Last month, Bell Flight, which was recently designated a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business in our Summer round of awards, hosted its inaugural Bike to Work Day. The event, hosted in Fort Worth, Texas, had over 24 riders, hundreds in attendance for a breakfast rally and featured many local organizations and leaders, like former Mayor Price who participated in the ride and engaged in conversations on how to make the Fort Worth community more bike-friendly. To learn more about what made Bell’s Bike to Work Day a success we had a Q&A session. Read on for more!
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Q. How did the idea to host a Bike to Work Day at Bell Flight come about?
A. Bell’s idea to start hosting Bike to Work Day happened organically as a collaboration between Bell’s “Health and Wellness Community” employee resource group (ERG) with over 400 members and a company bicycle club with over 100 cyclists. Our Health and Wellness Community hosts events throughout the year focused on physical, mental, and nutritional stability.
Q. Did hosting the event require getting support or buy-in from upper management? If so, how did you get it? Any advice for getting upper management on board?
A. Successfully hosting a robust event like this always requires getting buy-in from senior leadership. Proposing this event as a collaboration between the ERG and bicycle club and making our breakfast rally open to every single employee at Bell made it an easy sell to leadership – this was an inclusive event celebrating health and wellness. At Bell, each ERG is “championed” by an Executive Leadership Team member, so we had a direct line of communication to key decision-makers while planning Bike to Work Day which ultimately led to not only increased participation but also increased financial support from the company.
Q. Who else was involved internally in making the day a success?
A. Besides the Health and Wellness Community ERG and Bell Bicycle Club, numerous groups had to work together to make Bike to Work Day a huge success: Security, Communications, Facilities, and Human Resources.
Q. What part of the event did participants seem to enjoy the most? Your favorite part?
A. We had over 240 breakfast tacos and lots of hot coffee waiting for us to celebrate a successful end of trip – who doesn’t love free food?! Personally, my favorite part of the day was seeing the diverse group of cyclists that showed up to participate. Whether you are a hardcore cyclist or someone who just enjoys taking a stroll around the neighborhood, Bike to Work Day is about showing just how doable and fun active transportation can be. We had people utilize multimodal routes with a train and bike combination, ride in from their houses, and drive in from across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to join at our designated “Park and Ride” station.
Q. Any new ideas or lessons learned that you’ll use to make your next Bike to Work Day even better?
A. We will start our communication campaign to keep employees informed of the event details earlier next year. Now that we have the playbook down of how to physically make the event happen, more of our focus will go to event awareness and advertising.
Q. What has been the greatest benefit from partnering with local leaders and organizations like BikeDFW?
A. The best part about partnering with local leaders and organizations such as BikeDFW, Fort Worth Bike Sharing, and former Fort Worth Mayor (and huge cycling advocate) Betsy Price is the discourse that naturally happens about how we can further advocate for cycling in our local communities. The event is then bigger than just Bell or any of those organizations themselves – it becomes a catalyst for positive change in the places we work and live. After the workday, employees rode back to the “park and ride” location which was a local brewery, Turning Point Beer – that sort of collaboration never hurts participation!
Q. What is your biggest piece of advice for larger companies looking to host their own Bike to Work Day?
A. Make it easy by planning safe routes that are feasible distances for all levels of cyclists to participate – a “park and ride” solution enabled us to be inclusive of way more employees than just expecting people to find their own way to work. Opening the breakfast celebration to the entire company rather than just those participating in the ride was also key – we had countless employees come to breakfast who committed to participating in the ride next year after seeing it was possible.
Q. Anything else you want to share with us about the day?
A. When you’re planning a Bike to Work Day, try to engage with your local organizations. Not only does it make the event more fun, but it creates momentum for cycling advocacy and community engagement that lasts well beyond that day.
When Bicycle Friendly America participating organizations collaborate with local bike advocacy groups, everyone wins. We asked BikeDFW how working with Bell Flight on its Bike to Work Day aligned with their mission to get more people on bikes:
“BikeDFW is thrilled to have been asked to join Bell Flights Bike to Work Day, and we were asked to set up our booth and be available to share information with the Bell community,” says Heather McNair, president of BikeDFW. “Organizations and cyclists working together is a big key to increasing bike friendliness across the region. We are stronger together and can make our voice heard. I think as much as anything else, it is imperative that we share with businesses what our needs are as cyclists, and how much more we patronize businesses that have bike parking, and appreciate our business! For larger businesses, we love working with the employees in coming up with ways that the business can meet their needs also. Bell has gone above and beyond to really address so many of the necessities that exist for their employees to be able to ride, and clearly recognize the benefit that it brings to their employees, and the business also.”
We hope to see more Bicycle Friendly America participants teaming up to make Bike to Work Days great!