Biking to work could be a dream. Riding in the open air, avoiding bumper to bumper traffic, and arriving to work refreshed from morning exercise. In theory it’s ideal but in reality many businesses cannot accomodate cycling commuters on their workforce — and that’s where HUB comes in.
Formerly the Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, HUB is a non-profit society in Metro Vancouver that provides encouragement, education, and celebration of cycling for happier and healthier communities. They host Bikes to Work and Bike to School programs, lead workshops, and provide Streetwise Cycling Courses. According to HUB, 60% of the population are interested in using cycling to get around but hasn’t tried it yet. Their latest initiative is providing Bikeability Assessments for businesses.
“We’re kind of excited about it,” said Lisa Slakov, Local Committee Chair for Vancouver/UBC. “It came out of the fact that over time, when we’ve been doing education classes or working on different issues, periodically people would say ‘do you know of anything or do you guys have anything just to help us figure out what we need to do with our building in terms of making it more bike friendly?’.”
Over the last year or so HUB has been working with coming up with their assessment plan for businesses. “We not only do the buildings, we also do the workplace,” Lisa added. “What do you offer for your employees? Do you offer anything in your orientation package? Do you offer any kind of financial incentives for getting to work by bike or other forms of active transportation?”
“You may not think it’s important to have a shower or change area but that could be the critical tipping point that allows people to choose a different way of commuting to work.”
HUB also works with schools in more of an education capacity, hosting cycling celebrations and offering training for kids.
With businesses and building owners, it’s about education, problem solving, improving employee relationships, and promoting a healthy workplace. Lisa told me that there are many reasons why businesses should feel encouraged to promote cycling to work and HUB helps them get their head around how they’ll move in that direction.
When it comes to cycling being more widely adopted for commuting, and not just leisure, Lisa says the momentum exists in Vancouver. “It’s just a question of continuing to push it. [Cycling] isn’t weird, it’s mainstream and this is they way it’s going in so many parts of the world.” HUB offers memberships for individuals, families, and organizations that includes workshops, deals, and the added bonus of showing your support for cycling in your community.
You can find HUB on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about community events and bike-related happenings around town. HUB is also looking for more businesses to participate in their Bikeability Assessments, particularly in Surrey.