This annual competition serves as a reminder of the growing importance to be proactive towards integrating bicycles into their business plan. “The benefits of becoming a Bike-Friendly Business do not stop at the cash register,” said Bike East Bay Executive Director Renee Rivera. “Yes, bicyclists do spend more on average per week in local businesses than car drivers. However they also help bring more eyes to the street; they calm traffic down and take cars off the road. And a company that encourages bicycling has seen their employees’ productivity and creativity levels go up. When a bike lane goes in, and when a city as a whole becomes more bike-friendly, everyone benefits.”
In February, Tom Werner, CEO of Sunpower Corp, co-wrote an oped for the Mercury News. “If we want to attract highly talented workers,” he said, “we need to take bold steps toward making Silicon Valley more inviting for those who want to commute, shop and dine in a bike- and pedestrian-friendly environment.”
The three businesses recognized this year as the East Bay’s most Bike Friendly Business Award all represent a different facet of this effort. Jamba Juice has developed a robust wellness program, KTGY provides a one-of-a-kind indoor parking and commute incentive, and Hot Italian’s founders have made bikes the central focus of their pizza business.
Pictured: Jamba Juice employees in front of the Emeryville headquarters
When you walk into Jamba Juice’s headquarters in Emeryville, a set of bright orange Public Bikes greet you. These are loaner bikes, put at the disposal of employees for lunch rides and external meetings. “We’ve had them since 2012,” says Rachael Kirk, Jamba Juice’s Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility. “But we only moved them to the front lobby six months ago. That’s when people started really using them.”
One of their regular bike commuters is Brian Lee, a seven-year Jamba Juice veteran who rides every day from Lafayette. “It’s a hilly 19 miles,” says Lee, “but the shower room makes it possible.” Brian also came up with the idea of creating branded jerseys to “fly their own colors,” with a logo by Jamba Juice’s design team.
Jamba Juice has developed an extensive wellness program that includes health insurance premium discounts in exchange for participation in challenges. In preparation for Bike to Work Day, Jamba Juice employees hold bike tune-up classes and go on practice rides. Howie Miller, Jamba Juice’s in-house lawyer, is a new addition to the team but has been biking to work for more than six years. “The majority of major employers in the area don’t get it yet,” Howie says, “but at Jamba Juice, biking is part of the culture; it’s entrenched, it’s intrinsic, and I like that.”
KTGY Group, Inc
Pictured: Cindy Ma with the indoor bike room and unique bike racks she helped secure.
KTGY opened their Jack London Square office in Oakland in 2005. When they recently expanded their workspace, the topic of better bike parking was brought up. “In the expansion, much thought was put into the creation of a bicycle storage space that could meet employee needs,” Cindy Ma, a project planner with KTGY and a regular bicycle commuter, said in an email. The final result is a one-of-a kind bike room that is central, secure, easily accessible, and incorporates a unique bike rack created by Zac Miles, another KTGY employee. “I use this space everyday and love that I was able to be a part of the process of creating it,” says Ma.
But it doesn’t end there: for more than ten years, the company has been offering a $5 per day green commute incentive to all employees who walk, bike, carpool, or ride public transportation as part of their commute. “It makes for great lunch (or beer!) money,” says Ma, but “most of the time it goes to my baking fund to bring baked goods to the office.” KTGY is not only building good living environments in Bay Area cities, but also promoting a better working environment where it counts, in their own office.
Pictured: Founders Andrea Lepore’s and Fabrizio Cercator on their bikes.
Hot Italian founders Andrea Lepore and Fabrizio Cercatore’s Emeryville restaurant is more than just a pizzeria, and their bike-friendliness runs deeper than just indoor and outdoor bike parking. Their brand was literally built around bikes. On the walls, on their caps, on their stickers and in their ads – bikes are everywhere at Hot Italian.
Together, they have built a hub where pizza brings people together to celebrate art, community, bicycles, soccer and more. This year, Bike East Bay chose to recognize Hot Italian for their bike-friendly mission and their role in crafting and encouraging bike-centered events and organizations: from hosting Climate Ride fundraisers and sponsoring Oakland Composite, a local high school bike team, to their regular collaborations with Bike Magazine and their ongoing pizza-delivery partnership with local bike messengers extraordinaires, Pedal Express, we can always count on Hot Italian to be a supportive and involved business in Emeryville.
Andrea Lepore believes that “if you’re in an urban environment, you need to make it easy for people to arrive by bike” and we agree.
For more information about the Bike Friendly Business Awards and past recipients, visitBikeEastBay.org/Awards.