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May is National Bike Month: Celebrate by encouraging your employees to embrace the bicycle

Don’t just make it easy for employees to bike to work, get them biking during the workday.

May is National Bike Month: Celebrate by encouraging your employees to embrace the bicycle

Biking is entrenched in the company culture at City Bicycle Co., project manager Vince Vu says. On a bike, he says, a commute can turn into a chance to exercise, as well as explore and enjoy the place you live. “We believe work relationships can be improved by biking from one point to another, instead of the usual coffee break,” he says.

Biking to work is a great way for many employers to help employees to save on transportation costs and boost their fitness levels. May is National Bike Month, which makes this the perfect time to encourage employees to bike to work — and for employers to make it easy for them. Here are five ways to celebrate National Bike Month.

Offer bikes to employees

Creative California took City Bicycle on as a client “with the somewhat selfish intent of accepting bicycles as trade for our services,” says Vanessa Labi, digital engagement specialist at the company. The company is located in Sacramento, which she describes as “bike friendly,” and many of the employees live in a part of town that has a simple grid layout. “Everyone is encouraged to ride to work,” she says.

Bike to a break

Holding a weekly out-of-the-office meeting can get everyone biking together and provide a fun change of pace. “Since acquiring our company bikes, we have begun riding to a local coffee shop on Fridays, where we take it easy and reflect upon the week's accomplishments,” Labi says. “It's a nice reward at the end of the week and a great way to kick off the spring weekend.”

Encourage bike meetings

Instead of walking meetings, encourage employees to hold bike meetings to talk about a project or simply get to know each other better, Vu says. Getting out of the office and biking for 15 minutes can provide a blast of fresh air that energizes employees more effectively than gathering in a conference room.  

Offer bike reimbursement funds

If you want to encourage your employees to bike, consider reimbursing them for purchasing bikes. This is particularly important if you reimburse other employees for bus passes or parking costs. Offering reimbursement funds is a great way to foster more bike riding from employees, says Elizabeth Murphy, communications director of the League of American Bicyclists. Her organization helps businesses become more bike friendly by providing program ideas to encourage employees to ride bikes.

Lead by example

Does your leadership ride bikes to work or during the day? Company leaders who bike can set expectations for the rest of the company. “To get employees riding, you've got to make it appear possible,” Murphy says. Take part in National Bike to Work Day and inform employees about it. “Find the bike champions in the office and organize employees in groups so they can ride in together, pairing more veteran riders with novices,” she says.

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