February 27, 2008

bike to work if you can

I used to work at Mountain Equipment Co-op. The Victoria store has an interesting way to encourage bicycle commuting. Some companies will actually pay their employers to bike to work, but MEC does not spend the members money on that sort of "silliness." No! And it's not the great facilities that put the staff on their bikes, either. There are lockers and showers available, as well as a bike wall in the basement. This helps but it's not the reason for the avid collective commuting. So how do they do it you might ask. What incentive is there for the typical Mountain co-op staff member to bike to work? Well, it's simple really: Nowhere to park your car. You can park your bike in the basement, but if you intend on taking your car, you're screwed. Downtown Victoria has an immense, evil, army of meter maids with red hot ticketing machines that will burn a hole through your organic cotton jeans and merino whool underwear, especially if you're on a MEC salary. And even if you're a good monkey and pay for your parking at the local parkade, you're cutting deep into your profit margin. These simple facts, the central location of the store, and mild climate, all contribute to the staff's will to bike, walk, or bus to work. I worked there for the Christmas season, and biked to every shift I had in these three months, simply because it was the most convenient thing to do. So in light of that, one might think that getting your employees to bike to work is only as complicated as to provide safe bike parking, possibly at the cost of some of the car parking, provide showers and change rooms, and in return, get a more alert and awake workforce in better health. How can you go wrong with that? In the picture you can see Geoff's KHS, the Boss's Redline, Adele's Apollo, my Cannondale, Jim's Mongoose, and Scott's Surly. Good times, nothing beats being able to bike to work, so if you can, do it.

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