Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I'll admit that the whole idea of Widget Awareness Week and National Fnord Day is a little silly, but May is alternatively Bike to Work Month or Bicycle Commuter Month or just plain Bike Month or what have you, with either last Friday, this Friday, or Next Friday described as "Bike to Work Day."

Raleigh America, my employer, will be participating in the Cascasde Bicycle Club's Group Health Commute Challenge, as well as a bike commuter dealio called the Rush Hour Revolution.

The conclusion of all of this -- My Clubman and I will be out there, rattling across the rough roads of Tacoma, even if I question my sanity as I ask my strangly sore and swollen fingers and toes why they're doing this. (Here's hoping I don't have some kind of strange infection of doom.)

If there's one thing I would ask of you to do, it's -- hrm, no, the ONE thing I'd ask you to do is get on your bike.

The SECOND thing I'd ask you to do, though, is this: Ride your bike to work on Friday, May 15th, and send a quick note to Starbucks about the Bike to Work day that they sponsor.

You see, even though SBUX pays some tax-deductible advocacy cash to the CBC, which is cool, what they do not actually do much to support people commuting by bike to work at Starbucks.

Yep, I worked at the large, Seattle-based coffee corporation for a time, and rode my bike to work there. There was indeed a bike rack in front of the store I spent the most time at, but that's because the strip-mall complex in which the SBUX was located decided to install racks at regular intervals throughout the complex. Huzzah for them.

But most Starbucks don't have bike racks, and when I asked "Mission Review," a sort of internal ethics helpline, about the matter, they suggested that they'd looked into it and found that each "staple" rack would cost the company $80-something, plus installation, which wouldn't be too bad, since Starbucks has in-house facilities staff.

Decisions to install the racks, though, were not something they were willing to make. Contact your local district manager and facilities coordinator, blah blah blah. Each lease is unique, location, blah blah blah.

Nonsense, Starbucks. Nonsense. Bike racks are cheap, easy, Hollywood Video can hack it, you can. I get that SBUX's within larger office buildings might not have control over their own sidewalks, but there's no reason at all that that company cannot have, as a policy, that a bike rack be installed at each Starbucks where it is feasible. Say, each location in which there is outdoor seating available.

It'd be a good start. After that, of course, having some kind of locker space available to keep my bag and stuff would've been nice (everyone's clothing and jackets were just lumped in a pile in a corner,) not to mention that I had to change in the single bathroom available to both employees and customers, but, so it goes.

Anyway, I know most companies in corporate America haven't jumped on the bikes-are-awesome bandwagon. But Starbucks gives it some lip service and a bit of wallet service. The CEO is pictured in Starbucks cycling jerseys, fer Merckxsake!

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