(Photo: King Cycle Group)
In 2011, one local company gave its employees 216 days in paid time off just for riding their bikes to work.
Offering serious incentives for bicycling is part of a tried and true recipe for success at King Cycle Group, the parent company of Chris King Precision Components and Cielo Cycles — a manufacturer of bicycle parts and bike frames based in Portland’s northwest industrial district. The company was founded by Chris King in 1976 and moved to Portland in 2003. Today they have 94 employees and show no signs of slowing down.
Having great products is just one part of the equation. King Cycle Group believes wholeheartedly not only in the benefits of bicycling (and anything other than driving alone, the incentives apply to people who walk, take transit or carpool as well), but in keeping their employees healthy and happy.
In addition to paid time off, the company also gives “cafe credits” to employees who bike to work. The credits are as good as cash at the company’s on-site cafe, which employs a full-time chef and offers fresh food made with the same care and commitment to quality as their world famous hubs and headsets.
Last year, King Cycle Group awarded $27,846.95 in cafe credits.
“Our incentives promote a healthy lifestyle,” says VP of Operations Diane Chalmers, “and healthy employees have fewer unplanned absences.”
at work in King’s tech department.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
During the months of May and September, King Cycle Group holds a special Commuter Challenge. During those months, employees can earn up to two additional days of paid time off per month. That adds up to a possible four paid days off, in addition to allotted vacation time.
To help encourage folks to ride, they provide helmets, lights and loaner bikes, and they will even pair up new riders with a “buddy.” That bike match-making has another benefit: It helps “foster a deeper sense of community within the building,” says Chalmers.
There are obvious intangible benefits to healthy, happy and friendly employees; but these incentives also help the company’s bottom line. During the two bike challenge months, Chalmers says they have “virtually no absenteeism.”
“Nobody wants to miss a day or a chance to earn extra time off and we always know we will meet our production and project timelines.”
- 2011 Commuter Rewards totals for Chris King Precision Components and Cielo Cycles:
– 17,818 total commutes by bicycle
– 136,419 miles ridden
– $27,846.95 in cafe credits earned
– 216 days of Paid Time Off awarded
– *Since 2005, King Cycle Group has rewarded employees with over 700 days of paid time off