Co-owners of Green Economy Peterborough member Trent Health in Motion, Reanna Montopoli and Michael Williams are active transportation advocates. In addition to sponsoring the 2024 Peterborough & the Kawarthas Cycling Summit: Safe Streets for Everyone, Montopoli recently spoke at a Green Economy Peterborough event on the value of creating a bike-friendly workplace. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

Co-owners of Green Economy Peterborough member Trent Health in Motion, Reanna Montopoli and Michael Williams are active transportation advocates. In addition to sponsoring the 2024 Peterborough & the Kawarthas Cycling Summit: Safe Streets for Everyone, Montopoli recently spoke at a Green Economy Peterborough event on the value of creating a bike-friendly workplace. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

By: Jackie Donaldson, Green Economy Peterborough

Cycling makes us feel good, contributes to good health, and is a very affordable way to get around. We can agree that these are all benefits that business leaders want for their employees, customers, and visitors alike.

So why not become a bike-friendly business? It’s easier than you think.

The first and most important thing to do as an employer is to signal your support for biking to the workplace. Welcome, even celebrate, employees and visitors who ride. Recognize that for some, it’s about fitting in time to be active, for others a financial necessity, and for others still, a preferred way to reduce their climate impact.

Second, you can’t bike without a bike! The importance of providing a safe place to park a bicycle can’t be underestimated. Theft happens and it can happen quickly, even in broad daylight. A lockable spot within line of sight or in a secured location is best. Ideally, this spot has a roof. Inclement weather won’t deter a frequent rider but regular exposure is hard on equipment.

Finally, know that cycling commuters have bags, helmets, and possibly a change of clothes that they will need to store. Providing a place to keep these safe and accessible can ease their commute planning.

Inseparable from his bike, Kieran Andrews of Wild Rock Outfitters, a bike-friendly workplace and member of Green Economy Peterborough, shares his love of cycling with staff and the greater community. Wild Rock has long supported cycling organizations and events in the region, including the Peterborough Bicycle Advisory Committee and their recent Safe Streets for Everyone Cycling Summit. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

Inseparable from his bike, Kieran Andrews of Wild Rock Outfitters, a bike-friendly workplace and member of Green Economy Peterborough, shares his love of cycling with staff and the greater community. Wild Rock has long supported cycling organizations and events in the region, including the Peterborough Bicycle Advisory Committee and their recent Safe Streets for Everyone Cycling Summit. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

Beyond these basics for being a bike-friendly workplace, there are many other supports or incentives a business can put in place, depending on how they operate.

Consider policy changes that support cycling, like those that allow more casual attire, provide mileage for biking to meetings or for other work tasks, or enable a flex day schedule that relieves timeclock pressures. Some businesses may even want to make available a tire pump, a toolkit, and a paid emergency ride home voucher for unexpected situations.

Luke Parsons and Ethan Taylor from Engage Engineering proudly represented their employer at the 2024 Peterborough & the Kawarthas Cycling Summit: Safe Streets for Everyone on April 25, 2024. A Green Economy Peterborough member, Engage was an event sponsor and is a bike-friendly employer. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

Luke Parsons and Ethan Taylor from Engage Engineering proudly represented their employer at the 2024 Peterborough & the Kawarthas Cycling Summit: Safe Streets for Everyone on April 25, 2024. A Green Economy Peterborough member, Engage was an event sponsor and is a bike-friendly employer. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

Trent Health in Motion owners Reanna Montopoli and Michael Williams have long been practitioners of active commuting. “We’ve really tried to structure our lives to involve as much active commuting in our daily routine as possible,” states Montopoli, “and we’re trying to build that now to include our whole business.”

Among their efforts, Trent Health in Motion, a Green Economy Peterborough member, has helped GreenUP to pilot a bike-friendly workplace audit to be launched later this year. Says Montopoli of their collaboration, “One of the things we’ve found rewarding in owning our own business is the ability to have an impact, a greater positive impact, on our community, than we could as individuals.”

Cycling to work may not be an option for everyone due to workday transportation needs, shift work limitations, work-home distance, physical ability, and the errands and activities necessary at different stages of our lives.

Making cycling an option for staff and visitors can go a long way to building a positive workplace culture, employee pride and a future-forward brand. Green Economy Peterborough recently held a webinar dedicated to empowering bike-friendly businesses in Peterborough. You can view it at https://bit.ly/bike-friendly-businesses-ptbo.

Are you “bike commute curious”? Shifting Gears might be able to help! For 20 years Shifitng Gears has helped support Peterborough citizens to adopt active and sustainable transportation habits and has some exciting features, events and resources this season.

Sign up for GreenUP’s Shifting Gears newsletter at https://greenup.on.ca/shifting-gears/ to find out about the various bike commuter programs offered in our community, including Rack ‘n’ Roll, Winter Wheels, and the B!KE: The Community Bike Shop corporate membership.

Peterborough Public Library staff are long-time participants in the Shifting Gears May Challenge and keen bike commuters. The library provides bike parking that features a roof to protect staff bikes from the elements and a secure fence to protect them from theft. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

Peterborough Public Library staff are long-time participants in the Shifting Gears May Challenge and keen bike commuters. The library provides bike parking that features a roof to protect staff bikes from the elements and a secure fence to protect them from theft. (Photo: Jackie Donaldson)

Spring also means that the Shifting Gears May Challenge is on! Sign up to track the trips you take by walking, cycling, taking transit, carpool or telecommuting and win prizes.

Sign up individually or join a workplace team. Find out about this fun challenge, cycling initiatives, Green Economy Peterborough and more on GreenUP’s website, www.greenup.on.ca