-day rentals, about 95 percent of the bikes needed extensive repairs when they were returned.

Sony Pictures and Entertainment has an enviable TDM cash incentive program, but is looking for additional ways to entice wannabe cyclists. Sony uses a rideshare company called The Rideshare Company where users track their daily commute each month and collect their cash rewards. They can also find carpool/vanpool matches and general info about transportation throughout SoCal.

Right now, the majority of Sony’s workforce lives 30 miles+ from the office. About 10 percent are within the 3-5 mile bikeable range. Currently the company offers a cash incentive for all non-drive alone modes, for each direction. Participants in the programs can earn anywhere from $2 – $5 a day. Note that reimbursement covers the full cost of taking the bus, a $110 monthly pass on Metro. Anyone who rides their bike also gets free access to the on-site gym with showers. Culver City, CA, where Sony is located, also now has dedicated bike and bus lanes which incentivize non-drive alone modes, but exacerbate traffic congestion.
• Bikes Make Life Better offered that rewarding those making their first three rides into the office may be a good next step in the program to entice new bicyclists. “Once you get to the third ride it becomes a habit.”

The University of Washington has some exciting new initiatives in the works!
For a bit of background, UW has an impressive mode split with only a 17% drive alone rate (second only to Columbia U. in university-land?). This is driven by a City of Seattle mandate that the university reduce its SOV rate to 12% and its surface parking by 25% in order to expand its campus. Everyone is given a transit pass to help facilitate UW’s TDM goals, but parking fees are also going up as transportation programs are funded via parking revenues (needed especially since UW is required to reduce parking – see above). Here is more of what UW is up to lately:
• A consolidated bike parking plan, the first of its kind, to rethink the current “museum of bike racks and parking facilities, some last seen in the 1962 film The Slender Thread with Sidney Poitier.” It will focus on short term parking, “bike houses” (shared secured parking) and take a hard look at what UW will do with bike lockers, possibly moving towards a pay-per-use model for bike lockers instead of annual rental. The plan will also include a long overdue assessment on utilization on this significant investment. Note that “on a bad day here [UW],, we’re parking 8K bikes. On a good day it could be over 10K.”
• The transportation team at UW is working with the Electrical Engineering, Urban Planning, and Sustainability departments on two e-bike charging pilots. The first is a changing station for e-bikes, consisting of solar panels placed over existing racks. The second is lockers for battery swapping, storage and charging.
• UW is seeing more e-cargo bikes, especially at day care centers. This is one spot where the U will be analyzing demand for e-changing and bike parking.
• Lastly, UW is looking at allowing e-scooter companies to operate on the campus. Currently, the City of Seattle has contract relationships with 3-4 e-scooter companies. The U is working with scooter companies on what scooter use on campus would look like, including geo-fencing – creating “no fly” and “low fly” zones (i.e. scooters will automatically shut off when they reach certain pinch points, like Red Square and slow down on dangerous areas like sidewalks); fees the companies will pay to be on campus; and parking locations for scooters. “We haven’t given those companies access yet, but that’s about to change.”

How to partner with cities, advocacy and internal groups on infrastructure improvements was a big part of this convo.
• Nike has a dedicated Slack channel, where users identify key intersections near campus that are pain points for cyclists. Nike is able to send these updates to the city, and actually made headway on one key intersection – the city plans to fix the intersection and put in a light so it was easier for cyclists and pedestrians to navigate. This feels like a big win, even though the project won’t be completed for 2 years.
• When REI was moving its HQ to Bellevue, WA, it was working with the city 2-3 years ahead of the move to identify what needed to be upgraded. REI did a bike network analysis, found pinch points and built out their own map for improvements. They shared this map with city and county planners, then worked via the public affairs team to make things happen. Eventually they ended up paying $1 million to shore up a connection between 2 major trails and leveraged that donation to get a promise that the city would also put down money and resources to make other bike infrastructure improvements.
• But public-private partnerships should be regarded with caution. For instance, in Redmond, WA, Microsoft, decided to pay for a massive bridge to link one side and the campus to the other over highway 520 with the understanding that the city of Redmond would take ownership once complete. Unfortunately, the bridge is not accessible to wheeled vehicles, including bicycles, on one end. So Redmond is poised to inherit a bridge that they could never have built in the first place and is not accessible.

Columbia Sportswear
Nintendo of America
Sony Pictures and Entertainment
Stanford Research Park
University of Washington

Session Topic: Micromobility

Micromobility, one of the hottest topics in transportation right now, is constantly evolving. This Bike Forum Conversation focused on how companies and universities are thinking about integrating these “little vehicles” into their transportation options, including use cases, types of systems, facilities, tech, and more.

Read the Takeaways from this session

The format of this Bike Forum Conversation was a little different. To help ground the discussion, Jem Thompson, Bikes Make Life Better Project Coordinator, gave an overview of micromobility.

Here are some the main points from Jem’s presentation:

  • 60% of employees in the United States want to use micromobility to commute (McKinsey and Company, 2022)
  • Shared micromobility is continuing to gain popularity (NABSA, 2020)
  • Micromobility has high potential to reduce SOV rates.
  • High gas prices means a potential increase in micromobility.
  • Understanding your own specific use case(s) is a key first step.
  • Keep micromobility users safe by first separating them from automotive traffic wherever possible.
  • Identifying key routes can help TDM professionals prioritize the most important network segments.
  • Planning for vulnerable users provides benefits to all.
  • Developing, understanding, and conveying policy governing micromobility users is key.
  • A circulation and gap analysis is a great first step to understand your local context and considerations. 
  • Adaptable and flexible parking solutions are key in accommodating micromobility users.
  • Planning micromobility in tandem with transit can benefit both modes and multimodal commuters. 
  • Loaner programs, partnerships with existing companies, and private systems are all ways to make micromobility devices available. 


Offering micromobility programs across jurisdictions

  • U.C. Berkeley has the unique challenge of coordinating programs that work for the campus population and the city and scooters are no different. U.C. Berkeley is state property and thus governed by a different set of rules than, say, the sidewalk across the street from campus (that is owned by the city). This makes it tough to deal with issues like loss and theft (Who is responsible in the event of a crash?) U.C. Berkeley decided to launch its own micromobility program (separate from the regional program) next month and is currently working with the vendor on safety mandates and expectations.
  • A study from the Mineta Transportation Institute found that there are thousands of different policies pertaining to micromobility across jurisdictions, and, unsurprisingly, mass confusion is the result.
  • As an example, in Oregon, to legally ride a scooter at any age, you need to wear a helmet. But to use a pedal-assist bike, you don’t legally have to wear one if you’re 16 years old or older.

Rider/user education

  • You’ll need to do some level of EDU regardless of your use case (at minimum, if a user downloads the app of any prominent provider, they’ll be walked through safety checks).
  • Nike recently relaunched Biketown (pedal-assist e-bikes) at HQ, and although it’s popular, program administration requires intensive user training. This was a little unexpected since most major cities, including Portland, have public e-bike share. Nike’s program manager gets ~6 emails a day on how to use the bikes, mainly docking questions. So Nike went from issuing new users a brief video tutorial, to a live action video tutorial (broken down into segments) with accompanying visuals to accommodate all types of learners. They’ve also begun leading practice rides several times a week with 5 – 15 employees per ride. During these rides, employees learn how to unlock, lock, dock, and generally use the bikes. “There’s a certain joy in it, but when you’ve made it through 300 people and you have 14,000 to go … this is going to be a long journey.” So don’t underestimate the need for robust user education when it comes to micromobility.
  • If working with a third party vendor, Google suggests having them come to the worksite to run events, get the sign up going, test ride vehicles with the provider there, etc.
  • Note that vendors will tell you everything you want to hear. They’ll lean on their app for sharing the message. Be really clear who is calling the shots, and be sure to hold vendors accountable. For example, they may say they’re gonna do helmet giveaways, user outreach, etc., but they need someone actually prompting them to follow through with these things. The University of Colorado in Boulder didn’t do a good job of “saying this outreach and these marketing elements are going to happen by this date.” So have a clear comms plan going in, fully-formed KPIs, and a good sense of who does what/when.
  • One note of caution that experts in academia and the public sector have brought up is that sometimes claims from providers/operators are a bit over-confident in terms of how accurate/dialed in these technological safety measures go. Of course this will likely improve moving forward.

Micromobility policies

  • To stress, there’s no one-size-fits all policy to govern micromobility – it’s just too varied in terms of device, use case, context, and environment. For example, different places will have opposite policies when it comes to sidewalk ridership. While allowing scooters and e-bikes on the sidewalks in an urban area may be ill-advised, allowing them on sidewalks in urban office parks, with little to no bike infrastructure and wide open sidewalks, may be the safer option.
  • Policies on the use and parking of micromobility devices are important, but you should ask yourself what you’re really trying to accomplish? Reduce liability? Improve safety? Google recently toured some of its bike rooms, found inconsistencies in design and decided to come up with a policy to govern them. In the end, the policy was three sentences, because keeping it simple and user-friendly was most important.
  • Google also suggests leveraging documentation that providers have (indemnification, etc.) when possible. Additionally, touch base with your Risk Management team in terms of provisions and expectations.
  • Are waivers really useful when it comes to legal ramifications? Debatable. But, they set a good precedent: Employees should take responsibility for their use.
  • Starbucks is about to launch its first e-bike program and they’re providing a liability waiver for employees to sign before check out. A terms of service agreement is a good idea too.
  • If working with a micromobility vendor, ask them to include a training piece. Make it a contractual obligation.
  • There are 200 scooters in the city of Boulder + the University Colorado’s Lime pilot (plus it’s been working with Bicycle for a while to provide bicycles – Bicycle recently fully electrified its fleet). Scooters are only allowed in certain parts of town (due to safety reasons – the university student leadership didn’t want scooters on campus, so it’s a big deal). University students don’t require as much training, and “they’re more than happy to hop on these things and rip around.” For policy, rules and regulations, the university is leaning on the city. They have those policies, laws in place, etc. and the city has done a lot of work to simplify them.
  • Check out their Can Do Colorado e-bike pilot grant program here.

Safety in general

  • Can you work with your local government to make sure intersections or hot spots are safe for micromobility users? For instance, Children’s Hospital worked with the city on a street connection to the Burke Gillman that increased the safety of a major micromobility commuter route.
  • According to data, the majority of scooter crashes happened during the first ride.
  • The University Colorado in Boulder partnered with the city to pilot Lime scooters. And with Lime’s tech, university administrators can control how fast riders can go, where they go, where the scooters are usable, and make sure they’re shut off at a certain time (to prevent scootering while drunk incidents/crashes).

End of Trip accommodations for micromobility

  • These are expensive devices, so one big challenge is preventing theft. U.C. Berkeley has three bike cages located in parking garages (one of which is underutilized), so it opened those up to scooter users to park for free. And the de facto policy is: As long as you can lock your device securely to a bike rack in a way that won’t disrupt the rest of the parking area, then that’s ok. But you can’t have devices blocking the path of travel or creating ADA violations (locking to handrail). So we need to be careful how we approach parking — “you can’t just say do this and you’ll be good.”
  • Sometimes, paint can act as a good end-of-trip or wayfinding solution.

  • Google is working on retrofitting some of its bike rooms to accommodate non-conventional vehicles, like scooters and e-bikes (i.e. taking out vertical racks, which heavy e-bikes and scooters can’t use). When space is at a premium it gets hard to allocate too much. Especially with different types of devices and sizes, it can be challenging.
  • The University Colorado in Boulder notes that a lot of people assumed scooters would be chucked into creeks and end up in trees when the pilot launched. But there hasn’t been any of those issues at all. This could be due to the strict parking zones the university set up. The university owns the property and worked with Lime to set up a zone where rides can only be ended within a zone at certain parking hubs (painted a green box). They were able to manage how and where they’re parked, so as to avoid the issue of scooters being left in walkways etc. Lime was very responsive responding to issues. For instance, Lime made a “no parking zone” where parked scooters were coming into conflict with people trying to board transit. After the change, riders could pass through on a scooter, but not park their vehicles in the area.
  • If you have a parking lot that has a weird corner where people don’t typically park, consider using that for your scooter parking area; what could fit one car can fit 15 scooters. Or utilize Bike parking underneath staircases or other “dead” space.

Scooter pilots

  • Nike is piloting 15 scooters at its HQ, loaned out to different departments for employees who need to get around campus during the day. Nike gives them the scooter, a helmet, a lock, and a bike route map (to show where they can/can’t ride). They’ll mimic the behaviors that we’re looking for (i.e. not riding through lobbies of buildings, wear helmets, etc. Nike also preemptively provided a list of 10 questions to each participant to answer at the end of the pilot. Questions include: Where did you find yourself riding? Areas of concern? Did you use it often or not? The company is running the pilot for two months since it’s still the rainy season, and they’d like to collect some feedback during sunny days as well. The pilot targets those who don’t want to ride bike town or can’t, are already doing it anyway (some of Nike’s VPs. etc), who want to get out of their cars, to test adding scooters to Nike’s fleet mix, and to push for unification of campus services…the campus has been around for 40 years and cobblestones are not conducive to scootering.
  • Google is running a pilot program with multiple providers to offer employees scooters, sit-down scooters and e-bikes. 
  • Google is also partnering with local bikeshare or rideshare providers so employees can get reimbursed for a portion of their membership cost every time they record a ride. (If an employee uses a vehicle and logs trips, then Google will reimburse them for the cost of the trips. Subscriptions cost ~$90 for e-bikes and ~50 for scooters and Google is reimbursing employees on a per trip basis. If an employee rides a scooter 3 days a week, that’s 24 trips, (to work is one; back is one) they can get a full reimbursement. If they forget to log trips they will not be reimbursed, so they have skin in the game. Thousands of employees participate in this program. In cities where we need to reduce SOV mode split for parking, congestion, or regulatory reasons, this really helps.


  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • CBRE/Nike
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Google
  • Intel Corporation
  • Nintendo of America
  • Oracle
  • PeopleForBikes
  • Providence
  • Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • Sony Pictures Studios
  • Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Steer @ Google
  • T-Mobile
  • TDM Specialists,  Inc.
  • University of California Berkeley
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Walmart
  • Western Washington University


Session Topic: Leveraging Bike Challenges

Bike challenges — where cyclists track their rides or miles (or both) in exchange for rewards, swag, or acclaim — are effective at getting people on bikes. With May Bike Month coming up, now is a great time to think about how to start and manage a bike challenge at your workplace. This Bike Forum Conversation centered on how companies and universities have leveraged bike challenges to get more students and employees riding.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Case Studies: Bike Challenges

  • PeopleForBikes bike program in Northwest Arkansas: PeopleForBikes (P4B) has been tasked with developing and running bike programs for employers in Northwest Arkansas, including Walmart. As part of this effort, P4B deployed Ride Spot Enterprise to run challenges. The details:
    • It’s open to the public: Anyone can sign up for Ride Spot, sync devices, and access challenges that affiliates are putting on.
    • Challenges are based on either # rides, # trips, or location (i.e. geofencing rides to/from office, but since many WFH they’re trying to integrate other location-based options)
    • Data collection: With the paid enterprise layer, companies are able to create private company accounts that they can then authenticate, limit access, and view a dashboard that includes overall miles, rides per person, and miles per person. They can also translate gains into CO2 offsets, etc.
    • Some challenges are geographically bound and other are national (“Ride to Fight Climate Change”). Ride Spot can even be used internationally.
    • Most challenges have a tangible benefit to them (virtual patches or badges) although some challenges have more substantial prizes (i.e. drawing for an e-bike).
    • Currently, P4B is doing 2-3 challenges a month for the intermediate / beginner riders (i.e. ride two times in the winter). And starting this year they’re doing an annual challenge (i.e. a millage challenge: 1K a year) for each of the companies they’re working with then have monthly challenges to get at more. JB Hunt is testing out the financial incentives.
    • Enterprise does have the ability to integrate with payroll (+ SSO integration ability).
  • Tableau (Salesforce) – Ride in the Rain Challenge: Located in Seattle, Tableau set up a pop-up bike station on Burke Gilman, a busy trail that runs right by the office, during the annual Ride in the Rain challenge. The primary goal was to educate employees who may not be regular riders. Here are the details:
    • It was open to the public and employees.
    • Promotion was done mainly on Slack, but also via bicycle champions word of mouth.
    • A local bike shop brought safety bike light samples (arranged on a board) as a comparison.
    • There were donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate (never underestimate the power of free food as a draw).
    • Tableau had employees come out of the office that would normally ride in the summer and not in the winter; plus they got people coming in from the trail.
    • A future idea would be to organize a bike decorating contest (with LED string lights and reflectors) and a parade. 
    • Now that Tableau is Salesforce, they use Luum as an internal platform, employees would track rides.
  • Tableau – Maintenance Meet Up: During Bike Month, Tableau did a “Bike 101” in-person training. The company Champions led a 101-style class (i.e. “Fix a Flat” and “ABC Quick Check”) that would kick off the month. Employees would meet in the bike room and Champs would lead the workshop.
  • Meta’s May Bike Month Challenge: Last year during Bike Month, Meta wanted to test a new type of challenge to encourage riders to ride more without giving away anything. Meta was interested in trying out the efficacy of leaderboards and competitions between teams and individuals. The company had to get creative. Since it didn’t use a bike challenge platform, like LoveToRide or Ride Spot, the bike team used a shared Google sheet and asked participants to self-report their rides (honor system). They then created an internal event and communicated about it on “Workplace” (like a company wiki or internal corporate Facebook). More details:
    • Meta’s bike team assigned points for miles, rides, and for riding consecutively (days in a row); to encourage anyone to ride (not just the lycra crew). Participants were awarded 10 points per ride, regardless of mileage.
    • See the Example Tracking Sheet; make a copy and use it for your challenge! It’s a low cost way to run a bike challenge without a dedicated platform.Scr
    • The challenge was global, and the bike team assigned everyone to a team based on office or geographic location (more opportunity to connect/ride in person). They allowed employees to be on teams of their choosing if they asked, but otherwise, the bike team made the team assignments. Teams were made up of 5 – 6 people. This helped keep the challenge competitive, so one team of super cyclists wouldn’t dominate the leaderboard (as is usually the case with regional bike month challenges). 
    • There was usually one team member who would egg on the others to participate.
    • Each week, the bike team would send out reminders to participants to record their rides and include an updated leaderboard, nudging teams that had fallen behind to pick it up. It was all very playful.
    • The winners got recognition, but that’s it, no prizes.
  • Western Washington University: WWU doesn’t have much of a budget for bike challenges or incentives, but it does use the LoveToRide platform, since there are months where you don’t have to pay to play. In those cases, you can sort teams by region so the WWU teams were easy to find by segmenting by “Whatcom County” (note, this may not work as well for larger counties/regions).


  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Google
  • Meta
  • Moffett Park Business Group
  • Netflix
  • Nike
  • PeopleForBikes
  • Salesforce
  • Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • Tesla
  • University of Washington
  • Walmart
  • Western Washington University


Session Topic: The Role Of Bikes In A Hybrid Workplace

We’re all thinking about how the shift to hybrid work schedules and virtual work will affect our bike programs. How do we build and maintain a community that isn’t coming to the office everyday? How do we instill that camaraderie in a virtual work world? This Bike Forum Conversation centered on how we’re all thinking about these changes and what the future of bike commuting holds as we emerge from a global pandemic.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Case Studies: How To Create Community

  • Salesforce’s bike community: As Weiser from Salesforce noted at the beginning of our session, there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful about that future: Even in this challenging time, the role of bikes should be important and beneficial. In fact, the bike boom means there’s a larger pool of potential bikers to draw from. Salesforce created a searchable internal index for its Bike Champions: When you apply to be a bike champ, you fill out a survey indicating what you’re willing to do. This information goes into the index, along with your contact info — all of which is searchable by colleagues looking for help or information on bike commuting.
  • Nike has been using internal biking channels on Slack to identify super users and then take them for coffee. The goals of these meet ups is to point out how important they are in driving the work, make sure transportation goals align with cyclist goals; and help identify resources where applicable. Engagement has been around financial needs (i.e. getting an e-bike and how to get shops to offer discounts) and then identifying obstacles around getting a bike and starting to commute and how to address these obstacles. Salesforce also uses Slack channels to communicate with its bike commuters. To differentiate the “official” channel from user-created channels, Weiser does giveaways there.
  • Walmart has an ambitious goal of getting 10 percent of its workforce to bike to work by 2023. In service of that goal, the team there started a mobility work stream in June in partnership with PeopleForBikes. One of the most exciting initiatives was a bike mural that makes for a warm/welcoming space. It’s become a meeting spot and will serve as a focal point as associates return to the office. Visual cues are GREAT – paint is cheap and this kind of action really helps show leadership support for cyclist culture.

Walmart’s new Bike Champs are designing products for its internal company stores (home office location, not Walmart stores). This has also garnered enthusiasm from employees. It’s important because employees aren’t used to seeing attention put on bike/commuter specific initiatives. Additionally Walmart set up bikes and mannequins in the lobby as a display, along with a kiosk with route information. In addition Walmart started a Facebook page for bikes; launched Lunch & Learns; helped employees train for a bike event called Square to Square; and has plans in the works to leave tags on employee’s bikes when people are back to commuting to the office again.

“Arrive Happy” is the tagline used for the PeopleForBikes Enterprise Program. This website has more information about the program.

Case Studies: Public/Private Partnerships And Subsidies

  • Microsoft, Amazon, and REI have committed millions in donations to  build and/or upgrade bike trails in the Seattle region including the Eastrail and the 520 trail. In addition, they have leveraged these donations to get the county, multiple cities and the state to match their donations with enough funding to complete several major projects. 
  • Colorado is making a big push to electrify transportation under the “Can Do Colorado” initiative, supporting expanding access to e-bikes.
  • Walmart is influencing the build environment with a regional trail called the Razorback Greenway. There are sections that are wedged between roads, etc. where Walmart is pursuing upgrades, like grade separation for all street crossings, etc. Walmart is also using its influence to push bond measures that re-up street infrastructure, so that the region should have a comfortable and connected bicycle network over the next 3-5 years.

Question: How Do We Get People On Bikes Without The High Cost Of A Bike Purchase?

  • Low/no interest financing.
  • Keep fingers crossed that Congress will approve a bike commuting incentive and e-bike incentive in its next package. 
  • Loan to own programs or incentives may be effective. Shows that those receiving the benefit (something like bike x miles and get an incentive to defray the cost of buying a bike) are the ones who are really going to use it.
  • European loaner models are beginning to make their way stateside. For instance Blackhawk is working on piloting a bike purchase program, partnering with employers. Vanmoof also wants to enter this market, with lease programs (that include maintenance); they need a certain number of employees to sign up before they’d launch a program.

Question: How Do We Get E-Bike Riders To Slow Down On Trails?

  • Security isn’t enforcing speeding, so other interventions are needed.
  • Signs to show how fast you’re going.
  • Use Bike Ambassadors to help raise awareness with new cyclists.
  • Bicycle Friendly Driver program – designed to educate both drivers and cyclists on what the rules of the road are.

Case Studies: Incentives/Swag During The Pandemic

  • Salesforce dropships swag directly using Snappy.
  • Nike was able to open up a bike shop on campus that serves employees three days a week with very inexpensive bike repairs.
  • PeopleForBikes uses Ride Spot to offer two kinds of rides: a ride anywhere and then a ride to/from the office tracked using a geofence.
  • Walmart Associates love swag, so in addition to the bike challenges run by PeopleForBikes, Walmart plans to give out things like lanyards that build its bike ambassador brand + create awareness for bike commuting.

Question: How Are You Thinking About Budgeting For Next Year?

  • Nike is asking for programmatic resources; its bike loaner program is relaunching in April and will run for 7 months instead of 5. Funds are needed to host workshops and trainings, and to enlist bike shops to do product demos.
  • The University of Washington is replacing legacy bike lockers (frequently vandalized; don’t hold enough bikes) with “Bike Houses” (RFID accessible; that hold more bikes per footprint).


  • AbbVie
  • Apple
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Nike
  • Cisco 
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Gap Inc
  • Google
  • Intuit
  • Moffett Park Business Group
  • Oracle
  • PeopleForBikes
  • Salesforce
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Starbucks
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Washington
  • Walmart
  • Walton Family Foundation
  • Walton Life Fitness Center
  • Warner Bros


Session topic: Internal Partnerships

Internal partnerships are critical to reaching new audiences, sharing resources, and fostering cross-functional relationships. Biking can be a powerful tool in fostering these internal partnerships while helping to achieve corporate goals across various initiatives like VMT and SOV rates, wellness, sustainability, employee retention and engagement, and others. Recent trends — like the bike boom; a spotlight on employee physical and mental health; and corporate pledges to reduce carbon footprints — should inspire internal groups to team up on bike projects. But what do these partnerships look like? And how do you make the first move? In this Bike Forum Conversation, we discussed all that and more.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Case Studies: Internal Partnerships

  • Essentia Health has a fairly new TDM program that serves dozens of locations around Minnesota and Wisconsin, including a large urban campus in Duluth. The transportation manager at Essentia wanted to host a virtual bike commuting class, but ran into issues with promotion. The message wasn’t broad enough for internal comms to spearhead, and the new transportation program didn’t have existing ways to get the word out. As a result, only two employees (out of 5,000) showed up for the first class. So, the manager enlisted Essentia’s internal Wellness Committee for help with the next class. Wellness was able to distribute the message to their audiences via special channels, like their calendar, and an app that sends push notifications to users. Wellness also agreed to offer points to those who participated in the class. These points, redeemable for gift cards, were already known and popular among Essentia employees. For the next class, 65 employees registered and 50 to 55 attended! Wellness saw the situation as a win-win. Given that building physical activity into a person’s daily routine is a much more effective way to keep healthy than more specialized activities (like cooking or going to a gym), commuting by bicycle is a great way to keep employees healthy.
  • LinkedIn (a Bikes Make Life Better client) regularly partners with its internal Wellness Team on bike events. Employees who participate in these events earn points to be redeemed for swag. 
  • Western Washington University’s Transportation Team is partnering with the university’s Outdoor Center — a crew of students/staff who lead outdoor excursions, like kayaking trips, biking trips, etc — on a fall bicycle festival. The Outdoor Center has high levels of engagement with the student population and is well-funded, both huge plusses! The Outdoor Center is providing the budget for graphic design for the event, staffing, and a portion of the marketing.
  • Facebook Transportation began partnering with internal “social” groups (i.e. groups dedicated to LGBTQAI issues, parenting, women’s issues, etc.) when it learned that 40% of current employees had never set foot on campus before (these are new hires during the pandemic). Although the Bike Team has its own internal cycling group, new employees working from home weren’t joining. Because bikes are for everyone, it was easy to find synergies with internal social groups and create partnerships as a signal boost. The team started by asking for informal chats to listen to social group needs and come up with ways to weave bikes into programming. Bandwidth was an issue, so events were kept small — examples include:
    • Live discussions with prominent figures in the community
    • Marketing those who bike with a disability, those who bike with pets, etc.
    • For the “parents” group partnership, the Bike Team hosted two parents who bike with their kids for a live Q&A. The parents group used its budget to purchase one kid trailer, a bike, and a few helmets and raffled them off.
    • For Black History Month, the bike team partnered with the Black@ club and created a digital click-through African American cycling history paired with a bingo card (see below).

  • For a fall riding campaign, Google’s Transportation Team in Seattle asked employees to submit testimonials to be shared with other Googlers via display screens and via a roundtable discussion. Employees relayed how they commute to work and gave advice for riding in the rain. “It’s like with kids: Mom can tell you to do something over and over again, but if someone else tells you-you might actually listen.” ;-)

Case Studies: Enlist C-Suite Execs as Bike Commuters

  • Nike recently launched an e-bike loaner program, and a prominent company leader participated. At the end of the trial period, the leader wanted to buy an e-bike for their personal commute. The Transportation Team saw an opportunity to market biking to the wider employee population, and decided to give the leader an e-bike…with a few catches: They had to lead a ride from Portland to Beaverton, where Nike is headquartered; they had to be seen with it on campus; they had to talk about the ride experience; and they had to be available for employee questions.
  • David shared a past work experience while working at PATH, a non-profit in Seattle: The Bike Committee was extremely active at PATH, but the CEO didn’t ride. However, many employees registered for a local ride that went right by the CEO’s house. When the CEO realized this, they invited everyone to lunch at their home after the ride.
  • Anna shared a past work experience at Google: Google’s former CFO was an avid cyclist and used to ride a fuzzy cargo bike to and from work. So the transportation team enlisted the CFO to send an annual Bike to Work Day email, encouraging employees to ride and offering pictures and stories of his own biking experiences. This was always very popular. To pay homage to the CFO’s fuzzy bike, the transportation team memorialized it on one of it’s bike to work day T-shirts. It’s a little tough to make out the fur on the frame (you have to look closely), but it made for a fun “easter egg” that many noticed and talked about.
  • Amy shared that Walmart, a company headquartered in northwest Arkansas, has a goal of achieving a 10% bike mode split by 2023. To try to embed biking into the corporate culture, executives will often lead rides. One executive even conducts meetings by bike, films them, and then uploads them to Facebook.
  • David shared that the Allen Institute, a Seattle company located on a major bike path, has an impressive 20% bike mode split in the summer. One reason is their CEO is a biker and took the time to encourage people to cycle. He was profiled in the employee newsletter and really led by example.

Ideas to Steal

  • If you don’t have a robust wellness team on campus, consider coordinating with fitness centers.
  • Participate in internal event fairs, like Earth Day, Wellness Fairs, Commute Fairs, etc.
  • Join the committees of groups you wish to partner with. This also helps you know about upcoming opportunities.
  • “Cold call” internal groups and ask for an informal chat. Essentia’s transportation manager sent an email to the internal Wellness Committee asking for an informal meeting and started with the question: “How did you achieve this really great program that people love?” Relationship building starts with curiosity.
  • Piggyback off of others’ budgets. For instance the bike committee at PATH (mentioned above) discovered that the Wellness Team had access to an insurance kick back. A natural partnership took root since wellness didn’t have a lot of ideas or time to implement them.
  • For the staff-constrained, try starting bike champions programs at satellite offices. Give them a budget (if possible) or reward in some way (like with extra PTO days). Train and empower them to build bike communities at their offices.
  • Encourage public bragging (no really!). Netflix transportation recently implemented RideAmigos, and employees started posting their CO2 savers and other stats to the company Slack. How motivating!


  • Columbia Sportswear Company
  • Essentia Health
  • George Mason University
  • Manzanita Works
  • Netflix
  • Nike
  • Salesforce
  • Steer, working for Google
  • T-Mobile
  • Western Washington University


Session topic: Bike Joy and Engagement

In the TDM world we’re always looking for new and creative ways to engage with our employees. Engagement strategies can look very different depending on the transportation mode and in the case of bikes, we’ve found that spreading “Joy” is a proven way to motivate people to pedal to work. In this Bike Forum Conversation, we shared some of our creative endeavors that have helped Joy translate to more butts on bikes.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Spreading Joy Actually Works!

And don’t just take our word for it. We’ve found a healthy selection of academic research that links people’s joy and happiness to biking:

  • UC Davis researchers interviewed 54 bicyclists to understand what people like about bicycling. Their quantitative analysis indicated that fun is far more strongly associated with affinity to biking, than belief that bicycling is healthy or good for the environment. Source: What is it about bicycling? Evidence from Davis, California by Susan Handy & Amy E. Lee
  • A study out of Portland State University created a “commute well being” score for all commute modes and found that those who bike to work score significantly higher than other modes including driving and taking transit. Source: Commute Well-Being among Bicycle, Transit, and Car Users in Portland, Oregon by Oliver Smith & Nohad A. Toulan 
  • A collaborative study from Clemson and Penn State asked if people’s moods vary by travel mode and found that moment-to-moment, bicyclists feel better than those taking any other mode. Source: Mood and mode: Does how we travel affect how we feel? By Eric A. Morris & Erick Guerra

Practical Examples

There are many ways to incorporate bike joy as a way of engaging with your employees. We discussed the various programs (and potential for programs) that are proven to be effective engagement tools.

  • Intuit runs an annual bike challenge in conjunction with the fitness center called the Tour de Intuit. Participants use Strava to track their rides for three weeks and are rewarded with incentives, like bike tools and bike kits. The ride leader gets an exclusive racing jersey. Passing ownership to another department (in this case to the fitness center) is a great way to lighten your department’s workload and also get other departments engaged with bikes. Note: this is also a great way to utilize other department’s budgets.
  • As part of Nintendo Cares Month, Nintendo partners with its local bike advocacy organization to reward employees who ride up to around 200 miles in support of helping underserved youth learn to ride. Employees receive points that can be used as local non profit donations. 
  • Bikes Make Life Better launched an engagement pilot with a handful of companies that included a bike bingo offering. Participants were encouraged to send in their completed bingo cards with a photo that was then posted to the BMLB site. Those who submitted bingo cards were entered to win a $500 gift certificate to our online bike shop.
  • Last year, Bikes Make Life Better conducted its first-ever Bike Commute Makeover contest, where we gave one lucky winner everything they needed to start bike commuting. We selected Melissa Ibarra as our makeover candidate and outfitted her with a brand new bike, a helmet, gear, and guidance, so she could start biking to her job as a Senior Communicable Disease Investigator (think contract tracer and essential worker). The joyful story of Melissa’s transformation is documented in a video and blog post on our website, and the contest could be replicated elsewhere as positive biking PR.
  • Nike started a loaner program, where employees received bikes, gear (like a lock and lights) and the option to attend an educational session for $25. Signups were open for four days and 40 out of the 50 slots were filled!
  • Nike and Intel bike commuters challenged each other to a bike competition to see who could log more commute miles, and was billed as “Jocks vs. Nerds.” Pitting Nike against Intel employees makes sense since both companies have large campuses located in the Portland metro area.


  • Essentia Health
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • Intuit
  • Nintendo
  • Nike
  • Oracle



Session topic: Bike Facilities and Return to Office

As the weather warms and vaccinations increase, many of us are turning our attention to a return to occupancy. What has changed on the facilities front? What do we need to prepare for, especially in terms of people arriving back at work by bike? We covered these complex topics in this month’s Bike Forum Conversation.

Read the Takeaways from this session


E-bikes are having a moment. We saw 2020 e-bike sales outpace 2019 sales by an average of 137% (PeopleForBikes). These numbers offer exciting possibilities for the bike commute landscape, but also come with challenges, especially when it comes to parking. We discussed the considerations needed to accommodate e-bikes:

  • Charging: E-bikes likely need to be charged each day, especially if you have employees arriving from long distances or navigating hilly terrain. We recommend at least 25% of all horizontal (floor) racks be equipped with chargers (but the more the better).
  • Parking Accommodations: E-bikes are heavier on average due to their batteries and additional technology. Therefore you should not assume that they can be lifted onto any rack (or that racks are strong enough to hold them). That means that you should provide enough horizontal racks (like staple racks or double decker racks with lift assist) so people can easily wheel their bike up to the rack and lock it. You should also consider accommodations for cargo bikes (we recommend at least two designated spaces in each bike room) which requires a much larger footprint than a regular sized bike.
  • Policies: Just like the occasional abandoned bike left for days or weeks in a bike room, the same could happen for things like e-bike batteries that are left plugged in. Make sure to talk with your facilities team and others (legal, risk management, HR) to come up with policies that mitigate risk from battery negligence. Policies also should include where people can bring or not bring their batteries (such as to their desks).
  • Education: A recent study by the National Bike Dealers Association found that 40% of e-bike riders are new to cycling. This is great, but also an important factor to consider from a commuting perspective. We need to ensure that everyone is riding safely and is educated on how to properly use bike parking facilities.

Shower Facilities

Showers have posed a wicked problem during COVID. Most shower facilities have shut down completely. We discussed some short term solutions to help our sweaty employees maintain comfort at work while ensuring safety for everyone.

  • Shower facilities generally have a low percentage of use based on the total commuting population. Adopting a short term policy to limit shower area access to only one person at a time is not unreasonable, especially when facilities are opening with a smaller percentage of the workforce.
  • Companies and universities that lack dedicated shower facilities sometimes allow cyclists to use gym facilities as an alternative. Consider the location of these gym facilities however, especially in terms of their proximity to people’s offices. They won’t be used if they are too far away.
  • Companies in Northwest Arkansas did not have shower facilities, so they added temporary shower trailers in their parking lots. These are a great solution during COVID since they have a higher potential for air flow, and can be moved to other areas of need post-COVID.

Getting in on the Ground Floor

The easiest way to ensure that bike parking facilities meet the ideal criteria for comfortable and accessible use is to ensure that the transportation team is brought in during the design phase of any facility development.

  • The Facebook transportation team designed bike parking standards that the developers must follow when designing any new building.
  • The University of Washington transportation team has adopted a proactive approach to any new facility design. They aim to have a seat at the table in any new building design.

Leadership Tailwinds

Corporate sustainability and lowering emissions is moving to center stage for many companies. Transportation teams can (and should) capitalize on this, because it will often work out to your benefit.

  • Nike’s transportation team leverages the company’s campaign that aims for net-zero emissions to help justify a larger budget for bike initiatives. They also help to make arguments against auto-centric initiatives like building another parking garage.
  • T-Mobile uses Luum to calculate people’s bike trips from home to work. The more data that you have on employees taking alternative transportation, the better a company looks by showing that they have reduced their SOV use (and thereby saving X amount of emissions). This is another possible way to gain more funding for things like bike parking facilities.


  • Adidas
  • Boston Properties
  • City of Hope Hospital
  • Facebook
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • George Mason University
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft
  • Nintendo
  • Nike
  • Providence Health and Services
  • Salesforce
  • Tableau
  • T-Mobile
  • University of Washington
  • VMware
  • Western Washington University


  • Here is a complimentary version of our Workplace Bicycle Safety Re-entry Guidelines where we offer resources on how to make your facilities safe for employees returning to the office by bike.
  • Salesforce offers a great example of a comfortable and accessible bike room.
  • Need some good data to convince your team that converting people from cars to bikes lowers emissions? Here’s a good Bloomberg article with helpful stats.


Session topic: Bike Loaner Programs

Bike loaner programs are a great way to get employees onto a bike and riding to work, without the commitment of ownership. The bike loaner concept is not new, but we see new interest and ideas gaining momentum, especially as companies prepare to return employees to the office. Our Bike Forum Conversation included a rich assortment of companies and universities, some with prior bike loaner experience to share and others with great questions to help them launch their own programs.

Read the Takeaways from this session

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a bike loaner program. To help define what program might work for you, we recommend considering these important questions in the program planning process:

  • Will you own the bike fleet and lend the bikes out repeatedly?
  • Is it a loan-to-own model where employees eventually purchase the bike?
  • Does leasing make more sense over loaning? 
  • Should you hire outside vendors to help run it?
  • Who can participate?
  • What is the loaning time period?
  • What types of bikes/accessories make sense for your employees/students?
  • How big is the fleet?
  • How do you keep track of and maintain the bikes?
  • How do you mitigate risk and liability?

While our Bike Forum Conversation was too brief to solve every aspect of this multifaceted subject, the diversity of knowledge and informed questioning helped the group gain a better understanding of how to navigate the bike loaner landscape. 

Risk Mitigation

Navigating insurance can be a rigid and demanding piece of the program planning, but it is a vital aspect when considering any type of bike loaner program. The companies that run their own programs shared their experience with implementing policies that lowered their risk.

  • Google differentiates between company and third party liability. Commuting generally falls outside of workers compensation parameters, so they include in their waiver that workers comp does not apply to injuries while using a loaner bike. 
  • Facebook uses a third party vendor (Bikes Make Life Better) for its bike rental program which transfers the liability ownership to the vendor.  
  • Similar to Facebook, Nike commissioned their local TMA as a third party vendor to help run their bike rental program.
  • Intuit (among others) require all users to wear helmets and agree to comply with all local laws and ordinances.  
  • Education shows insurance brokers that you are committed to safety and security. Many employers conduct classes to educate users. Classes include:
    • A mandatory presentation on how to use the bike, how to ride safely, helmet fitting and how to properly lock a bike 
    • Rules of the road
    • E-bikes 101
  • Having a solid repair and maintenance program is also key to risk mitigation.
  • Requiring users to sign waivers is a vital step to protecting your company, but comes with its own logistical challenges. We recommend using WaiverForever for digital waiver management.

Maintenance and Logistics

To run a successful bike loaner program, you’ll need to address logistics and resource questions unique to your company or university. The main question is whether or not you have the internal resources to operate maintenance and logistics, or if you have the budget to outsource those elements.

  • Loan periods: UC Boulder had a 48-hour loan policy, but that turned into a maintenance challenge. They switched to semester-long loan periods with required deposits, which garnered more success. Users took more ownership of their bikes and kept them in better condition.
  • Maintenance: Emory University has a student bike maintenance group that performs all maintenance on their loaner fleet.
  • Tracking: Google uses Salesforce to track their fleet, including which bikes are checked out for use. It also organizes their loaner waiting list.
  • Loans vs Bike Share: Multiple employers found that bike loans for intercampus use were not as effective as running an intercampus bike share. Bike loans worked better for commuting between campus and home.


Many companies choose to utilize outside vendors for various bike-related services. We discussed the benefits and challenges that come with taking this route.

  • Facebook’s legal team prefers that they use vendors (especially for bikes and other transportation services) so they can separate their assets, like loaner or rental bikes.  
  • Nike utilizes their local TMA and bike shops. The TMA owns the bikes and the bike shops help with maintenance.    
  • Google staff worked creatively with a local bike shop to design a loan-to-own program because they could not find a vendor that runs the type of program they want (this is all still new territory for many of us).


Strategic policies help a program run smoothly, and also allow you to build in creative incentives.

  • Google’s policy requires that every user must utilize their loaner bike for a minimum of 60% of their commuting activity. Google tracks this progress through digital commute platforms (RideAmigos or Luum combined with Strava) and conducts monthly audits. The stick is the user loses their bike privilege if they fall under 60%. The carrot is they receive a subsidy to purchase a bike if they maintain their 60% commuting average. 
  • Another policy incentive is to require a minimum weekly usage (measured in number of days). If the user commits to that, then they can keep the bike.  
  • Google also focuses their program on full-time employees who live within a five to ten-mile radius from campus.


  • Abbvie
  • Adidas
  • Amazon
  • Amgen
  • Apple
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • City of Hope Hospital
  • Emory University
  • Essentia Health
  • Facebook
  • Genentech
  • Google
  • Intuit
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft
  • Nintendo
  • Netflix
  • Nike
  • Oracle
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • Starbucks
  • Stripe
  • Symetra
  • T-Mobile
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Washington
  • Warner Bros.
  • Western Washington University


Session topic: New Years Bike Program Resolutions

We started off this (interesting) year of Bike Forum Conversations by discussing challenges and opportunities, as we deal with the uncertainty that this year brings with bike and transportation programming. Our fruitful conversation garnered a wide spectrum of answers and perspectives.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Employee Engagement

Many transportation managers are using creative bike-centric strategies to engage with their employees, both in preparation for their return to the office as well as to improve the work-from-home experience. 

  • Nike sees the mass return to work as an opportunity for a “fresh start” on transportation. They are devising ways to help employees relearn the rules for commuting and break from old habits. 
  • Apple is working to improve the employee’s home experience by encouraging them to make non-commute trips by bike (like to the grocery store or to drop their kids off at school). The idea is to form habits outside of commuting that will translate well when they return to the office.   
  • Engagement through donations: With many people and organizations struggling during the pandemic, some companies are giving employees the option to repurpose commuter cash incentives. Tesla plans to create a “bikeathon” for Bike to Work Month (in May) as an opportunity for employees to donate their cash incentives.

Facility Updates

Many companies are taking advantage of the absence of on-site staff to upgrade their bicycle facilities and infrastructure.  

  • Microsoft is going through a refresh to improve the bike cages at their multiple sites along the East Side of Lake Washington, including more secure doors and fencing, and better lighting. They are also ensuring that all new construction prioritizes bike room best practices. 
  • Uber’s internal design team is creating eye-catching wall art for their bike rooms to make them fun and welcoming when employees return to the office. It’s also low cost (especially when it’s done in house!). 
  • Salesforce is focusing on clearer messaging by adding new signage to their bike rooms (to help with bike room etiquette) and around their buildings (to help with bike room wayfinding). Check out their colorful, on-brand bike room here
  • Bicycle mode share among students at The University of Colorado, Boulder has tripled during the pandemic. This has helped build the political will to convince the City of Boulder to install pop-up bike lanes around campus.

Managing Bike Theft

Bike theft is on the rise – especially on university campuses. This is the result of the combination of more people biking, but fewer people on campus, which translates to fewer “eyes on the street”. 

  • CalPoly has an issue because their bike parking facilities are located on the edges of campus, making it easy for thieves to grab a bike and drive away. This serves as a cautionary tale to plan bike parking locations closer to the campus core. 
  • The University of Washington directs more people to use their bike shelters, since they are much more secure then bike racks.


  • Apple
  • CalPoly
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • Genentech
  • Google
  • Intuit
  • Juniper Networks
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft
  • Nike
  • Salesforce
  • Tesla
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Washington


  • The Harvard Business Review published 9 Trends That Will Shape Work in 2021 and Beyond. The first trend is especially relevant to this conversation in terms of influencing an employee’s experience and expanding it to their home life (think things like promoting biking for errands, taking kids to school, etc.). 
  • Bikes Make Life Better has a good Bike Back to Work blog post on how to motivate employees to ride while working from home, and how to translate that to biking back to work when offices reopen.
  • The Bike Index is a free service allowing people to register their bikes in case they are stolen. When a bike is recovered it can be traced back to the owner through the Bike Index database.


Session topic: Bike Commute Incentives

As we consider plans for returning to our worksites (even if it’s well into 2021), we’re all worried about a backslide to SOV commuting. Bike commuting can be a great alternative for many. So, how do we help incentivize employees to ride? And will the same strategies used pre-COVID have the same effects post pandemic? We had an enlightening conversation about incentives at the last session of our 2020 Bike Forum Conversations series – don’t worry, we’ll be back in 2021 with more Conversations!

Read the Takeaways from this session

Creative Solutions 

Companies and universities bring diverse incentive strategies to the table. Some focus on creating larger groups while others make it more individualized.

  • Stanford has a “commute club” with 12,000 members. This is a successful legacy program (has been around for 20 years). After students and staff join they are eligible to  receive incentives like cashouts, credits for bikes/gear, and subsidized bike purchases. The club aspect emphasizes a mentality of “we’re all in this together”.  
  • Being in this together means everyone and that includes leadership. Nike has taken away designated parking spots from upper management and encourages them to bike, while Nintendo has convinced some of their leadership to become bike ambassadors!
  • Amazon is piloting individual ebike subscriptions through VanMoof, which is a newer European company that lends ebikes to employees for a monthly subscription. The lending program comes with services like bike maintenance and theft retrieval. If employees want to purchase a bike, VanMoof offers discounts.

Cash Incentives

Do cash incentives work? There are arguments on both sides which we heard during our conversation.

  • Google Seattle offers daily cash incentives for using any non-SOV mode. While they saw a positive mode shift with biking, they are reluctant to contribute it to cash incentives. This is because they took a survey of riders who said that they would commute by bike whether or not they had a cash incentive.     
  • Sometimes it is effective to subsidize benefits or offer cash in the beginning and then remove the subsidy once it reaches critical mass. Nike offered free electric vehicle parking when it was first installed, but now that it’s so popular, they can charge for it.  
  • Credits for internal use (company store, cafeterias, etc) and virtual badges are effective alternatives to cash. 
  • The City of Austin offers PTO incentives which employees seem to like, even more than cash.

Incentives through Infrastructure

Nothing says “bike to the office” like good facilities. There is an argument that investing in end-of-trip infrastructure is a top incentive. 

  • In the Seattle area where rain is a fact of life, many companies find that comfortable end-of-trip facilities are a necessity to incentivize year-round bike commuting. 
    • Nintendo created lockers with built-in drying.
    • Microsoft has drying closets for wet clothes.
    • Facebook (Seattle) installed “marine quality” drying racks that utilize venting and heating systems to rapidly dry clothing. Imagine putting on warm gloves and shoes for the cold, rainy bike ride home!   
    • Google Seattle has a bike wash station for those muddy days.
  • Nike strategically placed bike parking by building entrances, sending the message that biking is the most convenient way to arrive at work. 
  • Having robust bike facilities helps to incentivize all workers and that includes contractors who aren’t able to enjoy the other company benefits that are often exclusive to full time employees.  

Virtual Engagement

The current challenge is to keep people motivated while at home. Transportation managers have found creative ways to engage people virtually to keep biking top of mind.

  • Stanford has had record participation with educational webinars. Topics include beginner riding, bike maintenance, and road safety among others.  
  • Google (Seattle) offers badges for completing various challenges or activities. Employees love the badges, especially since they are used in a “collect-them-all” gamification program. Badges earn people credits that they can spend on bike gear. 


Since tracking one’s commute is the key to providing incentives, employers need a reliable system. There are a number of good options, including platforms (like Luum or RideAmigos), Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) systems (like Dero Zap) or through a home-grown, internal solution. The session attendees brought a diverse range of expertise to this subject. 

  • Stanford uses a self-reporting system. To help make sure the honor system works, staff checks whether or not bike riders have purchased a parking permit.
  • T-Mobile has employees virtually log their bike trips. Their system is designed to disallow bike trip logging if they also swiped for a parking event. 
  • Tesla uses DeroZap for logging bike trips. The employee puts an RFID tag on their bike wheel, which is read by the DeroZap scanner, mounted in areas where bikes enter the property. The issue with this system is scalability. It is harder to manage at large campuses with many bike entrances.      
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation uses Luum for tracking, requiring people to self report. They have used it for years and have not found any abuse.


  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Genentech
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Nike
  • Stanford
  • T-Mobile
  • Tableau
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC San Diego
  • Western Washington University


  • Bikes Make Life Better has an Employee Incentives Page offering creative solutions and strategies for the benefit of both companies and universities.
  • Stanford has an award winning TDM program that received special recognition for promoting alternative commute modes when opening their Redwood City campus. Check out some of the highlights of the program that offer incentive-focused best practices here.
  • The Alta Planning + Design Behavioral Insights Team published a report entitled: Applying Behavioral Insights to Transportation Demand Management. Portions of the report offer proven incentive strategies. The entire report is worth a read but we recommend starting with pages: 16, 20 and 29.


Session topic: E-Bikes

E-Bikes are all the rage these days. Sales are through the roof, bikeshare systems are adding more e-bikes to their fleets, and employee demand is growing. This rising demand necessitates smart planning on the employer’s side (often requiring more planning than what it takes for pedal powered bikes). This week’s conversation revolved around how employers can meet this demand and embrace the mainstreaming of electric bikes.

Read the Takeaways from this session

E-Bikeshare and Loaner Programs

The rise in e-bikes comes with the rise in innovative e-bike business. Employers are looking into these new companies that offer e-bikes and e-bike services.

  • VanMoof is a Dutch company that is expanding their market to the west coast. They offer e-bikes on loan in addition to complimentary services such as bike theft retrieval and repairs. Google uses them for intercampus travel. 
  • Salesforce and Rubrik partner with Rad Power Bikes. Rubrik bought a fleet of Rad bikes for an e-bike loaner program (Rad offers a volume discount program if a company wants to purchase a certain number of bikes). This program comes with worksite demo days where Rad offers additional discounts for employee bike purchases. Rad also has a partnership with Velofix for mobile repair services.
  • Swiftmile runs Tesla’s e-bike loaner program which has directly translated to employee e-bike purchases.
  • Riide is an e-bike company that runs a lease-to-own e-bike, offering monthly payments.     
  • Nike did an e-bike loaner program pilot with 24 bikes to see if people were interested. Everyone wanted to keep the bikes by the end! 
  • T-Mobile wants to use e-bikes as an intercampus travel solution because it will be cheaper than a shuttle system and help to reduce emissions and congestion. 
  • Bikes Make Life Better is working with multiple vendors to develop new options for e-bike fleets, parking, charging and other aspects of corporate e-bike programs.


E-Bikes make bike parking more complicated, requiring charging and larger parking spaces. These challenges necessitate new thinking around bike room layouts and facility accessibility.

  • Facebook mandates that their bike parking areas include outlets for 40% of the parking spots. Google mandates 25%. 
  • Doorways are an important accessibility factor for e-bikes. Since e-bikes are often longer and less maneuverable than regular bikes (especially dealing with cargo bikes), it is important to accommodate them. If you use double doors, be sure to account for the linear foot needs of larger bikes and door timing to allow cyclists to get through both doors without hindrance. The ideal scenario is adding an automatic push button (can also double as an ADA button). Commuters can kick the button with their foot to open both doors. It is also important to consider this for the entire route from outside of the building to the bike room. 
  • E-Bikes (especially the larger, heavier ones) are harder to park in normal bike parking areas, either because of space constraints or the inability to lift the bikes. Saris makes cargo bike-specific racks (essentially elongated U racks) that offer good stability for larger bikes (especially cargo bikes).  
  • Security is a vital factor. The more secure the parking is, the more employees will want to use it. This is especially true for people with expensive e-bikes/cargo bikes. Badged bike rooms equipped with security cameras and lockable racks are ideal.  
  • It is vital to ensure that bike parking is included in the design process of a new or retrofitted building. When bike parking is an afterthought it leads to last minute, insufficient parking areas. Facebook mitigated this by updating building design guidelines to include bike parking in the building’s design phase. 

Company Incentives

Companies want to know how to incentivize their employees to either utilize their e-bike fleet or purchase the bikes. What creative ideas are employers using to entice their employees (especially during COVID)?

  • Intuit partners with Toward Route Zero to help promote discounts. 
  • Nike partners with local e-bike retailers in the Portland region to offer 10% discounts to their employees. 
  • Facebook finds it easier to entice employees to ride bikes by offering both bike sales and on-site repair. 
  • Salesforce does raffles and gift card giveaways to local bike shops. They have utilized gift cards more than physical giveaways during COVID (physical giveaways are better for in-person events like Bike to Work Day).
  • Google runs reward programs through their commute platform (i.e. RideAmigos, Luum, etc.).
  • Rubrik bought people their first helmet. They also offered a $20 per month stipend if you were a proven avid cyclist (this was run through their health and wellness program, Nadia). Employees also gain points for riding which they can redeem for prizes. 

Bike Tracking

The holy grail of collecting commuter data is being able to track bike commuters. Many companies struggle with the best way to achieve accurate bike counts. Luckily we had companies in our conversation who were able to share their workable solutions!

  • Google had a double scanning system in their garage where cyclists scanned their badge at the entrance to the garage and then again at the bike room. They eliminated the double scan process by building one scanner for cyclists to swipe, which connects to their commute platform to help organize the data. 
  • Tesla uses DeroZap, which is a tracking system that involves putting physical tags on commuter’s bikes and scanners in bike parking areas. Tesla set the program up so bike commuters can get their scanner from any of their reception areas. There they watch a one minute instructional video and then attach the scanner to their bike (usually their spokes). The DeroZap receivers are strategically placed around campus to track any commuters arriving. The entire process is easy to set up (it can be up and running in a week or two).  


  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Intuit
  • Nike
  • Portland State University
  • Rubrik
  • Salesforce
  • Stanford
  • T-Mobile
  • Tesla


  • People for Bikes created a Business Intelligence Hub to track industry trends. There are places to filter for specific items, such as e-bike trends.
  • E-Bike types are separated into classes (1-3). These classes are increasingly being used to dictate legislation in states and jurisdictions. Wired offers a good breakdown of the bike classes. People for Bikes offers a state-by-state breakdown of their laws, separated by class.


Session topic: Remote (Virtual) Support of Bike Programs at Satellite Worksites

Companies and universities with transportation programs have traditionally catered to their headquarters and given less attention to their satellite locations. This paradigm is changing due to a greater demand for alternative transportation and the ability to positively impact employees everywhere with virtual support during work from home orders. This week’s conversation delved into ways to support all employees and campuses, from creative programming to strategic operations.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Virtual Programming

Many transportation teams are wondering how best to keep their employees engaged and excited about bikes while working from home. This question prompted a lively discussion about creative solutions.

  • Moving programs online, like classes and other activities, has been successful for a number of companies. Facebook, Stanford and Stanford Research Park have experienced high turnout and low attrition with their bike education webinars, most likely because it’s easier to attend virtually than to show up at a specific location. In Facebook’s case employees are tuning in from around the world. 
  • Bike Bingo! This has been a huge success. Facebook launched a virtual “Bike Everywhere Month” campaign in September, highlighting Bingo among other activities. Each Bingo square is a simple activity, like biking to a landmark, or enrolling in a bike class. Anyone who got “Bingo” was entered into a raffle to win prizes. 
  • Google started a “bike at home” resource website for employees, which is integrated into a larger resource hub that includes other lifestyle interests like arts and cooking. 
  • Google’s most successful incentive for virtual engagement has been a “collect-them-all” badge program. They even got creative with their badges where each badge represents an Android pedaling on a long tandem bike. This incentivized the player to “complete” the tandem bike with all the Androids.
  • Google’s Seattle office is promoting bike safety by advertising the use of the new “stay healthy streets” in Seattle, where streets are blocked off to thru traffic. These are great places to practice riding safely. 
  • Affinity groups are still popular during COVID and a springboard for engagement. Zwift is popular at Facebook (worldwide), for road riding enthusiasts. This program allows users to hook up their in-home bike trainers to the program, create avatars and participate in virtual rides with their colleagues. 
  • Supporting a Bike Champions program during COVID is another good way to keep avid cyclists engaged and helping those newer to biking. Stanford Research Park has kept its program active with regular (virtual) meetings and communications. 
  • Prize giveaways tip: Many companies offer discount codes for their products, in lieu of physical prizes. Don’t hesitate to ask vendors for prizes since they benefit from the exposure.    

Bikeshare: Trials and Tribulations

We discussed Bikeshare at length during this conversation, because it offers a natural solution to creating connections between geographically close campuses. The challenges lie in the details…

  • UC San Diego had Spin manage their on campus bikeshare, offering discounts to faculty, staff and students. They have since moved to a combination of scooters and bikes (at a 2:1 ratio), which has served their campus well. However, Spin no longer offers bikes and only supports bikes at UCSD because of the contractual obligation.
  • Questions came up about which vendor companies can offer small, private bikeshare fleets/services for intercampus use. Swiftmile, an e-bikeshare company is one option. Linka Lock (GPS/lock combo) + a bike of your choice is another. Zagster, which ran private bikeshare until recently, has ended operations (although their scooter arm was acquired by Superpedestrian).
  • Rubrik, a company located in Stanford Research Park, hired a public bikeshare company to run operations, but this posed challenges with communication, especially with the Stanford Research Park transportation team. They were not aware of when the company would alter or end their operations, rendering them unreliable. 
  • The big question is whether to rely on a public bikeshare system or run your own. University of Washington ponders this question, as they are located in the middle of Seattle and rely on public bikeshare. One issue for them is geofencing: Where can bikes go and where can’t they go. They’re also tired of fishing errant bikes out of fountains or other sensitive areas on campus. Operating their own bikeshare system could help control geofencing, but they are also concerned about operating their own system, since bikeshare operations are a resource-heavy endeavor.  

Bikeshare Solutions

Some tips to consider when thinking about launching or improving a private bikeshare fleet.

  • GPS and locking systems benefit private bike share operations, helping to reduce fleet loss and boost security. The problem is that many of these companies are still startups and, as such, can be unreliable. Bikes Make Life Better has had to cycle through many companies that have gone under or could not handle changes in demand to update tech. 
  • It’s best to handle operations in a way that doesn’t take up your time as a transportation manager. Hiring staff to manage those operations or seeking an experienced vendor will open up your time to focus on the larger transportation issues. 
  • Bike shops are one potential solution since they have the knowledge and expertise, especially in fixing and building bikes, and could also help with rebalancing.      
  • E-Scooters are proving better than bikes from a regulatory standpoint, because their tech is more advanced to help regulate factors like speed and geofencing. 


  • Genentech
  • Google Seattle (Steer)
  • Nike
  • Stanford Research Park
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Washington


  • Webinar: Tips from Facebook’s bike program on how to engage employees virtually. Watch the 30-min video and/or download the deck here.
  • Bikes Make Life Better blog: How to motivate employees at home and when they’re ready to return to work. Read it now!


Session topic: How to Plan and Budget in a COVID World

Corporate and university transportation budgeting and planning are particularly difficult right now, with many unknowns due to the pandemic. Key questions include: when will we return to campus and work sites? And, when we do, how many will drive? Answers to these questions greatly influence bike program budgets for the next fiscal year and beyond. We discussed these issues at length during this week’s Bike Forum Conversation.

Read the Takeaways from this session

Program Funding

Where does a bike program’s funding come from and how has that funding been impacted by the pandemic?

  • Many universities’ alternative transportation programs are funded by parking fees. These have been drastically impacted by a shortage of students and staff on campus. With the return-to-campus dates pushed out to 2021, schools such as UC Berkeley are looking toward fiscal year 2022 for moving forward with programming. The challenge for the foreseeable future is forecasting virtual vs. in-person bike programming. UC Berkeley switched over to daily parking fees to bring back some of their lost revenue. 
  • Most corporate budgets do not rely on parking fees for funding. Intuit has proposed shifting some of its 2021 transportation budget from vanpools to bike programming, like a bike mentor program and swag incentives. Another challenge is the use-it-or-lose-it school of budgeting. If budgets aren’t used now, due to the pandemic, will they be harder to justify and secure in future years? 

Justification of Need

A changing workplace dynamic may alter the course of a bike program. Will bikes fill a different need than they did pre-pandemic? This could affect how to make a budgeting case to decision makers. 

  • Many are trying to figure out what the need is going forward. Prior to the pandemic, bike programs answered the “parking problem” or the “commuter retention problem” but that could change post-pandemic. Many companies don’t anticipate having parking capacity challenges in the near term, with less than 100% of the workforce returning next year.   
  • Allocating funding to bike programs can be easier because they are often less expensive than other transportation programs. They’re also a great solution for those who live within a bike commutable distance when other transportation options are so limited. Yet, bike programming and support don’t impact as large of a percentage of the workforce. 
  • There is a challenge to convince leadership of the long-term positive effects of bike programming and the need to maintain their bike budget in the short term so as not to lose momentum. One important method is to show how long it takes to get a program to its current rate of success (four years for Stanford Research Park, for example). Taking away funding could hurt all of the gains the program has made, and require more funding down the road to bring it back to where it was pre-pandemic. We don’t want to have to start over again! 
  • There is an argument to be made that even though less than 100% of the workforce will return, there will still be a strain on parking demand if a high percentage of the returning workforce ends up driving. This must be avoided. 
  • Budgeting for additional staff can also be challenging right now. One solution is to hire contractors instead of employees because they offer more flexibility and the ability to scale the workload up or down throughout the year. Stanford Research Park and Stanford both use this method and Intuit has proposed this for 2021.
  • UC Berkeley hires paid interns to help the Transportation team.
  • Data is the “holy grail” to help make the business case and to justify budgets. This is a challenge during work from home, although virtual bike programming (like webinars and remote 1:1 support) have shown strong numbers. The key is to make the case that implementing virtual bike support now, where you help to change and establish a new behavior, should translate to higher bike commute rates upon return to the office. 
  • It’s also useful to focus on the core benefits of biking. Reminding upper management about sustainability, wellness and equity can help justify your bike program, especially now, as we face the serious effects of a climate crisis, pandemic and systemic racism. 

Other Topics Discussed

Targeting Potential Cyclists 

How can virtual programming and targeting those most likely to bike commute translate to more biking when we return to the office? 

  • Stanford’s bike education webinars have been well-received and well attended. However, the webinar attendance has started to slip, so they’re now considering the next step: reaching out to webinar attendees to help them, wherever they may be in the process of becoming bike commuters (e.g. buying a bike, starting to do rides, etc.).    
  • Nike conducted an e-bike pilot and is now going back to the nearly 300 people who wanted to participate to identify those employees who live relatively close to campus and would likely continue to use an e-bike for commuting (potentially starting an e-bike loaner program, or an e-bike store). 

Looking Externally

The public sector and TMAs can have a positive impact on a company or university’s bike commute initiatives. And now seems to be a good time for collaboration.

  • Contra Costa County offers $150 rebates on e-bike purchases. In addition, there are companies that now provide financing for e-bikes, offering companies a low to no budget suggested solution for their employees who want to try e-bikes but cannot afford to buy one outright. While these initiatives need to expand, they’re a solid start to potential car replacement.
  • Nike is working with the city/county on identifying bicycle network gaps that could positively impact Nike’s employee bike commuters. They are also working with the local TMA to look at access to shared destinations. It’s beneficial for companies to work with the public sector on these projects, maybe even an opportunity to spend capital. This can improve the community at large, as well as your employees’ commutes. 
  • UC Berkeley’s Transportation Team is working with the university’s city planning department to help create an updated bike plan.


  • Adidas
  • Apple
  • Intuit
  • Nike
  • Stanford University
  • Stanford Research Park
  • University of California, Berkeley


Session topic: Shared Bikes or Bike Fleets (Campus, Loaner, Intern, Municipal bike share)

There are many factors when considering bike share for your company. Should you create and run a private fleet or rely on a local public fleet? When should you scale up? What about liability and theft? Are scooters a viable option? These were some of the interesting topics discussed in this week’s Bike Forum Conversation.

Read the Takeaways from this session


  • What is the right type of bike share system that will work best for your company’s work environment? When is a good time to grow a fleet or utilize a private fleet versus public?
  • Is it better to outsource your private fleet to be run by one of the private mobility companies, or run your own fleet? Google tried to outsource one of their fleets to a public share company but ran into many issues including onboarding and billing. Eventually they found it cheaper to run their own fleet.
  • The pendulum has swung back in favor of private bike share for large organizations and campuses as public systems suffer in the covid era.
  • Public bike shares, and the companies behind them such as Lyft and Uber, are not organized to work with corporations and their specific needs.
  • Relying on a company like Lime, for example, might require that scooters are a part of the package.
  • When you’re analyzing and comparing cost, it is important to calculate cost-per-ride and cost-per-participant.

Regional bike share

  • How to look at bike share within the context of your company versus the larger regional impact that bike share could make for your employees and the community at large?
  • Genentech’s campus is located in an office park in South San Francisco, CA. Does it make sense to invest in a private bike share in coordination with surrounding companies?
  • Nike is located in Beaverton, OR, which is roughly twelve miles from Portland. While they would ideally like to integrate their private bike fleet into Portland’s bike share system (Biketown), this poses many challenges including accessibility, co-branding, technology integration, operations, and contractual and municipal policy logistics.
  • What’s the best way to create regional bike share? What if a city, county or Metropolitan Planning Organization (Like MTC) runs it? If bike share was treated similar to transit (subsidized, tax funded, etc.), that could open it up to a wider audience and inevitably help a company’s employees commute regionally.
  • Private bike share isn’t as important for urban campuses if the city already has a robust public bike share system.


  • How can e-bikes be integrated into a fleet? What are the pros and cons?
  • E-Bikes can be 2x more expensive than running a regular bike.
  • E-Bikes have the potential to increase the bike commute shed by a significant amount, allowing many more employees to realistically commute by bike. (From 6 miles to 10.)
  • It’s less practical to include e-bikes in a campus bike fleet (for intercampus use) but e-bikes really shine when it comes to commuting.
  • They are catching on quick. At Tesla prior to their e-bike loaner pilot there were only a couple e-bike riders. Since the pilot there are sometimes as many as 100 e-bikes per day. Nike has been piloting an e-bike commute program to collect data and almost 300 employees signed up to volunteer.
  • E-Bike loaner fleets are a great way to expose people to fast bikes for commuting.

Bike Loss and Theft

  • Certain private campus bike fleets (like Google in Mountain View, CA and Facebook in Menlo Park, Ca) are free to use, have no automatic locking mechanisms, and can be accessed by the public. How can theft and loss be minimized in this scenario?
  • GPS tracking is used by putting transmitters on every bike and tracking them. Staff can then monitor the location of their entire fleet (in real time) and track down any errant bikes.
  • On-bike locking systems have also proven effective. Linka is a promising brand BMLB is working with for both bikes and scooters.

Liability with Private Fleets

  • Risk assessment is a vital piece when considering owning a private bike share fleet.
  • Many insurance providers put e-bikes in a separate category than regular bikes (e-bikes are more expensive). E-Scooters are generally put in the same risk category as e-bikes.
  • Since companies like Google and Facebook have hop on/hop off bike share systems, they have developed risk mitigation plans. Whenever Google retrieves a stolen bike, it gets put through a checklist process to ensure that every aspect of the bike is in working order before putting it back into circulation.
  • Educating employees on how to ride (whether it be a regular bike, e-bike or scooter) is important for risk mitigation. Create a safe riding marketing campaign for employees. Google conducts a required 30-minute class before employees can borrow a loaner e-bike. There they learn how to safely operate it from a professional and are able to get any questions answered.
  • EHS departments can be a partner in an assessment of campus safety for bike and scooter fleets.
  • Google also sees their campus bike share as a scope of their business. Therefore when someone is hurt, they are covered under worker’s compensation.
  • On the other hand, a loaner bike fleet is not covered. The employee must sign a waiver accepting the risk of borrowing a bike and bringing it home with them. Bottom line: the company needs to spell out what they cover versus what the employee is responsible for.
  • Lime conducts safety demos at companies. They build a closed course to teach employees how to ride their scooters.


  • Are e-scooters (whether they be a private or public fleet) a reasonable option?
  • Many public fleets that had bikes are shifting to e-scooters (Lime logs about six e-scooter trips for every one of their bike trips).
  • Local helmet laws can be a hindrance to e-scooters (like in Oregon).
  • Many cities that started with bikes (such as San Diego) have switched to e-scooters.
  • E-Scooter technology is still considered unsafe in many respects (comparably to bikes). Although as mentioned before, from a risk assessment perspective, they are on the same level as e-bikes. That being said, many attendees agreed that they are optimistic that e-scooter safety technology is improving. Some companies like Superpedestrian are focusing on safety.


  • Adidas
  • Apple
  • BAE Systems
  • Facebook
  • Genentech
  • Google
  • Nike
  • Portland State University
  • Stanford
  • Steer
  • Walton Enterprises


Session topic: Re-entry bike facility safety plans (parking/showers/lockers)

Are employers ready for their employees to bike back to the office? Many employers are grappling with important questions such as: How can cyclists safely park their bikes or clean up and change clothes after riding, given the challenges of mitigating virus transmission? This session explored these questions and the creative solutions (or workarounds) that employers are utilizing to maintain safety within their facilities. Read the Takeaways from this session

Shower and locker areas 

How do we deal with shower and locker rooms? These places are seen as problematic and are perceived to have a higher probability of virus spread. 

  • Employers/Property Managers often close workout facilities, taking away cyclists’ access to showers.
  • Limit shower facilities to bike commuters only.
  • Implement a sign up form for shower/locker use. This will help with safety/organization, and will double as a good place of record in case there is an issue with someone becoming infected.
  • Assign lockers to individuals. E-lockers are helpful for this. Create either a day use or long term use plan for better safety.
  • Provide employees with sanitary wipes and develop a regular clean towel rotation.
  • Creating safer and more sanitized locker room and shower areas during COVID should continue post-COVID to make these areas more appealing places to be!
  • E-Bikes are a good solution to not arrive to work as sweaty as a regular bike, thereby lessening the demand on shower/changing facilities. But make sure that there is sufficient e-bike parking (with extra space for larger/heavier bikes and chargers).


Employers need to create a solid communication plan for employees returning to work and for employees who are already back.

  • Employers expecting bike-commute increases are developing communication strategies to help people–especially new riders. This includes ambassador programs to assist/educate people on things like routing and bike maintenance. 
  • Create a standardized communication toolkit. This can include downloadable posters and other materials for any administrator on a corporate or university campus. This allows for uniform and consistent communication. 
  • Communication is important with both employees and property managers. Coordinate with property managers on employee communications.


Recreation > Commuting

Will an increase in recreational bike use translate to an increase in commuting when people return to the office?

  • Employers who have a small percentage of their workforce currently back in the office are seeing a relatively similar mode share percentage of cyclists vs other modes as they did pre-COVID. 
  • Employers in urban areas (like NYC and Seattle) are anticipating increases in ridership as people come back to work, while employers in suburban areas have a more conservative outlook. Much of this is likely due to the lack of, or aversion to, transit, which will affect people in dense areas (who live close to work) vs people who take transit long distances to commute to suburban campuses. 

Bike Loaner Programs

Companies like Google and Rubrik have programs to loan bikes, e-bikes or e-scooters to employees.

  • This has worked well during COVID, to lend a company’s idle fleet to employees working from home. It’s also helpful during a universal bike supply shortage. 

Other important takeaways

  • It is important to continue to invest in bikes because influencing mode share is a long-term challenge. Transportation teams need to make sure that they are not just looking at their bike programs in the context of the short-term environment, because bikes will continue to play an important role in the transportation landscape well after COVID is behind us. It’s the right thing to do!
  • The current “fear of transit” landscape will ease as COVID (eventually) moves into the rearview. We need to be ready for that, including ensuring that bikes are part of the first mile/last mile equation.
  • There less concern regarding parking capacity issues because many employers are going to be implementing a phased re-entry process.   

Resources and links

Bikes Make Life Better developed a bicycle facility re-entry guidelines document that can be used to generate further ideas. Download a copy here. *Note that the guidelines were recently updated so even if you have downloaded the guidelines in the past, we recommend you download them again.


  • Adidas
  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Nike
  • Rubrik
  • Stanford
  • Stanford Research Park
  • Steer
  • Tableau
  • T-Mobile
  • Warner Bros.
  • Western Washington University


Session topic: Supporting your employees now so that they bike back to work when your workplace re-opens

Many of us remember how fun it was to ride our bikes as kids. Could that impact how we think about biking – and if we’re open to riding – as adults? Studies show that the way an individual feels about bicycling – the degree to which they like it – is an important predictor of whether or not they ride. But why do some people like bicycling and others don’t?

Read the Takeaways from this session

Engagement is still happening.

It’s valuable to keep engaging bicyclists and potential bicyclists even when many are still working from home.

  • Keep affinity groups engaged ― like Bicycle Champions or Women on Wheels ― is important. Because it could be a year before we see these groups again in-person, and we’d like to keep them functioning until in-person programs are ready to relaunch.
  • Bike encouragement efforts are important. Many attending companies and universities have some sort of ongoing bike encouragement efforts (some for fitness or family-related) and something like a “bike anywhere” challenge. These are a good reason to send people regular news and updates so they stay engaged. Weekly challenges can vary from competition-based to goofy!
  • Use this time to identify potential bike commuters (who live within 0 – 10 miles of work), and then work with HR to segment lists to create target messages to support those who have the greatest likelihood of bike commuting upon return to the workplace.

We’re getting creative.

The pandemic itself and budget cuts have forced us to find alternative and creative ways to engage. Here are collected ideas:

  • The Morning “Commute” — Apple encourages its employees to get out for a quick (15 minute) morning or early evening ride, just to get them into the habit of getting on bikes during commute time (and to get some fresh air and/or exercise). You can also suggest that prospective bicycle commuters practice their commutes by riding to their worksites when there is little traffic and no early morning meetings to stress over. Riding in the morning may help prospective commuters form a habit. Then they will ride to work once worksites reopen because they want to maintain that “AM bike buzz.”
  • Route Creation for new riders! Cater to their specific routing needs, including any plans to combine their bike ride with transit.
  • “Bike from Home” campaign. Google created an entire website dedicated to the “bike at home” effort.
  • Create a bike mentorship or bike ambassador program. It’s a great way to engage your avid cyclists while they’re still working from home and most likely actively riding, and it supports the people who’ve taken up bikes!
  • Try a “bike with your dog” campaign where everyone posts photos to keep people engaged from home.
  • Create a bike bingo game, where each square on the bingo card requires a fun but doable bike-related task e.g. “Take a photo of your bike parked in front of an ice cream shop.”
  • Offer or coordinate mobile bike repair services (contactless, safe during COVID-19).
  • Create a bicycle COVID resource page, complete with bike movie resources & book resources.
  • Conduct webinars. Interest in Stanford’s webinars has exploded during WorkFromHome. (see the link below)
  • Promote riding with family/kids as another way to get/keep people using their bikes.

There are benefits and new opportunities when employees and students are away.

Here are some of those benefits:

  • Some organizations have seen a decrease in the cost of providing transit passes, with fewer folks traveling to work and campus every day.
  • Some organizations are experiencing budget cuts, which hurts aspects of their transportation programs.
  • A few orgs have found that now is the time to make changes to their physical spaces, such as bike parking.
  • In some cases, capital projects are moving along faster than before COVID due to empty buildings and campuses. The construction process is expedited without tens of thousands of students or employees in place. 
    • The University of Washington reports that capital projects have been moving along much more quickly since they aren’t “concerned about avoiding sophomores with a crane.” (lol) UW has engaged the ADA office, and is working on campus improvements, so students, faculty, and staff can enjoy those improvements when they return.
  • Stanford’s facilities team has a small cadre of employees (safely) on campus responding to requests or issues and making bike improvements.
  • UC Berkeley partnered with the Public Affairs office on communications related to the fluid situation with fall semester. The transportation team there let students, faculty, and staff know about program changes and administered two surveys to gauge access to and interest in transportation options.

We’re wondering how to address diversity and inclusion in bike programs.

UC Berkeley suggests removing the “enforcement” component from your bike program, since that’s a big challenge facing black and brown communities. Before COVID, UC Berkeley was about to receive two grants to help first generation students get around on campus by buying them helmets, and having them do bicycle education with the East Bay Bicycle Coalition (local bicycle coalition). Unfortunately that got pulled for this semester, but UC Berkeley is dedicated to the outcome: To have more students involved with biking, especially with those who are new to bikes.

Resources and links:

Here are resources shared in the chat during the session:


  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Genentech
  • Google
  • Intuit
  • Nike
  • Portland State University
  • Salesforce
  • Stanford Research Park
  • Stanford University
  • University California, Berkeley
  • University of Washington


Bikes Make Life Better is dedicated to helping employees at large organizations use bikes for healthy sustainable transportation. They’ve helped design bike programs, facilities, and fleets for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Stanford, Uber and others.