Why Your Company Should Encourage Cycling — and How to Do it

We’ve all heard about the benefits of cycling. You can probably list a handful of health and environmental effects from memory — the positive impacts of swapping out motorized transport for a set of pedals has been advertised far and wide in blog posts, academic studies, and cycling magazines.

One fact you probably haven’t heard? Promoting a cycle-friendly lifestyle can also provide value to your business.

From improved employee engagement to increased sales, there are several human resource benefits that companies can tap into by offering dedicated support to the bicycling community.

Let’s take a look at those benefits — and the ways you can easily achieve them.

The Why: The Business Case for Cycling

Creating a convenient, secure environment for bikes at your workplace can have positive impacts on human resources, and your reputation.

How do you attract and retain talent?

Studies show that young professionals are increasingly passionate about finding a job where the company’s values match their own. A MonsterTRACK study found that 80% of young professionals want a career that makes a positive impact on the environment, and 92% would rather work for an environmentally-friendly company. By supporting an eco-friendly commute, your business would be taking its first steps to connect with a highly-engaged pool of candidates.

Employees who commute to work on a bicycle have better focus and productivity levels. In a 2013 study by the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, participants who spent 30 minutes cycling performed better on memory, reasoning, and planning tests than those who were sedentary.

Cycling can also foster a healthier staff. The Dutch Research and Testing Organization found that employees who regularly commute by bicycle take less sick time per year than their non-cycling colleagues — a statistic that translates into more value and productivity for your business.

Being seen as a “green” business can help companies build a base of confident employees, investors, communities, and customers. Consumer marketing from the Natural Marketing Institute found that consumers are 58% more likely to buy products or services from a company that is mindful of its impact on the environment and society. Making your office more easily accessible to cyclists is a simple way to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.

The How: Ways to Encourage a Cycle-Friendly Culture at Your Business

There are many simple ways to encourage your employees to cycle to work.

Based on the principle that a happier, healthier employee is a more engaged, productive employee, many companies offer monthly or annual fitness allowances to their staff, which can be spent on gym memberships, yoga classes — or bicycles. Some companies offer small bonuses to employees who commute by bicycle, while others give a monthly refund to employees who trade in their car parking pass for alternative transportation.

Not all incentives have to be financial. Tap into your employees’ community or competitive spirits by tracking how much they cycle. Set up a system where employees can log if or how far they cycled to get to the office that day, then set a time period and see who cycles most often or the highest cumulative distance, and reward the winner at the end with a small prize.

If you prefer a more collaborative effort, set up a tracking system to see how fast your employees can cycle the equivalent distance of across your state, your country, or the world.

Installing secure bike parking is the most straightforward way to encourage employees to cycle commute. Over half of respondents in the Transport for Greater Manchester survey listed the lack of safe storage facilities for bicycles as a major deterrent to cycling.

Considering that cyclists are four times more likely than car owners to fall victim of vehicle theft, security is incredibly important. In fact, studies suggest that nearly half of all cyclists have had their bicycle’s stolen at least once! It’s not only important to ensure that proper parking is available for bike commuters, but that it’s safe and secure.

Once you’ve provided secure bike parking, you may start to see an increase in cycle commuters: 40% of respondents to a Rodale Press survey said they would commute by bike if safe facilities were available.

Providing bicycle-specific parking facilities isn’t complicated, although companies should take compatibility and space into account. Different types of bike locks are compatible with different types of bike parking installations — it’s important to ensure that cyclists can use the bike racks that are there. The most convenient and secure options include stand-alone and corral-style bike racks, bike bollards, and bike lockers.

Another reason employees may resist cycling to work is concern about their professional appearance. Cycling can be intense exercise, and the weather isn’t always favorable; there is a good chance that a cycle commute will leave them sweaty and uncomfortable. Installing a change room and shower for employees is one way to make the day more enjoyable post-ride, not to mention that a shower before sitting down to work can help employees clear their minds and focus on the day ahead.

If you don’t have the space or money to provide showers, you could partner with a local gym to give your employees access to their facilities, or even just leave grooming kits in the bathrooms for employees to use.

Get started

Would you like healthier, more productive, more engaged employees? Having your employees cycle to your workplace can do that. Encouraging cycling doesn’t have to be complicated; there are many types of incentive programs and convenient facilities that can be easily implemented at any company.

Looking for more information on regarding cycling incentive programs or parking?

Check out these resources:

  • The League of American Bicyclists has detailed statistics that lay out the case for becoming a bike-friendly business.
  • The League of American Bicyclists also runs a Bicycle Friendly Business program, which includes a blueprint, assistance, and resources to support businesses of all sizes make cycling more accessible to their employees (and customers).
  • Browse online to see which bike parking options are available and within your budget.
  • Search for your local Bike to Work Day (or Week) organization to find tips to give employees on safe riding practices.

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