Incentive Programs

Companies with anywhere from 10 to thousands of employees, in all corners of the country, want their workers to ride bikes. For all the reasons: Parking a bike at work costs way less; biking to work makes for a healthier workforce; bike amenities act as recruiting tools…we could go on.  But a host of hyper-specific barriers (no bike, fear of cars, unsure of routes) coupled with the difficulty of breaking with routine make the shift to bikes really tough to pull off.

So, some companies are trying to motivate this shift with incentives and programs that run the gamut from basic U racks to an in-house cyclocross course. Read on for where to find a pump track at work, employers that give their workers bikes, and other “bike bennies” that help get people into the bike lane. Then copy the ones you like at your workplace!

By Anna Walters, Bikes Make Life Better

Bucks for Biking

It’s no secret that one of the best ways to get people to change their behavior is to impact their wallet. According to ByCycling, a startup that created a rewards platform, “70% of the people think that the best incentive for them to ride to work is cash.” Companies have picked up on this approach and are starting to pay their employees to ride their bikes to work. The most innovative pay-to-ride approach we’ve seen comes out of Christchurch New Zealand, where a small creative agency, Make Collective, decided to pay employees $5 a day to ride to work or double that amount if employees rode more than half their annual work days. The potential to turn that $5 into $10 really helps form a bike commute habit.

$1000

per year

Those who don’t mind pedaling through wet can receive up to $1000 a year not to drive.

$20

per month

Employees at this Silicon Valley solar company earn $20 a month for commuting by bike at least three times a week.

$5

per day

Sonos employees who are willing to give up driving to work can earn $5 per day for using a sustainable commute mode (walking, cycling, skating) after they’ve earned a $600 bicycle credit. A whopping 44 percent of Sonos employees opt into receiving transportation benefits in some way.

$300

per year

Members of Stanford’s Commute Club. can earn up to $300 per year in cash or credit by not driving alone.

$3

every day employees bike

The bicycler parts retailer based in the Twin Cities pays employees $3 for every day they commute by bike. As a result, company health care premiums went down by about 4 percent while the national average spiked by about 25 percent in the same timeframe. The company estimated that it saved $200,000 in claims per 100 employees, compared with $45,000 paid out in commuting rewards (wow!).

$4

per day

Bike commuters here can earn up to $4 a day (capped at $300 a year) in the form of credits to be used for Trek products or in the company cafeteria. Currently about 30 percent of employees take advantage of this awesome bennie.

Free Bikes

One of the biggest barriers to commuting by bike is the bike itself (or lack thereof). Some employers aim to remedy this problem by straight up gifting their employees bikes or offering to partially cover the cost of a set of wheels. For our favorite example of this, we turn to New Belgium (a workplace that clocked in at #1 on Bicycling Magazine’s 25 Best Companies for Cyclists). New Belgium employees get a limited edition Fat Tire Cruiser Bike upon their one year anniversary, a work tradition that dates back to 1995!

$900

Annual “Stay fit” stipend

Microsoft employees get an annual $900 “Stay Fit” stipend to cover a whole host of fitness-related expenses, including purchasing a bike.

$600

Toward a new bike

Sonos Inc. employees who give up their parking permits and log 60 bike commutes earn $600 in credit toward a new bike from a local shop.

On-Site Bike Shops

If employees know they can get all their bike needs handled at work, they’re more likely to feel comfortable riding day in and out. Facebook recognized this early on and built one of the first on-campus full-service bike shops, called The Hub. The Hub is actually more than a bike shop. In addition to fixing employee bikes for free and selling discounted bikes and gear, the shop also administers a loaner bike program and runs hands-on classes. The goal is always to get more butts on bikes and support a vibrant bike culture at Facebook.

Awhile back, the hospital switched from offering mobile bike repairs to a staffed “service center” operated by (mend) bikeshop. Employees get two free tune ups a year.

Eastside Ski & Sport is located in The Commons, a 150,000 square foot menagerie of restaurants, shops, and recreation spaces located on the tech giant’s Redmond campus. Full-time Microsoft employees enjoy a 15 percent discount on bikes.

Play at Work

New Belgium

New Belgium has in-house cyclocross course right outside its office windows. The course doubles as a bikey meetup spot for bikey events, including races (duh), Bike to Work Day and Bike-In Cinema. It must be nice to hang up the phone, grab a bike, and then fly fast and loose over some dirt.

Clif Bar

Employees are alloted two and a half hours a week to exercise on company time.

Walmart

The Walton Life Fitness Center, Walmart’s gym for associates and their families), has mountain bikes available for nearby trail riding. The center also offers beginner mountain bike classes on the weekends.

Specialized

It’s not touted as an “official” perk of working at bicycle manufacturer Specialized, but employees there have access to a private pump track.

Free Race Entries & Other Events

The company gives employees $350 annually to cover race entry fees. And it sponsors cycling events like the California Enduro Series and Downieville Classic.

This satellite broadband company’s cycling team won the 2017 Race Across America from California to Maryland!

Employees here get $100 each for fitness-related expenses, like personal training and race entry fees.

Need help deciding which bike perks or incentives work for your employees? Bikes Make Life Better can help! They’ve developed and implemented incentive programs for Facebook, LinkedIn, Stanford Research Park and many others.

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