This week is Bike to Work Week in Vancouver and startups are hopping on.
In particular, local tech anchor Hootsuite is paving the way in Vancouver for a startup-centric culture of biking to work.
Despite the city’s rainy climate, Vancouver is one of North America’s most bicycle-friendly cities, with dedicated lanes throughout the downtown core and beyond, enabling swift and efficient two-wheeled commutes. At Hootsuite, a company of more than 700 employees, cycling to work is commonplace, partly because it’s ingrained in their culture.
In 2012, Kian Khoshnevis wrote about how Hootsuite’s headquarters “looked more like a used bike shop” than a tech company’s head office.
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“Our demographic is young, active and socially conscious and I think those things all come together to make a great fit,” Simon Stanlake, Hootsuite’s vice president of technology, told Khoshnevis.
A culture this naturally embedded can only start at the top. Hootsuite and cycling is no exception. Founder and chief executive officer Ryan Holmes is an avid cyclist himself. In fact, Holmes rode in the UBC Grand Prix in 2012 and clocked one of the fastest lap times.
“Cycling to work is encouraged at Hootsuite, and it shows,” Holmes told Techvibes this week. “Our secured bike-parking space is packed with hundreds of bikes every day.”
But why, exactly? After all, it’s not like Hootsuite’s growth is affected by whether its employees bike or drive to work. Or is it? Holmes suggests that active staff members may perform better at work.
“I like the way riding a bike makes me feel,” Holmes explained to Techvibes. “I’m a firm believer that the body fuels the mind, so I encourage our staff to fuel their own minds by riding.”
70 employees at Hootsuite registered for Bike to Work Week, the most (by far) of any tech firm with Vancouver offices—more, even, than companies like SAP Canada, which has twice as many employees in the region.
“We take a lot of pride in how many of our staff choose to bike to work,” Holmes said.