How to Help Create More Bike Friendly Businesses

Bicycle parking is good for everyone, employees and customers alike.

We once heard a story about a passionate group of cyclists that wanted their city's bike lanes repainted. As time went on and requests went unheeded, the group took matters into their own hands. Armed with hardhats, construction orange apparel and paintbrushes, soon the city was sporting a fresh coat of paint.

Cycling infrastructure has a long history with grassroots movements, some more legal than others. The repaint-the-bike-lanes antidote is just one (illegal) example, the truth is that cycling improvements in your village, town or city can be sparked by just one person. If creating a more bikeable community is high on your wish list, we're here to help.

One of the best ways to up the bike friendly quotient is to install more bicycle parking racks. Some of these bike parking racks are purchased by the business themselves, some purchased by the city or a development district. For indoor bike parking, legislation could dictate that contractors include a bike room in their build. There's no one way a bike rack ends up in front of a business, which is why it can take just one person or a small group of people to get the ball rolling on new bicycle parking.

Once a parking rack has been approved and purchased, installation is actually much easier than many believe. Racks such as the Bike Corral and Branded Bike Dock do not require a contractor. Local businesses can install almost all bike parking products with just a drill, hammer and masonry bit. Plus our team of bike parking specialists are available to help with any questions or layout suggestions.

In the month of May, our group of incredible Saris Brand Advocates are on a mission to give away bicycle parking, either indoor or outdoor, to a local business. To get more insight into why indoor bike storage and outdoor bike parking are a good investment for businesses, we chatted with Manager of Ian's Pizza of Madison, Brand Advocate and cyclist-about-town, Billy Calkins.

Why is bicycle parking good for Ian's Pizza?

Internally, I think we are starting to build a biking culture within the company. We have entered the National Bike Challenge, we are sponsors of the Revolution Cycling Team, and participate during Wisconsin Bike to Work week as a commuter stop providing tasty breakfast pizza!

Either in the ISC (Ian's Soul Central, the nickname for our pseudo-corporate office) or at the store, our staff sees a lot of people within the company that are passionate about the bike and they want to part of that, too. I think the city of Madison has helped a lot thanks to the accessibility to trails, easy commutes to work, and bike parking at most places.

Bike parking outside the store is just as important. We have so many events, commuters, or whomever it may be visiting the area by bike. There has to be enough parking for everyone and for our business locations, it's up to the city to make that happen. We absolutely want bicycle parking racks near-by.



What benefit does bike parking provide for your customers?

With bike parking right our front and in the back of Ian's on State, customers can just lock up, grab a slice, sit in the patio and then be on their way. We also have $1.00 off a slice for the Bicycle Benefits program, so we encourage customers to get a Benefits sticker when they come in, too.

What about indoor bicycle parking for employees?

A few people got brand new bikes once the snow melted. Some of us bike all year. The next thing we knew we had a bike explosion in the office. Indoor bike parking is something we need because right now we just have a really cool pile of bikes by our Street Fighter arcade machine. So when you celebrate your win, you don't want to knock the bikes over, but that's not the real reason to get bike parking.

My managing partner noticed in the last week or two that at least over half of the office commutes to work by bike or are looking to purchase a bike. We had some conversations to the effect of “why not park outside”? I told him inside bike parking helps make our investments/toys feel safe. It's scary when you lose a Brooks Saddle in a wink. It's all about security.

We already have a basement in the store where employees can park their bikes, hang their stuff or put it in a locker we have provided. The fact that Ian's is now considering adding more official bike parking to the office makes me feel super valued. Ian's is showing that they care about something I'm passionate about, plus we can attract more potential hires and show them that it's cool to ride.

To find out if there's a bike parking contest going on in your area, find your local Saris brand advocate.