Announcing 2017’s Award Winners
Every year, Bike East Bay recognizes businesses that go above and beyond in encouraging their employees or customers to ride bikes. These Bike-Friendly Business Awards highlight the accomplishments of three East Bay companies and encourage others to follow their example. Our 2017 award winners are:
- Small Business Winner: Feelmore Adult Gallery
- Medium Business Winner: Integral Group
- Large Business Winner: Oakland Public Library
Feelmore Adult Gallery is a small adult shop and retro art gallery in downtown Oakland. Owner Nenna Joiner is a long-time believer in the future of downtown Oakland, and has always had her eye out for what she can offer to the community. A regular bike rider herself, she encourages her customers to save money and be healthy by riding their bikes to the shop. In addition to requesting the city install racks in front of her business, bikes are welcome inside and folks who ride to the shop and pay in cash get a 10% discount.
Nenna believes in leading by example, and loved seeing Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff challenge San Jose to a Bike Month competition last year. Nenna knows that people around town see her enjoying herself on her bike, and hopes it encourages them to explore the East Bay by bike and get happy.
Integral Group’s one hundred employee Oakland office sits one-half block from BART and right on top of Archer Bicycle bike shop on 13th Street, making it a convenient workplace for bike commuting, but they do so much more. One expertise Integral Group has is LEED consulting for energy efficient and environmental building design, and from that has grown a broad commitment at the employee level for sustainability. “Our enthusiasm for bike commuting grew out of our sustainability work,” says Marissa Clark, Manager, People Department, “and we now have around 30 employees who bike to work regularly.”
Just off the LEED Platinum CI Certified office’s 2nd floor lobby is a large bike-parking area with both floor and vertical racks, and up on the 3rd floor is an overflow area for bikes, and the racks are full daily. Integral Group gives each employee a $240/year ‘wellness’ stipend, which many bike commuting employees use for bike locks, lights, tune-ups, or a contribution to a new bike. Bike East Bay will be providing Integral Group their first on-site one-hour bike safey workshop in May, which Bike East Bay provides for free to many businesses.
Stefan Gracik bikes the new protected bike lanes on Telegraph Avenue every day. “I really appreciate the new flex posts that have recently gone up on the street,” says Stefan. “They better control parking and have improved the biking experience.” Several employees would like to see a bike lane on 14th Street. “I used to bike that every day and it was crazy,” says Annie Mroz, another Integral employee, a sentiment echoed by several co-workers. Annie was pleased to learn that 14th Street will be getting protected bike lanes in the next few years. Emerson Skufca is glad to hear 12th Street is getting repaved with a new bike lane in the downtown area as part of East Bay Bus Rapid Transit, which starts operating end of this year.
Integral Group employees have been working on several local projects, including renovation of the Oakland Museum of California and the new Exploratorium in San Francisco. Arrangements are being made to present Integral Group with their 2017 Bike-Friendly Business Award at Walk Oakland Bike Oakland’s Bike Happy Hour at Latham Square on Bike to Work Day.
Oakland Public Library (OPL) has creatively and innovatively made bike-friendly spaces for employees and patrons at their 18 locations. From community bike shop The Shed at the MLK Branch to kamishibai – children’s storytelling on the back of a bike – to good old indoor bike parking, OPL supports what staff and community like, want, and need. Lots of employees bike to work, so lots of branches have ever-improving bike parking, pumps and locks, tools, and even shower facilities available.
Supervising Librarian Mana Tominaga has ensured administrative and organizational support for bike-friendly upgrades in step with a culture of supporting what people like, and out of personal passion. Librarian Emily Weak has organized monthly social rides for library staff and supporters, going beyond OPL and inviting neighboring city’s librarians to join the fun. On top of having a formal mentor program each May for Bike Month, most locations have someone who rides and is happy to help someone newer to biking figure out a route. Librarians love to share information!
The Tool Lending Library at the Temescal Branch includes bike tools, and many locations have locks and pumps available to patrons. There is a bike library, a bicycle trailer book display, that frequents community events to give away free books and connect people with library services. OPL participated in a book-to-action grant, resulting in a community ride in East Oakland. OPL partners with Bike East Bay to host the Women Bike Book Club each month, and participants can bring their bikes for discussions of biking and feminism.
OPL goes above and beyond to promote bicycling, by supporting librarians professionally sharing their passion for bikes. Additionally, OPL is building a network and a conversation about the role of libraries in public space and as sources of free information, and sends librarians to present and learn at non-library events, such as the California Bicycle Summit. Mana and Emily have been producing a series of webinars for other libraries to share approaches for being bike-friendly.
Want to make your business more bike-friendly?
Check out our Guide to Better Biking at the Workplace for some great tips.
Past Years’ Awards
Take a look at the Bike East Bay’s past Bike-Friendly Business Award winners, including the Berkeley YMCA, Sports Basement, and GU Energy.