Recently I gave a talk at the 2011 Grand Rapids Bicycle Summit. My goal was to illustrate what one bike-friendly employer looks like. Easy enough, as Atomic has cultivated a strong bike culture at our headquarters in Uptown. A fun story to tell.
Approximately 20% of our people commute to work by bike on a regular basis. The number of active bike commuters increases in the warmer months, but we still have hardy riders who gear up for commuting in the less than ideal weather served up by West Michigan winter. Admittedly, I don’t think we had any bike commuters on the day of the blizzard of 2011.
Another interesting data point: About 10% of our people commute to work on foot on a daily basis, no matter what the weather. Not surprisingly, Atomic’s pedestrian commuters had the easiest time getting to the office on the day of the big blizzard.
We have cyclists who commute to work from Allendale, Coopersville, downtown Grand Rapids and as close as just a few blocks away.
Our bike collection includes fixies, fixer-uppers, high-end racing bikes (<—we wish we had one of these), mountain bikes, tandems and Big Dummies. On any given day, you will see a few different Surly models around our workplace.
We support our bike-commuters by providing:
- Both outdoor and indoor bike parking.
- Easy storage for helmets and messenger bags, along with a small collection of tools, supplies and spare repair parts. In the late fall, you’re likely to find some studded tires in our office as a rider prepares for winter.
- A shower on the first floor of AOHQ, right near the indoor bike parking wall, so people can clean up after their commute.
- A bike helmet for any employee who rides to work on a regular basis. Helmets are cheap and our people are our most valuable assets.
- Access to a company car for business-related trips during the day which would be too long to cycle.
- Mileage reimbursement for cyclists who ride their bikes to off site work assignments at customer’s locations, just like we would do for a car commuter.
We also support cycling through sponsorships:
Carl wore one of our custom cold-weather bike jerseys during this year’s Fisk Knob Time Trial. He claims he improved his time by 2 minutes this year.
Every day our bike commuters reduce the environmental impact of their commutes and contribute to their own good health. They stick with it, despite dangerous, daily encounters with bad weather, mid-ride equipment failures, impatient, rude drivers and poor quality road conditions. Hats off to Atomic’s cyclists.