While we were visiting our friend Kirstin at the Grand Canyon, we had the opportunity to help her with a project she has been working on. What started as a great idea during a leadership program is now a fleet of 30 bikes, almost ready to go into the hands of national park employees at the Grand Canyon. As a serious bike enthusiast and professional mechanic, Jay was perfectly suited to prep the bike fleet with quick release (easily adjustable) seat clamps and racks. I enjoyed serving as Jay’s assistant and test riding the bikes.
In helping with this project I realized how much goes into an employee bike sharing program. From what I can tell, there is only one other employee bike share program within the National Park Service, and that one was installed as a prepackaged service and offered for free as a trial in DC. I don’t remember hearing anything about it when we lived there. Kirstin is ready for the challenge, she has already thought about how to distribute the bikes, finding champions in each division to look after them, and providing the necessary accessories and parts. Add to that the great bike paths around the park, a bike culture and the company town peer pressure of GCNP, and I think this program is going to be a big success. Employees taking the cruisers on beer runs after work probably is going to be the biggest concern.
Where I used to work, they introduced an employee bike sharing program and unfortunately it was not a big success. In our department I was the only one still trying to use the bikes after a few months. There were several issues, primarily: the bikes were not maintained, there was only one person in charge of the bikes and they were at a different building, there were limits placed on usage that made it unrealistic to use one and the bikes were low quality and awkward to ride. I shared my experience with Kirstin and I think they will be able to avoid these pitfalls. I am eager to hear how the program comes along.