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Dear Employees: PleaseCycle. Thank You.

by Stacey Moses

For veteran cyclists looking for additional motivation to ride to work or for new commuters seeking assistance to get started, PleaseCycle offers solutions to these issues and beyond for London-based employers. The company, which launched its program this quarter, features an comprehensive online portal that allows employees to log miles, plan routes, and track both their carbon savings and their rewards earned.

According to PleaseCycle, within just three weeks of the product launch, commuters’ carbon savings equaled that of twelve London-to-Paris flights.

PleaseCycle

Recently founded by two young entrepreneurs, Ry Morgan and Anthony Ganjou, PleaseCycle’s mission is to encourage the employees of participating organizations to ride to work by offering incentives for every mile recorded. The miles collected are termed “BikeMiles,” and these BikeMiles are captured in a client-branded online “Cycle Hub.” Within the Cycle Hub, the organization and its employees can track progress, create friendly competitions, and explore relevant services and tips.

PleaseCycle

And, of course, there's an app.

In London, local businesses have partnered with PleaseCycle to offer discounted goods and services, and employers have gotten creative by donating to charities and rewarding employees with additional vacation time based on miles logged.  PleaseCycle also maintains BikeConcierge, which offers cycling solutions that are specific to a corporate environment, including everything from urban cycling instruction to parking and storage solutions.

PleaseCycle’s Website, which is aesthetically pleasing in addition to being chocked full of interesting tools, provides employers with ample information as to why this program is as beneficial to their businesses as it is to their staff members. There are the usual statistics regarding the health benefits of physical activity, and there are also explanations as to how encouraging cycling can improve an organization financially, summing up PleaseCycle as a way to achieve “less sick-days, higher productivity, happier working environment … a very sterling concept that will undoubtedly boost your bottom line.”

While the service is relatively new, the founders have high expectations for growth and Morgan is open to the idea of implementing PleaseCycle in businesses in the United States. PleaseCycle’s barriers for entry in different areas could also potentially be its tipping point — for employees to reap the (financial) benefits of logging miles, external businesses need to sign on to provide the discounts and incentives. However, once this partnering begins to occur in a given area, it has the potential to create a stronger and more involved cycling community in all of the participating organizations, fostering continued expansion.

PleaseCycle

In the end, employers need to buy into the idea (literally) that creating a healthy, environmentally- and socially-conscious culture is worthwhile. PleaseCycle seeks to provide the explanation of benefits as well as the tools of implementation, and I wish them good luck as they pursue their mission “to build a global currency around cycling and empower organizations to inspire 1,000,000,000 cycle journeys by 2020.”

 
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3 Responses to “Dear Employees: PleaseCycle. Thank You.”

  1. I think American employers will pick up on programs like this when they begin to see it as a “bottom line” issue. I believe in green initiatives but I don’t think most private companies are committed enough to them to make the investments to create meaningful change. Most companies are not Clif Bar or Timbuk2 in this area. If promoting and actively facilitating bike commuting saves money in terms of healthcare, sick leave, emotional burn out, parking requirements,maintaining regulations or earning tax credits, ability to reduce the company cars, etc then they’ll get behind it and make it happen. When companies are serious about promoting this kind of change it will be lead by the organizations top people leading the charge and by doing so giving bike commuting and using bikes during the work day legitimacy. Most of us who bike for transport have had the experience of our decision being treated as just an frivolous excuse for recreation and having fun. It was easy for me to begin using public transit to get to and from work, as well as my off-site work meetings because my boss set the example by biking and using the bus almost exclusively; having a car at my disposal was not a work requirement or a reflection of my reliability.

    When employers are seriously behind bike commuting as a legitimate form of transport I think they help place bike commuting higher on the priority list when cities and states are allocating infrastructure monies and other resources.

  2. Joel says:

    Karen makes some very concise points.

    Companies are in the business to make money. They will back the use of bicycles if it saves money for the business, improves productivity (in effect making more money), or reduces staff turnover (saves money in retraining and transfer of responsibilities).

    The most immediate and drastic savings I believe any employer is going to see is in employee sickness and healthcare costs. An article in the Washington Post today emphasizes that recent gains against deaths caused by strokes and heart attacks are being jeopardized by the growing overweight and obesity epidemic occurring in our country. More exercise and smaller meal proportions are key to reversing this trend.

    I am noticing this in my own life since starting my bicycle commuting to the bus park-and-ride last September. I feel MUCH better physically. I have lost over 10 pounds during the holiday season and I am keeping it off. Losing weight is accomplished by many people by only dieting but the same lost wight is gained by the end of twelve months without other lifestyle changes.

    Every morning the temperature is getting lower and lower. An easy excuse to take the car or get driven to the stop can be made when looking at the thermometer. I normally weigh myself when I wake up and it inspires me to do my commute. I need to be around for many more years to support my family and biking is helping me to do that.

    As far as my employer goes, I have not had one sick day since I started commuting by bike. I have more energy at work. I might even be able to eventually reduce or eliminate my high blood pressure medication if I continue to lose weight.

    I know that by next summer, if I persevere through the winter with my bike commute, many people will be asking me, “How did you lose so much weight and get into shape?” My answer will be, “Commuting to the bus by bicycle.”

    I can not advertise the benefit any better than that. Every employer would love to reduce sick day usage if they could. They should encourage commuting by bike.

  3. BluesCat says:

    Back in September, just before I took a series of trips around the U.S. (which meant I would be confined to an airplane seat or a car seat for periods of up to six hours), I banged my knee and the result was an injury to the soft tissue; the lack of motion on the plane and in the car resulted in inflammation which is just now receding entirely. I hobbled around for weeks, and was hesitant about riding the bike to work (even though when I WAS riding it didn’t seem to bother me).

    In that short time of forced inactivity, I was beset with a host of minor, nagging little physical problems which my Doc says were directly related to reduced exercise. Now that I am back almost to full speed on the bike, they have disappeared.

    ‘Nuff said?

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