Joe Bike

Companies rise to Bike Commute Challenge

Posted by on September 6th, 2007 at 8:05 am

With the Bike Commute Challenge in high gear this month, many local companies are going the extra mile to get their employees to go by bike.

From free maintenance clinics to group rides, here’s a rundown of what three different companies are doing to rise to the occassion of the Bike Commute Challenge.

The Portland Development Commission
Project Coordinator Joanne Daunt says, “Here at the PDC, we are trying to encourage tons of people to participate in the Bike Commute Challenge.”

To make that a reality, here’s what Daunt says they’ve got planned:

  • Weekly coffee chats with local bike experts and organizations that do cool things with bikes.
  • Two information sessions from the BTA (on commuting tips and maintenance).
  • A pancake breakfast this Friday for all BCC participants nd any staff who support the cause.
  • A closing event that will include a PDC talent show and a cycling-oriented gift/prize exchange. (Prizes will go to people who bike the longest distance, the most days, first timers, etc…)

The PDC has clearly gone bike-crazy. Staffer Matthew Collier tells me they recently won a “Flexbike” as part of the Westside Transportation Alliance’s Carefree Commuter Challenge Bikeshare Giveaway competition.

Collier says they’ve already set up an online reservation system for the bike and hope to have an entire fleet someday, “We envision it as a local alternative transportation option that will allow PDC staff to attend meetings and events throughout the central city and neighborhoods. Basically it works like a Flexcar, minus the pollution and cost.”

Portland NBC affiliate KGW is also getting into the spirit. According to Online Editor Frank Mungeam, they’re “putting the pedal to the metal, two-wheeled style.” They’ve blogged about it and they’re encouraging KGW bike commuters to post their experiences.

Mungeam says there are five employees committed so far and that he’s still working hard to recruit more. They’ve also got a friendly competition going with KINK Radio to see who can take more trips by bike.

Con-way Freight
Con-way employee Kevin Wagoner wrote in to invite me on their Group Commute ride this Friday morning. Here’s what else they’ve got planned:

Con-way is using this flyer
to spread the word.
  • Group Commute rides from all four quadrants of the city that will meet at their covered, secure “bike cage” parking structure at 8am for coffee and snacks.
  • A BTA bike commuting workshop.
  • A series of free bike maintenance clinics.
  • An after party at Lucky Lab NW to enjoy the spoils of their efforts.

It’s great to see these companies working so hard to get their employees to commute by bike.

What is your company doing?

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    jeff September 6, 2007 at 8:44 am

    It\’s great to see all the extra commuters out there. But what if the challenge were in June or July rather than September when the weather\’s about to get tricky. Maybe more folks would follow through for the rest of the summer.

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    natallica September 6, 2007 at 10:15 am

    my boss asked me if i wanted to coordinate our company\’s participation, so i\’m doing that. i got my friend to start one at her workplace. i can\’t believe how huge the list of participating companies is – it\’s great!

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    anon September 6, 2007 at 10:40 am

    natallica, i envy you.

    i tried for a couple of years to get my company to participate, but no dice. i brought in all of the literature and information on the campaign, volunteered to coordinate the whole thing, but didn\’t get the clearance to sign us up and advertise it to employees. all i got was the runaround about company sponsored events or programs needing to directly benefit the community. i was like, \”huh? are you kidding me?\” i probably shouldn\’t have given up, but i didn\’t even attempt the campaign this year. so i continue to commute quietly by myself. which is sad because the majority of employees live within three miles of the facility. perfect proximity for successful bike commuting.

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    Jessica Roberts September 6, 2007 at 11:40 am

    My work is paying for bike tune-ups for everybody!

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    Mr. Viddy September 6, 2007 at 11:48 am

    My work just looks at me crazy for not owning a car.

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    Michelle September 6, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    We have sweet bike parking at my office. It\’s in the secure car parking garage – just a bunch of staple racks. But it\’s covered, warm, and behind a locked gate.

    Hey, \”anon,\” you don\’t need official clearance to sign up. Just sign up! And if you\’re the only one logging trips, fine. But maybe some other employee will end up at the site and see that your workplace is registered, and will join too. It\’s free and there\’s no legal nuthin to it so there\’s no reason for anyone but you and the other bikers to care.

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    Matthew September 7, 2007 at 2:51 am

    Anon: Be careful, some companies are funny, and if they see that you might have gotten them publicity, (even good publicity,) that can be a bad thing for your employment…

    My company is great, my coordinator sucks. There are 4 year round bike commuters in my company and another 4 fair weather riders, and my coordinator rides 2 or 3 times a year. The only \”encouragement\” that we get is that she sent out an e-mail 2 weeks ago to tell us to sign up. But she is kind of possessive of the thing, so nobody has been able to convince her to let someone else take it over/help/etc… Last year she complained to my boss because I sent out an e-mail saying that I was bringing in donuts for everyone that biked the next day. My boss thought it was dumb that she complained, but still, it isn\’t a fight I that I want to have again…

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    Tasha September 7, 2007 at 8:02 am

    You can definitely tell it\’s the challenge month. I can\’t find any bike parking at my places of employment. It\’s great, but it means I have to leave earlier so I can find bike parking around the corners instead! I hope it encourages more riders and encourages the city to create more bike parking downtown and elsewhere.

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    anon September 7, 2007 at 8:25 am

    thanks for the words – i think i\’ll stick with matthew\’s advice on this one. after being told, more than once, that this is not something the company wants to pursue, i\’m not interested in explaining to anybody why i went ahead and pursued it anyway.

    a very frustrating situation for me – i wish i could explain more.

    i\’ve had success in getting individuals at work to start bike commuting. perhaps i\’ll just continue to work on one person at a time instead of a company wide call to action.

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    Lanny September 11, 2007 at 8:34 am

    I agree with Jeff. It should happen in June to create new commuters. In Sept you get some new commuters but the weather turns bad before they make it a habit and then they forget until next year. If you started in June… some folks would continue through the summer and maybe find they can do it all year long.

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