Bike Clinics. After a number of people mentioned to me in passing that they would love to bike to work but their bike had some mechanical problem that they never seemed to find the time to fix, we organized several free bike repair clinics. A few other volunteers and I set up a 2-hour window during which anyone could bring their bike by to get some free repairs and tips on bike maintenance. This has really helped to get some people “unstuck.” Running the program twice a year seems to be enough to keep people rolling.
Prizes and Giveaways. Finally, if there’s one thing that can consistently be counted on to motivate people to change their behavior, it’s free stuff! From giving out free lights and ankle straps to organizing free brown-bag lunch sessions on safe bike commuting or how to stay warm and dry in bad weather, to free bike maps, or even baking cookies for new bikers, we find that an offer of something free often gets new people to try out biking to work. Planning an event during National Bike to Work Week (May 14-18) gives you a good excuse to host an event, plus increases the chance you can get free stuff to distribute from your local government.
While there are many other things you can do at work (getting your company to offer the Bicycle Commuter Benefit, organizing a Green Commuter Challenge, and much more) any of the above can help encourage more bikers at your workplace. If your company is reluctant to put a bit of money behind your proposals, try reminding them that more and more companies are encouraging their staff to walk and bike simply to lower health care costs (even if they’re not interested in the environmental benefits).
If you’re interested in this topic, the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Business Program is not only a cool way to get green bragging rights for your workplace, it also has lots of tips on how you can make it even better. Going through the application process and reading about all the possibilities inspired me to pursue a number of improvements to my own workplace, which has already led to more bike commuters!
Please share some of your own tips for promoting bike commuting or even greening your office in general in the comments section.
Jon Fisher is a data management specialist for The Nature Conservancy, the world’s leading conservation organization. He has studied forestry, environmental biology, stream ecology, environmental engineering and how technology and spatial analysis can improve wildlife management at airports. He also loves to cook delicious vegan food.
Opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy.