There are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint and do more for the planet. However, sometimes after years of taking shorter showers, recycling, composting, and eliminating animal products, it can be easy to feel like individual efforts don’t make an impact. When tempted with cynicism, however, it’s time to get creative.
Environmental concerns are important to me, as is personal health and wellness. It’s affirming that my workplace shares these concerns—and is willing to do something proactive about them. Faced with the global challenges in the world, it’s important to buoy our spirits and work to be the best versions of ourselves.
That’s why Bike Friendly Businesses aim to create support for our work communities, bodies, and environment. Whether it’s getting some good exercise, saving on gas costs, or just knowing your company has your back, we want to celebrate the small victories.
“Bike Friendly Business” is a designation given by the League of American Bicyclists. To qualify, a business needs to meet criteria in four main areas: Encouragement, Education, Engineering, and Evaluation & Planning. Both culture and infrastructure/policies support biking and healthy lifestyles—in employees and the community as a whole.
When Broomwagon Bikes + Coffee brought the program to our attention, we found it aligned with our core convictions as a company. A couple of those convictions are to engage in local community and support local initiatives. Most importantly, perhaps, we consider our overall impact—environmentally, economically, and socially.
Having the official “BFB” designation means we’re formally allied with other companies that are committed to social responsibility. In other words, we’re part of something bigger. Pretty cool.
Besides the reminder to get outside and feel the sunshine on our faces, applying for the certification gave us an opportunity to articulate some of our culture goals. Our stated bike-friendly aim is “to cultivate a company culture that prioritizes employee satisfaction, health, and social responsibility.” Believing in individual effort and responsibility is contagious. The odds are, if your family, neighbors, or coworkers see that you believe a even small thing like biking to work is worth it, they will, too.
It also gave us an opportunity to work more closely with other local businesses, including our neighbors at Broomwagon (also a certified Bike Friendly Business), who were helpful in the process.
Not least of all, it’s a business decision. Our ideal clients want to work with businesses they believe in—businesses that care about people, quality of life, and the impact we’re making on the world around us.
We’ve put policies in place that make it easy and enjoyable for our team to incorporate biking into their routines. These range from company-covered tuneups and reimbursements for bike parts and mileage, to resources like safe riding advice, ongoing maintenance tips, and local bike maps. See our internal write-up of these benefits here.
We also have an office bike for team use, and we keep basic maintenance gear on hand for quick fixes. To remove as many hurdles as possible from the actual commute, we have flexible scheduling and dress, plus safe bike parking and guaranteed rides home if the weather turns non-bike-able.
There’s plenty of room for innovation as a Bike Friendly Business. While certain activities are necessarily on hold as of now, we’re just getting started with ideas on how to promote bicycling in the community—be it a fun team ride or hosting a biking challenge.
On the last National Bike to Work Day, for example, the crew hopped on our bicycles and pedaled to Lexington local favorite Stella’s Deli. We ate sandwiches and toasted bourbon ball coffees. We biked back, ready to dig into our latest project with renewed vigor.