Posts Tagged ‘bike benefits’
Monday, September 12th, 2011
For digitally driven, fully integrated advertising agency Colle+McVoy, biking is a big part of the work culture. How big? One-third of the 170 employees bike to their office in the Wyman Building in downtown Minneapolis.
How did Colle+McVoy foster a culture of biking?
Biking isn’t a new trend for the 76-year-old firm. In fact, president and CEO Christine Fruechte’s grandfather owned a Schwinn dealership. The biking culture bubbled up over the years without the agency forcing it. As one employee puts it, “It’s just there, especially among leaders.”
It helps that Colle+McVoy has several bike-friendly programs and amenities:
- Showers, locker rooms, maintenance supplies and covered bike parking.
- The Bike Purchase Program, which was implemented at the suggestion of an employee. The program gives employees interest-free loans to purchase bikes, with payments deducted from paychecks. Dozens of employees have used the program (including Allison Rust, profiled below).
- Lunchtime rides to local eateries, such as Psycho Suzi’s.
- Hosting several events during National Bike Month (May), such as the Miles Challenge, a contest to see which employee could log the most miles during the month. The winner biked a whopping 700 miles. The firm also hosted events during Twin Cities Bike Walk Week June 4-12 this year.
- The beer bike, a three-wheel Schwinn that has become a Friday ritual. A bell rings at 3:30 as a new employee typically rides the bike around the office so he or she can meet everyone.
This all contributes to a workplace where it’s not frowned upon to work out over lunch or come into the office sweaty from your morning commute. In fact, last year, the League of American Bicyclists named Colle+McVoy a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business. And supporting this culture helped the agency get named as a Best Place to Work in 2011 by Outside magazine, Advertising Age and the Star Tribune.
A culture of outdoor enthusiasts
A healthy lifestyle is part of Colle+McVoy’s DNA. Many of the employees are passionate outdoor enthusiasts, so it’s no surprise that a culture of biking continues to thrive at the agency.
Colle+McVoy employees who bike range from newbies to hardcore cyclists. Here’s a sampling of the people who keep the bike culture moving:
- Allison Rust. A creative coordinator who is fairly new to commuting by bike, Allison got her start as a bike commuter through working on Colle+McVoy’s blog, where she chronicled her early rides on video. The biking culture at the agency is important to her: “There’s a camaraderie. It’s very common–it’s almost expected. You can’t walk around the office without seeing bikes.” Allison rides a hybrid bike (her first “official” bike) that gets her around town, including regular visits to the Mill City Farmer’s Market on the weekends.
- Joel Stacy. A mountain biker turned road biker and a senior copywriter at Colle+McVoy, Joel has a couple of routes for his commute, picking up either the trail around Lake Harriet/Lake Calhoun to the Cedar Lake Trail or the Minnehaha Ave. trail to the River Road all the way to the Federal Reserve. He bikes for his own well-being, but also to show his two children that biking is an option and that it’s “cool” to bike. Joel rides a racing bike most days for his commute. And, some days, he’ll even drive his kids downtown from his south Minneapolis home, drop them off, drive back home and bike back in to the office. Now, that’s commitment.
- Mike Caguin. In addition to being executive creative director at Colle+McVoy, Mike is the owner of four bikes that he uses for different purposes and during different seasons. He’s a year-round biker not intimidated by Minnesota winters–he’s even biked in 20-below temperatures. His route is almost all bike path, taking him around Lake Harriett/Lake Calhoun, then onto the Cedar Trail. Time-wise, commuting by bike is about the same as by car, he says, and can even be faster than driving if there’s a Twins game at nearby Target Field.
What about the business impact of biking?
With some of the biggest names in biking as clients, you could say it’s Colle+McVoy’s job to know bikes. The biking culture has been a contributing factor in winning some of the businesses the firm represents.
Beyond the direct correlations, the passion and interest in biking carries over to other industries, says Caguin.
“Cycling is a passion industry,” he explains. “We get lots of heads nodding when we talk about that–even when we don’t have category experience.”
Internally, there’s a case for biking in that it helps employees be happier, more productive and less sluggish. And what business-minded company wouldn’t want that?
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when