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Organizers seek employers’ backing for ‘Bike to Work’

NNBW staff

Three working moms en route to their county jobs via bicycle made the local TV news last year on Bike to Work day. This year Washoe County and a trio of companies hope to generate more hoopla for the day, which falls on May 17. Info is online at bikenevada.org.

“We’re trying to focus on improved air quality,” says Duane Sikorski, supervisor for air quality planning and monitoring at the Washoe County District Health Department, Air Quality Management Division.

“The air quality division just got behind Bike to Work day last year in January,” says Sikorski. “It was a lot more successful than we thought.”

The county contributed a bike for the raffles conducted by companies that encouraged their employees to employ peddle power. Meanwhile, area bike and sport shops donated prizes to be raffled to riders.

This year, to get the word out, the Bike To Work Committee will staff a table at a Nevada Museum of Art First Thursday event sponsored by Tour de Nez.

A trio of major employers are having a second run at the day. Last year 35 to 40 employees arrived via peddle power at International Game Technology on Bike to Work day.

For their efforts, they were fed bagels, coffee and juice upon arrival, and entered in prize drawings. This year IGT will offer more and bigger prizes, says Heidi Littenberg, marketing services supervisor.

The company promotes the day to employees via emails and flyers, says Rick Sorensen, manager, public relations.

With outdoor and indoor walking paths, plus a holiday weight loss program that rewards those who don’t gain weight, this is just one event in a suite of healthy behavior incentives, says Jeff Crozier, who manages the company’s health and wellness program.

Karen Ross, community relations manager at Sierra Pacific Power Company, says, “The inaugural year, our employees really got behind it” with about 50 peddlers.

Riders entered a raffle for bike-related prizes such as bags and socks. And, for employees who lived too far away to commute by bike, the company organized a lunchtime ride.

The benefits to the company, she says, include employee health, clean environment and bicycle safety.

At Renown Health, Alexia Bratiotis, public relations business partner, says employees are told of Bike to Work Day via a company newsletter and its Intranet. Last year, about 25 employees who arrived on bikes were treated to refreshments.

The county also hopes to launch a bicycle safety initiative, “Share the Road, Share the Responsibility.” At IGT, three employees have been involved in bike accidents, says Littenberg.

Private companies have donated $15,000 to the safety campaign, says Sikorsi, which allowed the county to extend the run of its cinema ads promoting bike safety.