Celebrating the 2016 Bicycle-Friendly Business Awards

Whether it’s a Mom ‘n Pop shop or a large-scale operation, the annual Bicycle-Friendly Business Awards recognize local businesses and nonprofits as leaders in promoting biking to work. We chatted with this year’s Awardees to see how they do it.

The winners this year were Gensler (large business), Stride Health and Akamai (medium businesses), Stamen Design (small business), and Greenpeace USA (nonprofit). For them, being bicycle friendly starts with accessibility. For businesses like Stamen Design, location is crucial.

“We’re at 16th and Mission, right at the heart of the City. So it’s a great place to get to by bike,” said Eric at Stamen.

Marcus from Gensler voiced the same for his company. “Location, location, location. Gensler’s offices are conveniently located near protected bike lanes at Folsom Street and the Embarcadero waterfront. Everyone naturally wants to bike by the Bay.”

When biking is a part of the office culture, it seems only natural that employees like biking to work. Jessica from Akamai described how their office fully embraces biking, from the bicycle-themed office interior to the camaraderie between coworkers riding together.

"Akamai understands shorter, easier, better commutes lead to happier people which creates better office culture, teams and productivity," said Jessica.

“Akamai understands shorter, easier and better commutes lead to happier people which creates better office culture, teams and productivity,” said Jessica.

“When I reach our floor there are bike racks, fellow riders showering and changing, the click-clack of clip-in shoes on our concrete floors and Akamai jerseys on the wall,” said Jessica. “I am not odd or unique for biking into work and that is refreshing.”

At Greenpeace, there’s more than just convenient bike parking to encourage staff to start riding to work. “Part of the benefits package for Greenpeace staff is a stipend towards your bike, if you use it to commute regularly. The funds can go towards buying a bike, accessories, repairs and more. One of our staff members even left her old bike at the office when she went on maternity leave, as a ‘loaner’ for guests,” said Melissa.

For Stride employees, when you ride a bike “you feel like you are a part of a community,” said Megan. “Riding to work is encouraged and we can giggle about our own helmet hair and morning commute stories. We are a healthcare company so it is fun to promote wellness as a part of the way we get to and from work!”

And it doesn’t end when employees roll into their office. For businesses like Akamai and Stride, riding a bike is great for team-bonding and morale outside of the office.

With a Bay Area Bike Share kiosk in front of their office, Akamai is able to coordinate Women’s Bike to Lunch rides “to encourage folks to try biking in the city for a shorter distance with regular commuters. We also have a Community Bicycle Club to promote group rides, races or special events — like Bike to Work Day — where we do group rides,” said Jessica.

Megan describes the company’s “Stride Rides” every Thursday morning: “We meet as a team before work to ride Hawk Hill. All levels welcome! Those who have not biked before are paired up with a buddy to help them buy a new or used bike and to help them with their first few commutes.”

"Riding in San Francisco is more than just a way of travel - it's being part of a bigger community," said Megan.

“Riding in San Francisco is more than just a way of travel – it’s being part of a bigger community,” said Megan.

For organizations like Greenpeace, riding a bike is simply part of their core values.

“Greenpeace is committed to taking action on climate change. When staff or guests ride their bikes to work, it lowers greenhouse gas pollution that would’ve come from driving. Biking is also an opportunity to get a bit of exercise. On the whole, bike riding is healthier for our staff and for the planet,” said Melissa.

Gensler takes the principles behind biking and applies it to their work. “Biking helps support a healthy lifestyle. We hope to learn from our biking experiences to help inform our future design work for our clients and our community.”

When prompted with what could be done to help encourage their employees to bike to work, all were in agreement – SF needs stronger biking infrastructure, with almost every Awardee citing a need for more protected bike lanes.

“Put them everywhere. Just do it,” said Eric. He also stated Stamen Design’s excitement for the Tenderloin’s first buffered bike lane.

With their office in SoMa, Megan voiced Stride’s concern for safer streets in the neighborhood following the recent collisions that could have been avoided with improved infrastructure.

“Our office is in SoMa, and although we are near a few bike lanes, none are protected and there are some busy intersections.”

The Akamai team echoes similar sentiments in making main corridors such as Market Street safer.

“We need to have at least one safe bike route from Market Street to every single neighborhood center in SF with a Bay Area Bike Share kiosk so biking is more approachable for the occasional ride.”

The SF Bicycle Coalition is working hard to make sure that all SF residents have access to safer, more liveable streets no matter their background. We were honored that so many people from our community submitted nominations this year. Thank you to the local businesses that go above and beyond to encourage their employees and community to bike to work. Visit our Bicycle-Friendly Business webpage for more about the awards and a complete list of honorable mentions, and congratulations to this year’s Awardees!

Want to make your workplace more bicycle-friendly? Become an SF Bicycle Coalition Business Member today!

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