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Facebook: A Gold Bicycle Friendly Business in Seattle
The following post originally appeared in a newsletter from Bikes Make Life Better, and is part of our three-part blog series highlighting Facebook’s 3 worksites across the U.S. that are Bicycle Friendly Businesses. (See their Platinum HQ here, and stay tuned for Silver-level Facebook ATX later this week!) Check out Bikes Make Life Better’s Resources page for more case studies, strategies for shifting employees to bikes, best practices guides, and more. Steal the ideas you like best! Already on top of bike benefits for your employees? The next deadline to apply for Bicycle Friendly Business status is October 10 — apply today! - League Staff
Facebook really wants to help its employees ride bikes. When the social networking company was building its Menlo Park headquarters, it parceled out valuable real estate for The Hub, a free full-service bike repair shop and events space right in the middle of campus. The Hub has it all: free bike repairs for employees, loaner bikes, bikes for sale, discounted gear, free parts plus staff to lead group rides, host classes, and serve as a resource for anything bike-related.
Since The Hub first opened about seven years ago, Facebook has continued to prioritize biking company-wide by opening its first full-service bike shop in a field office at its new South Lake Union digs in Seattle. The shop is really just the focal point though; just outside is an area to store personal bikes, a drying room for damp gear, showers, lockers, everything a daily cyclist would need to feel the love. The bike shop staff does double duty by fixing bikes and creating programs to get more people to ride. Facebook really is doing everything to foster bike culture and to remove barriers to biking.
“The goal is to make the journey to and from work safe, efficient, and as comfortable as possible,” says Rachel Jallits, Global Transportation Lead in Facebook’s Seattle office. “By providing end-of-trip facilities with bike friendly amenities, we encourage more employees to get excited about biking and ride in to work. Supporting our cyclists is important to our transportation ecosystem, especially being based in an urban location.”
Facebook Seattle was recently awarded a Gold Bike Friendly Business designation by the League of American Bicyclists.
The Westlake Wheelhouse and accompanying bike parking is a 543 square feet area on the first floor of Facebook’s new building, and its features are numerous. Facebook’s bike commuters seem to like their new home. The Wheelhouse is located inside the “Transit Hub,” a one stop shop for employees’ commuter questions, is open weekdays from 9 AM – 5 PM. It is staffed by a bike mechanic and program manager. Employees can bring their personal bikes in for free fixes or tune ups. Parts may cost extra depending on the items. The pictures below show Facebook's Westlake Wheelhouse and some of the ammenties it provides, including a basic DIY repair plus an “apprentice level” DIY repair station with tools is available for employees to use 24/7. Employees may grab spare parts, like tubes, chains, and brake pads from a bike vending machine.
Next to the shop, employees park their bikes at double decker racks that can hold up to 91 bikes. Then they can hit nearby showers and if riders arrive at work soaked-through (a typical condition in the rainy Pacific Northwest), they can stick wet gear in a marine-quality drying room. “Over the first few months, we’ve seen more riders able to easily access the racks, using the combination of stacked bike parking with upper and lower racks,” says Jallits. The pictures below show the convenient bicyle racks and drying room.
Need help developing a bike room, shop, or other facilities at your company? Bikes Make Life Better is dedicated to helping large organizations use bikes for healthy sustainable transportation. They’ve helped design bike parking and facilities for Facebook, Salesforce, Airbnb, Stripe, Pembroke Real Estate, LinkedIn and many others.