Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nice Perk for Brewery Workers: Free Bikes

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Workers at an Ashland brewery and restaurant who agree to do some of their commuting by bike get a nice incentive – a free bike.

Writing for Greener World Media, Stephen Linaweaver reports that on a Labor Day weekend trip to Ashland he learned that in late August the Standing Stone Brewery started offering a bike to every employee who agrees to make at least 45 commutes per year by pedal power.

“Immediately 17 employees, almost a third of the total, signed up, including several who had not previously been bike commuters,” Linaweaver writes. “The bikes have Standing Stone's logo on them, giving the brewery widespread eye-level advertising – critical when there are tourists wandering everywhere at [the] Oregon Shakespeare Festival, pondering their next meal. The employees I spoke with were on a pace to well exceed the 45-days-per-year minimum, psyched to get new bikes, and were especially proud that their employer had put their money where their mouths are when it comes to sustainability.”

Under Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit program Standing Stone got a 35% credit for the bikes, bringing the cost down to less than $300 per. The same credit also will cover about a third of the cost of a large bike rack at the front of the building to serve both employees and customers.

According to the Ashland Daily Tidings, “Employees are required to make a $150 deposit on the bikes, which they get back after fulfilling their 45 round-trip commitment.” An even sweeter deal: They get to keep the bikes – blue 21-speed Kona models – even if they stop working for Standing Stone.

Alex Amartico, one of the brewery’s owners, “cites the health benefits, his employees’ excitement, the marketing value and the increased parking availability in the congested downtown area as the main benefits of the program,” Linaweaver writes.

“Companies spend thousands per employee on health care; why not spend $300 on a bike?” Amartico asked.

Standing Stone’s program (they call it “the RPM Club”) looks like something that could make sense for Bend businesses, large and small – especially those downtown, where finding parking spaces is a chronic problem for employees.

(The Eye tips our hat to Loaded Orygun for spotting this story originally.)

 


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