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Facebook: A Silver Bicycle Friendly Business in Austin
This Summer, Facebook earned the Bicycle Friendly Business designation for their third location, when Facebook ATX (Silver) joined Facebook Seattle (Gold) and Facebook HQ (Platinum). Over the past week, we’ve been highlighting all three locations on the League blog -- read on to learn how the Facebook’s Austin field office has become the latest BFB!
When it comes to companies with enviable bike programs, Facebook really leads the pack. About seven years ago, the social networking company decided to amp up support for its bike commuters by building The Hub, a free full-service bike repair shop and events space at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters. With Bikes Make Life Better running its bike programs, Facebook’s pro-bike ethos fanned out into its field offices.
Today, field offices all over the country boast bike goodies—like free bike fixes, hands-on classes, staff-led bike rides, even a bike “lending library.” And last month, Facebook’s Austin outpost made its love of bikes official: The League of American Bicyclists awarded the office a Silver Designation as a Bike Friendly Business! This means that Facebook ATX is a “welcoming space for most bicyclists”—pretty neat, especially considering this is the office’s first time applying for bike-friendly recognition.
The League’s award is kind of a big deal: Designation as a “Bike Friendly Business” is similar to being awarded a LEED certification for an efficient and environmentally-friendly building.
The recently renovated ATX is one of Facebook’s largest field offices outside of its Silicon Valley headquarters, clocking in at roughly 2,200 employees. Its central urban location, with close proximity to bike trails, (including a gorgeous bike trail along the Colorado River waterfront) and a bikeshare station literally on its block, make it bike paradise. Currently 5 percent of ATX employees bike to work (the city average is around 2 percent).
So what kind of treatment do bikes and their commuters get at Facebook ATX? First, employees may park their bikes inside a secure, keycard-accessed and video-monitored bike room in the building’s garage. The room has multiple kinds of racks—staple racks, wall racks, and octopus-like Pushbike Arcs. All told, the room can hold 263 bikes. Two wall-mounted fans circulate air throughout the room, and a supplemental 30-foot floor fan is used during the summer heat to keep clothes and gear dry. Showers are a short trip down the hall.
Guests and employees alike can park their rides at covered outdoor bike racks with capacity for 200 bikes.
And the bike goodies don’t stop there. At Facebook the classic “my bike is busted” excuse doesn’t fly, employees get free on-site bike tunes and free maintenance items, like spare tubes. Additionally, Facebook reimburses employees for bicycle-related commuting expenses on a monthly basis. Everyone may use the public bicycle repair stand.
Then there are the extracurriculars, like drawings for cash and prizes for employees who bike to work, reimbursement for race or charity ride entry fees, and hands-on maintenance classes, hosted several times a month, taught by a local bike shop. And I’m sure you won’t be shocked to learn Facebook puts tons into the social aspects of biking, like:
- An employee bike club
- A company-wide bike ambassador program
- A bike-related online community for interested employees
- Recreational bike rides for employees and guests
- Bike challenges and contest throughout the year (500+ employees participated in the 2018 Love to Ride Bike Challenge)
- A bike themed happy hour
- Company-branded jerseys and other bike related gear offerings
- The annual Bike to Work Day celebration
Next up: Inside the office, employees will soon be treated to a bike parts vending machine that is totally free (naturally!) for employees to use. Whatever the barrier to biking may be, Facebook strives to move its employees beyond it with high class facilities, generous incentives, and a growing community of enthusiasts.
Need help developing bike programs at your company? Bikes Make Life Better is dedicated to helping large organizations use bikes for healthy sustainable transportation. They’ve helped companies like Salesforce, Airbnb, Stripe, Pembroke Real Estate, LinkedIn and many others shift to bikes.