Last week, I was cycling with one of Digital Lumens’ best customers seeing a part of the country I knew little about and being regaled with stories of the region’s history and people.  I was tucked in behind our customer and my sales guy fighting a 20 mile per hour headwind coming at us across the plains.  Even drafting, I was struggling not to get dropped as our customer seemed to barely break a sweat spinning in the small ring – Strava segment comparisons suggest he was taking it easy on us.

When I returned to the office, I found on my desk an award and certificate from MassCommute.  Digital Lumens had won the MassCommute Bicycle challenge for companies of 1 to 100 employees.  Last year we, the team finished in third place, and our own John Weidey received the ‘Fearless Commuter’ award.

This got me to thinking, what does it take to build a bike-friendly culture?  I presume you know why this would be a good thing: health, traffic, environment, and according to eHarmony.com, cyclists are better dates.  Top three thoughts:

  1. Hire bike people:  So, this may be the only thing required.  You cannot convince your key employees to bike into Boston from Milton or Arlington or Bedford every day of the year by just installing a bike rack.  Bike people beget other bike people.
  2. Get a bike rack:  Okay, get a bike rack.  This is at the first sign that you support bikes in the office.  And while you are at it, install a bike repair station with stand and tools.  Helps to have an ex-bike mechanic running a good chunk of your development team.  Oh yes, a shower would be nice too.
  3. Give everyone a bike-sharing pass:  Digital Lumens hands out a free Hubway pass to each employee.  For less than $100 per year, Hubway makes up for the gaps in public transportation and gives our team quick access to all reaches of the city for meetings, lunch, and enjoyment.  We have a couple “company” bikes that can be used if our employees need to get to a part of the city that does not yet have a Hubway station.

Given our rocketing growth, we will graduate to the 100 to 1000 employee category.  So what do I say about our chances next year as we step up?  Well to quote a certain basketball player, “Not one, not two…”