Sunpower, Sungevity and Arbor Cafe Win 2012 Bike-Friendly Business Awards

East Bay Bicycle Coalition Will Honor the Winners on Bike to Work Day May 10

April 3, 2012 (Berkeley, CA) - The East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC) announces the winners of its 3rd Annual Bike Friendly Business Awards. Sunpower of Richmond is the winner in the large business category; Sungevity of Oakland is the winner in the medium-size business category; and Arbor Cafe in the Temescal District is the winner in the small business category. “More and more businesses in the East Bay are promoting bicycle commuting for their employees and their customers,” said Renee Rivera, Executive Director. “Companies like Sungevity have discovered that cycling to work makes their employees healthier, happier and more productive, and they’ve taken innovative steps to encourage bicycle commuting. Not only that, many East Bay retailers are discovering that bicycle commuters are a boon to their bottom lines. Bicycle commuting is good for the planet, good for business, and great for the local economy.”

SUNPOWER

SunPower’s office in Richmond is among the most bike-friendly in the East Bay. Accessibility for bicycle commuters and proximity to public transportation were key criteria for selecting its current location. SunPower’s CEO and COO are both avid road cyclists, and part of the organization’s culture is to support bicycling. SunPower encourages active participation in Bike to Work Day and Bike to Work Month, sponsoring an Energizer Station and numerous Team Bike Challenge teams. The Richmond office provides showers, lockers, a bicycle tool station, and dedicated indoor parking for bicycle commuters. It maintains a bike loaner program and offers $20 bike Commuter checks to cyclists. For their annual eco-fair, they invite three bicycle-related organizations to participate, and they sponsor events like Turning Wheels for Kids as an employee volunteer day. Through an employee email group, SunPower maintains an active and growing cycling community. EBBC received multiple nominations this year from SunPower employees. One wrote, “The management of this company goes out of its way to accommodate SunPower’s many cyclist commuters. We speak BIKE!”

SUNGEVITY

One theme we saw this year in our Bike-friendly Business award nominations is that alternative-energy companies like Sun Power, Sungevity, and last year’s award winners, Sun, Light & Power, are living up to their mission by providing great support to their employees who bike. Our Bike-friendly Business award winner in the medium-sized business category is a solar company with over 200 employees located in Oakland’s Jack London Square, a location chosen for its proximity to transit and increasing miles of Oakland’s bikeways. The founder and president of Sungevity, Danny Kennedy, bikes to work almost everyday from his home, as do at least a third of the companies employees. “We appreciate the recognition from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and also appreciate that Oakland is increasingly bike-friendly,” said Danny Kennedy, Sungevity’s Founder and President. The amenities at Jack London are wonderful and there is nothing better than biking to work and having a spin along the waterfront.” How has Sungevity created such a bike-friendly environment? We heard from dozens of Sungevity employees and many spoke to the company culture where biking is an integral part of a solar-powered, human-powered, “no fossil-fuel” mission. And Sungevity gets the infrastructure piece right too. The company provides a 1,200 square foot bike room with enough room for 20% of employees to park at any one time, with showers. Sungevity also encourages their employees to bike through awards where winning teams get to give $500 to a charity of their choice, Taco Bike lunch days, and bike commute lunchtime workshops. One employee reported that he has biked to work at Sungevity over 400 consecutive workdays. That may be a record!

ARBOR CAFE

This spacious cafe at 42nd & Telegraph is less than a year old but has already been discovered by hordes of people enjoying the Temescal by bike. No doubt they appreciate the many indoor bike racks and delicious coffee delivered every Wednesday by the Bicycle Coffee Company. “We were inspired to install bike racks inside the cafe by other similar establishments such as Actual Cafe (Winner of the 2010 Bike-Friendly Business Award),” says Christopher Marquez, co-owner with his brother Eric of Arbor Cafe. “About a 3rd of our staff bike to work to the Cafe and I would estimate that at least half of our customers get here by bike,” Chris explains. “The only thing I can think of that the City could help with is striping a bike lane on Telegraph Avenue.” The Arbor Cafe intends to become even more bike-friendly in the future by applying to install a parklet in front of the cafe with bike racks and offering their space to community groups for meetings in an easily bike-accessible location. Here at the East Bay Bicycle Coalition we celebrate the most Bike-Friendly businesses in the East Bay every Bike to Work Day. Each winning company will receive an award certificate from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition recognizing their company as an official “bicycle-friendly business,” as well as great prizes and recognition at the Bay Area’s largest Bike Happy Hour Party on May 10, 2012.

Why do bikes and business go together?

More and more businesses are realizing that bicycling directly benefits their bottom line. Yes, bicycling is good for business. Employers benefit from employees showing up to work energized and productive; retail businesses benefit because customers who bicycle shop more often and always find a place to lock their bikes nearby; and companies benefit because the growing workforce of younger workers are choosing to get around by bike and companies know this and seek to locate where their staff have easy access to bike lanes and public transit.

What is a “Bicycle-Friendly Business?”

Businesses can be bicycle-friendly in many ways. Here’s what they can do:

  • Provide secure bike parking for your employees, customers, and visitors.
  • Display EBBC’s Bicycle Transportation Maps at your bike parking facility for your employees and visitors to use in selecting good bike routes.
  • Join the Federal Bike Commuter Program, and give your bike commuting employees up to $20/month in pre-tax commute benefits for bicycle expenses.
  • Offer your customers a discount (5-10%) for bicycling to your business.
  • Provide shower/locker facilities for your bike commuters, or passes to a nearby gym.
  • Host a Lunchtime Commute Workshop. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition offers these for free.
  • Encourage bicycling at your business by participating in Bike to Work Day. Host an Energizer Station on the big day and reward your employees and customers for bike commuting.
  • Encourage your bike commuting employees and staff to take a free bicycle safety class.

Each winning company will receive an award certificate from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition recognizing their company as an official “bicycle-friendly business,” a business membership in the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, and a bike commute starter kit that includes bike maps, bike lights, stickers, bicycle lapel pins, EBBC newsletter and more. More information

Articles on how bicycling is stimulating our local economy:

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