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Cycling news & info with a special focus on notable bike tours, bike trails, bikeways, lanes and bicycle routes as well as innovative bicycling products like space saving & easy to transport folding bikes.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Google Offers Folding Bikes To 2000 Employees

Google Folding Bikeby Larry Lagarde

On December 15, 2006, I reported that IKEA UK was giving away 9000 folding bikes to employees. Since then, I have been waiting to see which company would be next in line with a similar program; I received the answer today: Google.

Per a story by Mark Sweney in the Guardian Unlimited (website for The Guardian, a full color UK newspaper similar to USA Today), 2,000 of Google's permanent employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be offered bicycles and free bike helmets to commute to work. If every employee accepts Google's folding bike, the total value of bikes and helmets being given away will exceed US $1,400,000.

Google Germany's Holger MeyerAccording to the Guardian, Holger Meyer is the guy behind the idea. One of Google's top marketing guys in Europe, Holger was hired away from Alta Vista (anyone remember that search engine) back in 2001 and has been pivotal in building Google Germany's profitability to one of the best margins in Google's international operations. No doubt it was this track record that convinced Google to give the bike idea a go. (Photo right: Holger Meyer)

When asked about the bike giveaway, Liane Hornsey (Google's human resources director for Europe, Middle East and Africa) said "We try to innovate not just in technology for users but in the benefits we give our employees... (and) think that these amazing bikes will help Googlers keep fit and healthy, get to know their city better and reduce the environmental impact of their journey to work."

Both bikes and helmets will be branded with Google's simple, multi-colored text logo.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Ikea Gives 9000 Employees Folding Bikes For Christmas

Attention Corporate America!

Rather than let rising health care costs continue to erode your profits, follow IKEA UK's lead and give your employees something that will let them cut their commuting costs and become healthier in the process.

For years, IKEA (the Scandanavian furnishings giant) has been giving employees Christmas gifts like DVD players, digital cameras and other electronic gadgets. This year, the company gave something far more practical - folding bikes AND subsidies of 15% for commuting by mass transit.

When asked why IKEA UK chose to give employees folding bikes, IKEA's UK manager (Peter Hogsted) responded: "We want to create a better everyday life for the many and do what we can to make greener living possible. This is both for our co-workers, as well as our millions of customers...The bike is a fun present but there is a serious message. We all have a responsibility to do what we can to protect the environment... That is why we are also going to subsidise our employees who will use public transport to get to work... I am encouraged by the fact that a small step such as this has been widely welcomed... Interested parties ranging from government to NGOs have supported this eco-friendly proposal."

Without a doubt, some IKEA employees will be disappointed that they didn't receive yet another electronic toy; however, others will make full use of their new folding bikes and transit subsidies and will be forever grateful to upper management - not only for helping workers save money commuting but also for inspiring them to be more physically fit. Since bike riding also releases endorphins, these Christmas gifts should also result in a happier, more productive workforce (a fact shareholders will appreciate).

For an in depth article that Carlton Reid of BikeBiz.co.uk wrote on this Christmas story, go to ...

Larry Lagarde
Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better future.

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