Benefits Of A Bicycle Commute To Work

Fitness, improved health, and cleaner urban environments are benefits for the cycling commuter. Here are some suggestions to spread the benefits throughout your workplace.

Not all cities are as congested as New York or as sprawling as Los Angeles, but with these two, many others have two qualities in common: the high cost of downtown parking and the atmospheric pollution caused by vehicular emissions.

Ironically, many commuters could leave their cars at home. For the price of a couple of months of parking charges, gas, and maintenance for the car, a commuter could buy a good quality bicycle, safety gear and, for the damp days, some rain gear.

So, why don't people do it more often? Too far to travel, too long a time and time is money, or extra sleep, rain and cold, safety, image - the list can go on and on. So can the list for the upside. Let's look at it.

1. Cyclists get exercise. Rare would be the employer who'd sneer at a fit, healthy employee. The fitter, the healthier, the more savings for the employer - less absenteeism. Some research also indicates that productivity increases with improved health.

2. Cyclists save time. It's a lot easier to get a bicycle around a rush hour fender bender than the family minivan.

3. Cyclists benefit their broader community. They leave in their wake a positive ecological footprint rather than a toxic smudge.



4. Cyclists save money. Savings can be realized even by those who commute by bicycle only part way to and from work and use public transit for the balance. In some cities, public transit providers now have bike racks on buses to accommodate commuting cyclists.

5. Mile for mile, cycling is as safe as riding in a car in urban traffic. Cyclists obtain the added bonus of seeing more of their community than stop lights, white lines and car bumpers. For example, that little bakery on the way to work or to home that never has parking.

Depending on where one works and factors such as the location and number of employees, a lot can be done to encourage more co-workers to cycle commute.

Pointing the obvious workplace benefits to one's employer can't hurt. There is an appeal to the bottom line and an appeal to the firm's sense of good citizenship and positive public relations. To encourage more participation, the company may be persuaded to install bike racks for employees, possibly even change rooms and lockers.

More dedicated cyclists may persuade an employer to obtain employee discounts at local bike hops. This goes beyond employee commuting; this goes to bike, equipment and maintenance purchases for families of employees - as easy, cost-free employment incentive for workers.

Once an employer is involved, even a little, opportunities for greater involvement multiply. Some employers now include cycling maps and bike maintenance tips in their orientation packages for new employees. This is an implicit message that the employer is pro-cycling.

Most cities now have active cycling clubs. These will provide lots of print information on topics ranging from maintenance to safety to the latest fashions in cycling wear. Some also provide car driver awareness materials. The pro-cycling employer could circulate selections of this

information among employees or even include it in customer mail-outs as a public relations gesture.

Another group which might encourage more cycle commuting may be the firm union. Event sponsorships, bike maintenance and safety seminars, contract incentives; the list can be as long as imagination enables, and negotiating strength can make it happen.

An employer might be very kindly disposed to the employee who brings to their attention the benefits of cycling to work. Who knows? The career fast track may turn out to be a bicycle path.

© High Speed Ventures 2011