The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is pleased to announce the winners of our 4th-annual Bike Friendly Business Awards. This year’s competition highlights the efforts to make the East Bay more bike-friendly through community involvement and staff support. Kaiser Oakland Medical Center is the winner in the large business category; Sports Basement of Walnut Creek is the winner in the medium-size business category; and GU Energy in West Berkeley is the winner in the small business category.
Certificates will be presented to all three winners on May 9th at the Bay Area’s largest Bike Happy Hour Party in Old Oakland. Come to show appreciation for these three companies’ positive efforts, stay for the music, fun and beer!
As a sports nutrition company based in West Berkeley, GU staff is comprised of athletes of all kinds – but bicyclists are “probably our largest group” according to Emily Strayer, GU’s Business and Services Manager. Promoting a healthy, active lifestyle is a central theme of GU’s business model.
Through GU’s bike commuter program, every cyclist who commits to bike to work for 6 months receives one day of paid time off, as well as earns $20 a month. There is a bike room with company bikes, which employees are encouraged to use during the day instead of their cars, as well as a bike repair station coupled with a bike mechanic subsidy for repairs. Without forgetting, of course, forgetting a lifetime supply of GU Energy Gel!
To top it all off, GU’s president Brian Vaughn leads by example and is an avid cyclist. He regularly bikes to work and participates in rides. Brian is a great influence, and he has a lot of passion in encouraging people to try new things, to get out and ride, said Steven Anderson, a GU employee and member of the GU Crew. The company fitness facility is equipped with a couple of exercise bikes for employees looking for a break from work, and company bikes are made available for errands and lunch breaks. “They are definitely not required to [ride a bicycle] for work, but cycling as a community is always encouraged; either inside or out,” wrote Breanne Buzay, GU’s People and Performance Manager.
Sports Basement is the perfect example of a local store helping the bicycle community thrive. Not only do they provide a knowledgeable, full service bike shop that caters to all experience levels, but they actively participate in and foster the growth of local bicycle advocacy group Bike Walnut Creek.
We received an outpouring of support for Sports Basement from many people, noting the passionate staff, the great customer bike parking, their support of local events and more. Internally, Sports Basement encourages staff to bike through bike focused employee events, a large discount on bike labor, accessories, free bicycle rentals, as well as event reimbursement should staff participate in any kind of cycling race or event.
For Danny Milks, from the Bike Walnut Creek advocacy group, Sports Basement has played an incredibly important role in helping kick-start their efforts to advocate for a safe, efficient and enjoyable environment for all bicyclists and pedestrians. “Sports Basement has been amazing in their support,” said Milks: “They support our advocacy efforts with a meeting place, free drinks and snacks, discounts, free gift cards, supplies, advertising and print marketing for us. Sports Basement has gone above and beyond the normal bicycle friendliness to employees and customers. They make a big difference in the local scene.”
Kaiser Permanente is well known for its wellness mission encouraging healthy and active living. In the Bay Area, Kaiser has consistently sponsored our Bike to Work Day and the Oakland Medical Center has a long-term partnership with the EBBC’s Bicycle Safety Education Program. The EBBC regularly holds free classes for the public at the Kaiser Oakland location as well as one hour lunch workshops for employees. “Employees enjoyed the Day 1 Urban Bicycle Safety Class so much that they requested that we host a Day 2 class,” said Jackie Stiasny, the commuter services program coordinator.
Robert Prinz, the EBBC Education Coordinator, wishes there were more companies like Kaiser Oakland to work with; “the facilities they allow us to use for free are very professional, and they provide snacks. The feedback we receive from our classes at Kaiser is always positive.”
With Bike to Work Day rapidly approaching, Kaiser Oakland is gearing up for their popular Energizer Stations. Some departments organize group rides, bike to work together, and participate in the Team Bike Challenge. “Approximately 125 employees participate each year,” said Stiasny, and “we continue to think of ways we can make bicycling more appealing to our employees.” In 2012, the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center renovated and increased the size of a bicycle cage, and created a safe zone in the parking garage with a protected entrance for bicyclists and LED signs for drivers to ‘Watch for Bicyclists’. There is secure bicycle storage with bike pumps in each parking garage. In addition Kaiser Oakland offers cyclists a number of other incentives, by providing discounts for a carshare program, participating in the Guaranteed Ride Home program, and providing showers and lockers.
For their enthusiastic participation in the Bike to Work Day Challenge, their continued efforts to encourage staff to bike to work through great bicycle infrastructure and financial incentives, and their support of local bicycle advocacy efforts, the EBBC would like to recognize Integral Group and Arkin Tilt Architects as bike-friendly businesses;
For their huge impact on bicyclists throughout the Bay Area, the EBBC would like to recognize eLock Technologies LLC as a bike-friendly business;
And for their employees’ enthusiasm about the bicycle-friendly business nominations, the EBBC would like to recognize Sungevity.
Looking for another opportunity to single out someone’s bicycle-related efforts? Nominate a colleague, boss, partner (or yourself!) as this year’s Bicycle Commuter of the Year.
Take a look at the EBBC’s past Bike-Friendly Business Award winners, including Actual Cafe, Clif Bar, and Alta Planning and Design.
Each winning company will receive an award certificate from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition recognizing their company as an official “bicycle-friendly business,” great prizes, and recognition at the Bay Area’s largest Bike Happy Hour Party on May 9, 2013.
Make your business Bike-Friendly!
More and more businesses are realizing that bicycling directly benefits their bottom line:
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 locations where their staff have easy access to bike lanes and public transit.
Want to know more about bike-friendly businesses, and how toSee Full Calendar become one? Start here.