Sunpower, Sungevity and Arbor Cafe Win 2012 Bike-Friendly Business Awards

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition announces the winners of the 2012 Bike-Friendly Business Awards: Sunpower, Sungevity and Arbor Cafe.

East Bay Bicycle Coalition Will Honor the Winners on Bike to Work Day May 10


The East Bay Bicycle Coalition (EBBC) announces the winners of its 3rd Annual Bike Friendly Business Awards. Sunpower of Richmond is the winner in the large business category; Sungevity of Oakland is the winner in the medium-size business category; and Arbor Cafe in the Temescal District is the winner in the small business category.

“More and more businesses in the East Bay are promoting bicycle commuting for their employees and their customers,” said Renee Rivera, Executive Director. “Companies like Sungevity have discovered that cycling to work makes their employees healthier, happier and more productive, and they’ve taken innovative steps to encourage bicycle commuting. Not only that, many East Bay retailers are discovering that bicycle commuters are a boon to their bottom lines. Bicycle commuting is good for the planet, good for business, and great for the local economy.”


SunPower’s office in Richmond is among the most bike-friendly in the East Bay. Accessibility for bicycle commuters and proximity to public transportation were key criteria for selecting its current location. SunPower’s CEO and COO are both avid road cyclists, and part of the organization’s culture is to support bicycling. SunPower encourages active participation in Bike to Work Day and Bike to Work Month, sponsoring an Energizer Station and numerous Team Bike Challenge teams. The Richmond office provides showers, lockers, a bicycle tool station, and dedicated indoor parking for bicycle commuters. It maintains a bike loaner program and offers $20 bike Commuter checks to cyclists. For their annual eco-fair, they invite three bicycle-related organizations to participate, and they sponsor events like Turning Wheels for Kids as an employee volunteer day. Through an employee email group, SunPower maintains an active and growing cycling community. EBBC received multiple nominations this year from SunPower employees. One wrote, “The management of this company goes out of its way to accommodate SunPower’s many cyclist commuters. We speak BIKE!”


One theme we saw this year in our Bike-friendly Business award nominations is that alternative-energy companies like Sun Power, Sungevity, and last year’s award winners, Sun, Light & Power, are living up to their mission by providing great support to their employees who bike.  Our Bike-friendly Business award winner in the medium-sized business category is a solar company with over 200 employees located in Oakland’s Jack London Square, a location chosen for its proximity to transit and increasing miles of Oakland’s bikeways.  The founder and president of Sungevity, Danny Kennedy, bikes to work almost everyday from his home, as do at least a third of the companies employees.   

“We appreciate the recognition from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and also appreciate that Oakland is increasingly bike-friendly,” said Danny Kennedy, Sungevity’s Founder and President. The amenities at Jack London are wonderful and there is nothing better than biking to work and having a spin along the waterfront.” How has Sungevity created such a bike-friendly environment?  We heard from dozens of Sungevity employees and many spoke to the company culture where biking is an integral part of a solar-powered, human-powered, “no fossil-fuel” mission.  And Sungevity gets the infrastructure piece right too.  The company provides a 1,200 square foot bike room with enough room for 20% of employees to park at any one time, with showers.  Sungevity also encourages their employees to bike through awards where winning teams get to give $500 to a charity of their choice, Taco Bike lunch days, and bike commute lunchtime workshops. One employee reported that he has biked to work at Sungevity over 400 consecutive workdays.  That may be a record!


This spacious cafe at 42nd & Telegraph is less than a year old but has already been discovered by hordes of people enjoying the Temescal by bike. No doubt they appreciate the many indoor bike racks and delicious coffee delivered every Wednesday by the Bicycle Coffee Company. "We were inspired to install bike racks inside the cafe by other similar establishments such as Actual Cafe (Winner of the 2010 Bike-Friendly Business Award)," says Christopher Marquez, co-owner with his brother Eric of Arbor Cafe.

"About a 3rd of our staff bike to work to the Cafe and I would estimate that at least half of our customers get here by bike," Chris explains. "The only thing I can think of that the City could help with is striping a bike lane on Telegraph Avenue." The Arbor Cafe intends to become even more bike-friendly in the future by applying to install a parklet in front of the cafe with bike racks and offering their space to community groups for meetings in an easily bike-accessible location.
Here at the East Bay Bicycle Coalition we celebrate the most Bike-Friendly businesses in the East Bay every Bike to Work Day.

Each winning company will receive an award certificate from the East Bay Bicycle Coalition recognizing their company as an official “bicycle-friendly business,” as well as great prizes and recognition at the Bay Area's largest Bike Happy Hour Party on May 10, 2012.

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