bike sharing

Unique IKEA Bonus

SFGateAs employees around the country and world received end-of-year bonuses this year, Swedish company IKEA prepared a rather unique gift.  US employees each received their own bicycle from the company.  The bike is not branded by IKEA, however it was delivered in the same fashion as other IKEA products: with a traditional instruction booklet in a small box, entirely in pieces requiring user assembly. “We hope this bike will be taken in the spirit of the season while supporting a healthy lifestyle and everyday sustainable transport,” said Mike Ward, IKEA US President.  Sarah Gilbert of WalletPop has suggested that the gift will be beneficial to the employees as well as the employer.  A healthy lifestyle will lead to less health-related costs borne by IKEA and more productive personnel.  She widely supports the gesture, as do most.

However, as some commenters have noted, these bikes are already showing up on Craigslist and eBay.  The one I found is being sold for $99 – perhaps the money is more valuable to some this season than a long term investment in health and sustainability.

-Terra Curtis

Unique IKEA Bonus

SFGateAs employees around the country and world received end-of-year bonuses this year, Swedish company IKEA prepared a rather unique gift.  US employees each received their own bicycle from the company.  The bike is not branded by IKEA, however it was delivered in the same fashion as other IKEA products: with a traditional instruction booklet in a small box, entirely in pieces requiring user assembly. “We hope this bike will be taken in the spirit of the season while supporting a healthy lifestyle and everyday sustainable transport,” said Mike Ward, IKEA US President.  Sarah Gilbert of WalletPop has suggested that the gift will be beneficial to the employees as well as the employer.  A healthy lifestyle will lead to less health-related costs borne by IKEA and more productive personnel.  She widely supports the gesture, as do most.

However, as some commenters have noted, these bikes are already showing up on Craigslist and eBay.  The one I found is being sold for $99 – perhaps the money is more valuable to some this season than a long term investment in health and sustainability.

-Terra Curtis

Crowd-Sourced Infrastructure

Boris Bikes Chilworth Muse When I lived in San Francisco, I used the San Francisco Bike Coalition’s form for requesting bicycle racks from the City.  During that time, the City was under an injunction barring it from installing any new bicycle-related facilities, but the data was still useful for planning efforts.  Now that the injunction has been lifted, the City is seeing the benefits of collecting that citizen-sourced data through the online form and its mobile phone app, Cycle Tracks. London’s Cycling Campaign is providing a similar service to cyclists and would-be-cyclists by hosting a website for reporting locations in need of secure cycle parking.  In London, the new “Boris Bikes” bike-sharing program has seen tremendous success – so much so that outer-rim residential areas are completed depleted of bikes in the morning, as is the central city in the evening.  London Cycling Campaign argues that, with the correct provision of secure bike parking, people would be encouraged to ride their own bicycles to work, alleviating the management costs from shuttling Boris Bikes back and forth all day.

Crowd sourcing is not a new idea, but this application is encouraging for cyclists specifically.  More importantly, it’s encouraging that the state is using technology to improve its response to citizen feedback.

-Terra Curtis