The email came in Thursday from Jon the CFO: “OK, folks, given the hot weather of late and the reality that we might be enjoying the last days of summer weather, I am declaring that tomorrow anyone who wants to wear shorts to work can do so! And those of you who want to ride their bikes to work should do so. Janet has been trying to get me to ride to work for a long time now and I’ve never done so. But tomorrow is the day – I am going to put on a pair of shorts in the morning and bike to the office. So if you don’t want to see me in shorts, you might want to quickly arrange a vacation day tomorrow!”
What a surprise! After Jon told me how he used to ride his bike all over Manhattan as a teen, I had been gently nudging him to ride his bike to work. He lives less than two miles from the office, but he had the usual concerns: what to wear, scheduling around offsite meetings, etc. But Friday was was the day. He rode to work on the same 1979 Raleigh 10 speed from his high school days on the Upper East Side, wearing the same big smile I’m sure he wore as a teenager who had the freedom to roam the whole island.
Jon isn’t the only person I’ve gently nudged toward biking to work. There’s Stephane, who recently joined us from our Paris office. He and his wife found a place to live near downtown Palo Alto, less than three miles from our office. Being good California suburbanites, they bought a small SUV which they share. They also share a bike, which Stephane rides to work most days and his wife uses for errands on other days.
Melissa usually rides her motor scooter to the office from her home three miles away, so she’s got an easy commute. She surprised me one day by telling me she wanted to ride her bicycle to work and where did I suggest she park it. I didn’t realize that Melissa used to teach English in Japan, where she rode a bicycle as daily transportation. Now she splits her time riding in to work between her scooter and her bike.
Given there are only 14 people working in our small office, I’m really impressed that we have four people who have turned in their car commute for a bike commute at least some of the time. We also have two guys who ride in on motorcycles daily, which puts us at close to 50% of our workforce using lower impact transportation. Pretty impressive considering our office is located in a suburban office park, not a downtown type location. And it definitely puts a smile on my face.
For those who regularly bike commute to work: has riding to work had an influence on your co-workers’ transportation choice? For those who don’t: does having co-workers bike commuting to the office make you want to ride in too?