How We’re Creating a Bike Culture at Work

Posted on 06/03/2016 by Left Coast

Getting more cars off the road and fewer greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere has been a goal of ours.

Have you noticed thousands of cyclists zipping by or the dozens of  HUB tents popping up all over town for Bike to Work Week?

Peter Ladner wrote about our efforts in Business in Vancouver. Thanks, Peter!

Left Coast Naturals, a Burnaby-based organic food distribution company with a fairly normal low number of regularly cycling employees (about 5%), goes well beyond the baby step of ending reserved car parking and replacing it with cash payments for any transportation mode. Left Coast pays a $120 monthly bonus to employees who ride their bikes to work at least half the time.

The payoff? According to Statistics Canada, the B.C. sick-days-off average is 7.6. At Left Coast, it’s three days, and zero for bikers. Which makes sense: any form of active transportation – cycling, walking or transit – is likely to deliver what physician and University of Toronto public health Prof. Mike Evans says is the single most beneficial preventive medicine for the biggest range of chronic physical and mental illnesses: 30 minutes of daily exercise.

Creating an alternative transportation culture in our workplace stems from our larger sustainability mission. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Here’s what we’ve done and are doing to get more of our employees onto the saddle.

Make it easy. Simple building upgrades make a difference.

  • We added a bike rack and let people park inside when it rains
  • Installed a shower facility
  • Provided a clothes drying rack



Take out the guesswork. Give people the info and resources they need.

  • One of our seasoned cyclists held a “fix a flat” workshop
  • Arranged for a mobile bike tune up shop to get everyone’s bikes in safe, tip-top shape
  • Handed out bike path maps and offered to help people plan their routes


Cycling is fun. But extra incentives can make it even more fun!

  • As a part of our employee benefits, we offer $120 for people who ride at least 50% of the month
  • To help people get started, we offer them $100 to use towards purchasing a bike
  • Our employees created a “Bike to Work Month” campaign with weekly prizes

Cycling, walking, and taking public transit has led to healthier, happier employees. Take it from Terri, one of our die-hard cyclists. What are some of the things you’ve done in your workplace to get people excited about alternative transportation? We’d love to swap tips!

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