New employer? New college? As you commit to new things in your life it’s worth finding out if your new place has an incentive scheme in place encouraging you to cycle in. More and more companies and universities are offering deals.
Ripon College in Wisconsin offers freshmen a brand-new Trek 820 mountain bike plus accessories (including a hyper expensive lock) for free if they won’t bring their car to college. Students who signed up for the deal, a phenomenal 60% of all freshmen this year, did so because they saved on petrol and they help save the environment. That’s besides getting the free wheels of course. The college itself wants to reduce its carbon footprint, save on parking spaces and encourage healthy lifestyles.
A similar program is underway at Edgewood College in Madison. The college’s faculty and staff are given bikes and also created an extension to its solar lit bike path to encourage people to take up the offer.
In the UK, the Royal Bank of Scotland sponsors employees who buy a bike. Employees can purchase a bike in monthly instalments from pre tax and pre National Insurance payments. The bank also negotiated a deal with bicycle shop Halfords to offer a 26% discount on the price of the bike. In addition to the tax savings this means employees are able to purchase a bike for around half price or less.
Companies or colleges interested in launching a bike program can get tailormade advice from the experts at Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition which runs a detailed guide on launching successful bicycle commute programs. The coalition recommends that organizations start off appointing an on-site bicycle commuting coordinator who’s responsible for planning and carrying out project goals and liaise between project participants and company administration. The next phase of the program is to assess what commuter habits are and get to the bicycle commuting potential of your organization. Then it’s down to coming up with the best strategy to get people on their bikes and the site offers plenty of tips on safety, practical advice, and recommendable incentives.
Bike sales in general have been going through the roof in recent months even though the economy is dragging its heels. The unprecedented number of visitors to the Interbike trade show underscores this. The organizers report that a record 23,000 people and 750 exhibitors have showed up for the show this year. “While the economy is really sketchy right now, it’s not for the bike industry,” according to Rich Kelly, who’s a marketing manager at Interbike and who was quoted on Wired.com.
Last June, as gas prices rose over 4 dollars a gallon, the bike industry showed phenomenal double digit growth. “Some manufacturers have seen 50 percent growth in the last quarter, and dealers can’t keep up with demand”, according to the Wired report on the trade show. Aside from the high gasoline prices, green consumption and health conscious life styles are the motivating factors driving hordes of people to purchase a bike.
Not only are bike shops selling new bikes like hot cakes, but they’re also very busy repairing bikes that people have dragged out of sheds and garages to start using again after being serviced by an expert. The bike shop owners say that the high gas prices are the best thing that ever happened to cycling.
A new element to the cycling craze is the soaring popularity of third generation electric bikes. Manufacturers are tipped to be especially confident that they’re going to experience tremendous sales of these bikes in months to come because of their great potential for dual use. Electric bikes can be ridden a normal pedal bike or used like a non polluting scooter. The latest makes of the bikes are feather light and battery technology has so much improved since the first electric bikes hit the market that it’s getting very attractive to run an electronic bike.