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Workbikes: Bicycles & Pedal Power
In Business & The Work Place

(Better bureaucracies bike!)





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Table of Contents

Pedal Power Recycling | Do-It-Yourself Trailers | Police Gear-Up | Post, Parks and Petite Bourgeoisie On Your Bikes | Biking The Buns, Pizzas and Other Things | Bike for Health or Health for Bikes | EarthSmart Programs | Green Business Green Transport | Madagascar Parks | Dutch Civilized Servants | Low Flying Bicycles | Company Rewards Employees With Bicycles | Perks For Pedaling | Credit Schemes | Secure Parking | Other Pedal Power Applications |

Links To Related Internet Resources

Bicycles In The Work Place

Pedicabs (Rickshaws): Taxis Without An Attitude

Bikes at Work! This web site specializes in covering work bikes, trailers, bicycle taxis, where to get them, how they are used and who is using them.

Cycle 4 U Small freight delivery (package and parcels up to 35kg) around Birmingham, UK.

Pedal Powered Recycling The Pedal Co-op is a worker-run organization that offers recycling-by-bicycle services to local businesses in Philadelphia. They use trailers attached to bikes to transport recyclables and waste to the Blue Mountain recycling facility as well as compost to local urban gardens.

Do-It-Yourself Cargo Trailers: (for manufactured trailers see the "Technology and Innovation" page of the "Link Section."

Police Gear Up

The development of tough, multi-gear, all-terrain bicycles a decade ago has probably done more to increase interest in bicycling than any other technical development in a century. Governments around the world are rediscovering the economy and efficiency of bicycle transportation. One of the biggest trends is the return to putting police on bicycles. In one three year period, over one-hundred federal, state, county, university, park and military police departments in the United States alone, started bicycle patrols -- and the growth is accelerating. Those involved say that bicycle use in urban patrol work allows the officer to better use his senses of sight, hearing and smell, as well as providing more maneuverability, speed and silence. As of 1998 Los Angeles Police Department (CA USA) has about 260 officers on bikes daily-- with another 250 or so certified to ride. For more information contact the International Police Mountain Bike Association, 583 Frederick Rd #5B, Baltimore, Maryland 21228. Tel: 410-744-2400. Fax: 410-744-5504. Email:

In a similar vein, municipal parking enforcement officers and private security companies around the world use bikes to get around.  In some African cities you can see hundred of security guards moving around on bikes.

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Post, Parks and Petite Bourgeoisie On Your Bikes

The following governmental uses of bicycles have been reported:

  • Post offices in Zimbabwe have used bicycles to deliver the mail for years.
  • In San Luis Obispo (CA, USA) the fire department uses bicycles to go out to building inspections.
  • Game wardens in Zaire's Upenda National Park have been supplied bicycles as part of an anti-poaching program.
  • Park rangers in numerous city and county parks use bikes to patrol their trail systems and green spaces.
  • In China, rural health workers use bicycles to make their rounds.
  • Seattle and King County (WA, USA) have "non-motor pool" (bicycles) for employees to use when going out on business.
  • Five New York City Department of Transportation Street Inspectors ride bicycles full-time to monitor pavement conditions. [City Cyclist, NY]
  • As the Borough Engineer for Haringey, Darek Turner used a bike for work trips. He has now been named London Traffic Director. [London Cyclist, UK]
  • The building inspector for Port Townsend (WA USA) rides a bike to the worksites.
  • Started in mid-1996, the Santa Barbara County (CA USA) Marshal's Department implemented a program to use bicycles to serve civil process in the downtown Santa Barbara City area.  The marshal has the duty of serving civil papers, subpoenas and other legal documents produced by the courts.
  • The bike-friendly city of Grenoble at the foot of the French Alps has bought over a hundred 'official' bikes for use by council and staff members on their business appointments around the community.  The bikes, to be emblazoned with the city's coat of arms, will reduce the number of official duty cars in the city's fleet.  A new city tender won by Peugeot Cycles calls for gear box housing that will eliminate the risk of grease stains on the trousers and dresses of city officials who opt for this new form of official transportation.
    Deputy mayor Michel Gilbert who uses a city bike exclusively for his official rounds, has been mainly responsible for a fivefold increase in Grenoble's budget for bikeway construction and maintenance over the past three years.  The 1998 appropriation is in the range of FFr 2.2 million about US$400,000), another FFr 7.5 million (US$1.3m) has been allocated by the metro region for bikeway initiatives.
    [Public Innovation Abroad - Sept '98]
  • BRODEAUX (AP).  About twenty bicycles were placed at the disposal of the elected officials and department heads at the Bordeaux City Hall, it was announced Monday by the Deputy-Mayor of the City, Alain Juppe. 
    "Very often, officials or bureaucrats go about Bordeaux by car.  They therefore contribute to the rise of pollution in the city.  They will have at their disposal bicycles in the courtyard of the city hall so they can go to other public service offices," declared Mr. Juppe in a press conference, after a tour by bike around the Place Pey-Berland, across from the Bordeaux City Hall, in the company of a number of elected officials from the municipality.  "Its an experience.  If it works out it will then give us personnel on municipal bicycles," explained Mr. Juppe. However the former prime minister clarified that he would not give up his "official Safrane [Renault]", but that he would try to "be an example as often as possible" by getting around on bicycle. 
    These two-wheeled machines were supplied by the office of tourism of  Bordeaux, which uses them primarily in the summer.  This operation is a complement to the "Sunday Without Cars" organized once a month downtown in this capital of the Aquitane Department.
    [January 1999]

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Biking The Buns, Pizzas and Other Things

  • Bakeries in Bogota, Columbia and Harare, Zimbabwe use bicycles to transport the fresh baked bread.
  • A corporation specializing in the fast delivery of pizza has put its delivery staff in Los Angeles (CA USA) and Washington (DC USA) on bicycles, due to congestion and parking problems in the cities.
  • Paramount and other movie studios (CA USA) use large numbers of bicycles and some tricycles to get around the backlots.  There is a bicycle/pedestrian gate to Paramount on Van Ness Ave., with 60 bike racks.
  • Airports use bikes to move people around the tarmac.
  • Air-conditioning and electrical technicians use workman tricycles for making their rounds about the Pentagon (VA USA).
  • The Boeing Company (WA USA) uses bikes and tricycles in its massive plane assembly buildings to move parts.
  • Humana developed 'Freewheelin', a corporate bicycle-sharing program, for employees in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2007. The program has since expanded to other areas across the United States.
  • Ad firm Ogilvy & Mather North America, New York, stated a corporate bike share program in 2009.
  • UNOCAL refinery keeps a long row of "company bikes"--hideous looking thing--just inside the gate of their facility near Redondo Beach (CA USA). 

Cycle for Life: Bike for Health or Health for Bikes

  • Paramedics in Phoenix, AZ, use specially equipped bicycles for parades, festivals and sports events. The idea came when paramedics noticed that at a parade police officers on bicycle arrived at an incident requiring emergency medical services much quicker than the paramedics themselves. The EMS bicycles are designed to carry full advanced life support equipment including heart monitors/defibrillator, incubation equipment, oxygen, IV supplies and trauma kits.
  • In Seattle, area hospitals use bicycle messengers to transfer critical blood supplies through congested city streets. [Seattle Post-Intellegencer]
  • New Jersey hospitals use bicyclists to deliver health records like x-ray film.
  • The University of Washington Medical Center (Seattle, WA USA) has developed a new system of delivering lifesaving blood to hospital by bike.  Seattle is the first city in the country to use bicycle couriers to deliver blood to hospitals.  Couriers travel between the Puget Sound Blood Center and the University Medical Center every 15 to 30 minutes along the Burke-Gilman non-motorized trail The new system provides a solution to traffic congestion problems, allowing blood products to be delivered within minutes. (1998)

EarthSmart Programs

The San Luis Obispo County, CA, Board of Supervisors approved a program that offers a bicycle to county employees for their exclusive use. In return, the employee must agree to ride the bicycle to work at least two days per week. Participants must sign a "Bicycle Use Permit". At the end of one year of successful participation, the employee may receive ownership of the bicycle. The bicycles are either donated or are unclaimed theft recoveries. A month after the first memo announcing the program a second memo was describing the response as overwhelming and reporting a shortage of bicycles.

In other actions, the county installed additional bicycle racks, new bicycle lockers and personal lockers at various county facilities to accommodate and promote the use of bicycles. These efforts are in concert with the county's Clean Air Plan and related trip reduction requirements. For details: General Services Director, County Government Center, San Luis Obispo, CA 93408.

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Green Business Green Transport

The Greener Cleaner, is a cleaning service in New York City which uses only environmentally safe products. As you might have guessed, employees travel between clients by bicycle.

Madagascar Parks

The World Wildlife Fund in Madagascar has bought 300 All-Terrain- Bikes for park guardians.

Dutch Civilized Servants

From now on civil servants in the Netherlands must travel by bus, rail or bicycle. Official travel by car will no longer be allowed. Those who leap on to a bike can claim mileage. The new ruling, effective now, applies not only to journeys within the city but also to multi-day travel over greater distances.
[London Cyclist, April/May 1995]

Low Flying Bicycles

The US Air Force has used bicycles sporadically in many different ways for years. There is no central policy governing where and when their use is mandated, different units and bases simply use them where they make sense. Some examples of their use are:

  • Maintenance technicians using three-wheelers with a basket to transport toolboxes and test equipment to the aircraft out in the parking area.
  • Supply warehouse workers using both two and three wheelers to move themselves and materials around mile long warehouses.
  • Supervisors using two wheelers to move around on massive parking ramps and between hangers.

Although they are generally used to speed up the movement of people who would normally have to walk they are treated as vehicles and those that forget that are either corrected or the situation corrects them. Case in point - one fellow decided that since he was on a bike he could ignore the red light that governs a road behind a aircraft parking area. The light was on because a C-141 (a large military transport) was doing a maintenance engine run. The wheels of the aircraft are chocked so it won't roll forward. Just about the time our cyclist got directly behind the plane the maintenance technician stood on the brakes and hit full throttle. This guy bounced, rolled, flew and slid about 75 yards perpendicular to his intended path of travel before the force of the planes exhaust diminished enough that he would stop. He was liable for his lost time and for his damaged bicycle. [Capt. Matthew E. Mangan, USAF]

Company Rewards Employees With Bicycles

By Ernst Poulsen (Bicycle News Agency)

When the energy supply company, Oslo Energy, wanted to celebrate a good year, they decided to offer their 1.350 employees a 21 speed MTB. To make the offer special, the price was set at 1.000 Norwegian Kroner. (Similar bicycles would cost 5 times as much in a shop.) Eighty-five percent of all employees took the deal.

Information Manager Morten Schau explains, that the company has had a long tradition for sponsoring Norwegian Bike-racing. "When we had to consider a way of marking a good year for the company it was natural to think of bicycles." Oslo Energy also has an active group of cyclists in the company sports team, and several employees participate in the Great Trial of Strength, a 540 km long bicycle race. "Of course we hope that many people will use the bikes commute to and from work, and we hope that this will also benefit the general health of our employees", Schau adds.

Further information:

"Paa Sykkel", membership magazine of the Norwegian Cyclists Federation, SLF, Postboks 8883, Youngst, N-0028 Olso, Norway.
Tel: +47 - 22 415080. Email:   (1998)

Perks For Pedaling

A part of Fleetwood Enterprises' effort to increase Average Vehicle Rider (AVR) ratios, as required by the Southern California Air Quality District, is an aggressive bicycle commuting program. Among its features: double the points available to car-poolers toward merchandise (shoes to camcorders), services (massages to cruises) or days off; showers and clothes lockers; bicycle storage lockers; free helmets, mirror, night light and reflective vests; the Fleetwood Mud Sweat & Gears Bicycle Club; loaner bike for new bike commuters; subsidized bicycle purchase; pickup vehicle for stranded cyclist; bicycle clinics; guaranteed ride home; and special prizes for bicyclists. Twelve percent of the workforce are enrolled in the program to commute by bicycle at least twice a week. This compares to one percent bicycle commuting in the U.S. in general. For more information contact: Fleetwood Enterprises, PO Box 7638, Riverside, CA 92523.

Coyote Found Candles has a "Coyote Bucks" program, where employees receive a Coyote Buck each time they commute using an alternative to a single occupant vehicle. Coyote Found Candles, PO Box 632, Pt Townsend, WA 98368 USA.

Calvert Group, a socially responsible mutual fund company, offers as one of it many benefits to employees, not only reimbursement for public transportation, but also reimbursement for walking shoes or a bicycle and free messages. Calvert Group, 4550 Montgomery Ave., 10th Fl., Bethesda, MD 20814.

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Credit Schemes

In Zimbabwe several companies have made available tens-of- thousands of dollars (US) for implementation of staff bicycle purchase schemes. In one company 40% of all staff, opted for it. Secure bicycle parking was also provided. The programs were started in part because the transportation system is so overburdened employees could get to work. Management of one company claims that late arrivals had been eliminated at work places where bicycles were loaned to employees. In a similar program, legislation was progressing through Parliament to establish a revolving fund to give village development worker loans to buy bicycles. [Financial Gazette, The Herald] As part of the Vea Integrated Fish Farming Project in northeast Ghana, the Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment is extending loans to the rural fishmongers so that they can buy bicycles to enable them to convey fresh fish from the project area to the markets. [People's Daily Graphic, Accra]

Secure Parking

The international banking firm of J.P. Morgan & Co., New York City, is not as stodgy as its Wall Street facade suggests. For the past 15 years, the bank has provided guarded, secure, indoor bicycle parking and showers for its bike commuter employees. Charles Curreri of Morgan's Facilities Management Department says Morgan has selfish reasons to do so: "Healthy employees are happy employees." For a guide to additional secure parking facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn contact Transportation Alternatives, 494 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 USA. [City Cyclist]

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