IKEA gives bikes to employees is what I read about today in an e-mail forwarded from a work friend. A lot of my friends at work now send me information like this, since they know me as a de facto "bike guy" around here.
The news release states: "It's been a good year for IKEA, so what better way to celebrate our success than to thank our IKEA co-workers who made this happen. Our big reveal today will be a fun day as we unload 12,400 new bikes at IKEA US locations. This is our way of saying 'thanks IKEA co-workers for being strongly committed to working together.' We hope this bike will be taken in the spirit of the season while supporting a healthy lifestyle and everyday sustainable transport," commented Mike Ward, IKEA US President.
This is encouraging, as the press release then says: Why a bike? Because when it comes to sustainable transport, a bicycle is a great option. And when it comes to healthy living, riding a bike is one of the best cardio forms of exercise. Here are some facts.
•Bicycling is an excellent cardio-vascular exercise, which promotes heart health. Just like in any other aerobic workout, bicycling makes your heart pump harder. Also blood circulation increases and eventually, your resting heart rate will decrease. (Helium.com; Benefits of Bicycling by Erich Rosenberger M.D.)
•On average, commuting 10 miles a day by bike in 30 minutes, instead of driving a car burns 110,250 calories (keeping off 30 pounds of fat each year). (Sources: Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, RailstoTrails.org, Fitsugar.com, Adultbicycling.com
•Cycling just 20 miles a week can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. (Sources: Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, RailstoTrails.org, Fitsugar.com, Adultbicycling.com
•Countries with the highest levels of cycling and walking generally have the lowest obesity rates. (Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia)
This is all good stuff. I just hope the bicycles and potential bicyclists get the support they need to make those changes.
Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, the bikes do appear a little less-than-thrilling componentry-wise and they are probably the least expensive option to build and still call it a "bike". They appear to be heavy steel frames with low end components like shifters, derailleurs, and brakes. Which means they may not be the proper equipment to inspire a new rider into riding. A bike that is hard to pedal, impossible to shift, and problematic to stop, is not confidence-inspiring to those long off the saddle. But I suppose IKEA, who has thrived by making cheap furnishings available to the masses may be able to make cycling available to their employees.
I'm not a "hater" for stuff like this - let's just hope it takes off with other employers.
I wonder too if the employees will still get their typical (fiscal) year-end bonuses..?