Use Existing Resources. Probably the best place to begin the process is to search out what resources exist from your city or county government. After years of spending a lot of effort promoting green commuting on our own, my local office green group just discovered last year that we had been missing out on tons of free help!
Our county office has provided us with a fantastic array of services including: bus/rail and bike maps; bike commuter training sessions; tools like an office bike pump; advice on getting certified as a bike-friendly business; and they even put bike racks in front of our building for free! Try searching for your city department of transportation and if their web site doesn’t make it obvious what resources are available don’t be afraid to email a few different people.
Showers. The most common complaint from bike commuters is when offices don’t have a shower and locker room. Except for people with very short commutes, most bikers prefer to take a shower after they ride to work. If your building doesn’t have one, you can try discussing the possibility of installing one with your office manager, or talk to neighboring gyms or offices to see if an arrangement can be worked out to let your co-workers use one of those showers (e.g. your office might be willing to pay a small monthly fee to a gym for this purpose even if they’re not willing to build a shower).
Secure Bike Locks. Having a secure place to lock bikes up is also typically pretty high on the wish list of bike commuters. The best option is a lockable bike room in your office. Again, try talking to your office manager about setting up a space. If that’s not possible, even just having sturdy bike racks with plenty of room for locking them up is a good start. You can look into adding bike racks in a parking garage, or check with your city department of transportation to see if they’d consider installing bike racks on public land in front of your office.
Build a Community. Another critical step to making it easier to bike to work is simply building a sense of community. Start small—use a central location, like the bike room if you have one, to post notes and share contact info on a bulletin board. Staff with bike maintenance experience might offer up their help for others having bike troubles, and everyone can swap tips, about the best trails to use good bike shops, etc. At The Nature Conservancy, we periodically have group rides and post details in the bike room.
We also help people plan the best route from their house to work and even run a “bike escort service” where someone nervous about biking to work for the first time requests a more experienced cyclist to meet them at their house so they can bike to work together. Feeling like you’re not alone can be a great incentive to get going and keep riding throughout the year.