Bikes Are Good for Business: Advocacy on Two Wheels

By Posted in Nerd Culture, New Relic News 18 April 2014

We like bikes(!), and our Portland office is a testament to how well perks for bicyclists can work for both New Relic and its employees. In our San Francisco office you’ll find a barista and a hip soundtrack in the common spaces, which both match the local culture pretty well. In Portland, where over half of our office rode a bike to work at least once last year, in-office bike parking is key to unlocking the local love.

Commuting on Two Wheels

It’s no secret that parking in Portland is expensive and frequently hard to find, and traffic can be terrifying. Given that, our bike perks are hard to overstate — the most time NR-PDX cyclists spend worrying about parking is the minute it takes to ride the elevator and the 30 seconds it takes to hang the bike on a hook next to it before walking a few feet to their desk. When folks come visit our office for community events, they walk past a few dozen bikes on their way into our space. It’s clear that cyclists aren’t second class citizens at New Relic.

Bike Racks

Not only do we want to make it as easy as possible to bike to work, we understand that a bike you’re relying on for your daily commute should be kept in top shape. That’s why New Relic offers free, in-office bike tune-ups for our employees to take advantage of. As anyone will know who’s had to part ways with their main mode of transportation for a service, that’s a godsend.

fixit room copy

BTA’s People’s Choice Award

BTA LogoApparently other folks have been noticing our progressive policies. We drove a hard bargain with our landlords to allow bike access in the building, and now there are several other residents of the building who’ve built out their space with bike parking too (SurveyMonkey and Incom). Most recently, we’ve been nominated for a People’s Choice Alice Award in the annual awards given by local bike advocacy outfit the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

These awards usually feature more community-focused organizations, but this year it’s clear that the theme for People’s Choice (to be decided by popular vote online) is that business is good for bikes, and bike are good for business. We’re up against a local bike shop that sponsors many community events, and a bike bar (built out of bikes, natch) that throws an open-invite bike party every year. It’s a good message to the business community: We enjoy riding bikes and we enjoy spending money!

Supporting Bike Advocacy

The BTA has been crucial to driving this pro-bike message home. Serving Oregon since 1990, their nonprofit has taken a many-pronged approach to advocacy. They advocate in court, in the legislature, in schools (keeping our local Safe Routes to School program running, teaching elementary students about bike safety and street riding), and on the streets by providing volunteers for many local active-transportation focused events (such as Portland Sunday Parkways). New Relic is also a proud corporate sponsor of the BTA!

Hopworks Bike Bar by Will Vanlue

To take an even wider view of the “bikes are good for business” movement, you can just look to the local press. Oregon Business magazine makes a strong argument in this article, and there are more examples in the Portland bike press about the same phenomenon. Luckily, all this work is paying off for businesses, consumers, and employees, as increasingly available bike facilities have been great for the livability of Portland.

Bike Easy, Live Well

So, why do we care about building a bike-friendly Portland? We’ve long been champions of work-life balance (or nerd life balance, as one employee puts it) and actively encourage employees to do the things that bring them joy off the clock. When so many Relics enjoy biking in their spare time, and when bikes help cut out the more grueling parts of their daily commute, supporting our cyclists is a no-brainer. When we moved into our new office last year, the only thing that changed about our bike parking policy is that there was even more space dedicated to it. Now, we’ve run out of room in even our 70-space bike room. As we expand to another floor, there will be even more bike parking!

New Relic Bike Swag

If you’d like to support our mission to make more offices bike-friendly, vote for us for the People’s Choice Award (voting ends on May 31st). We’d also encourage locals to get involved in the BTA by joining or attending some of their events, or starting off slow by breaking that bike out for a commute here and there. As always, enjoy the ride.

*Hopsworks bike bar image courtesy of Will Vanlue.

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