This is a Whitepages Culture Focus. Main content by CEO Rob Eleveld, and other employee contributors.
May is Washington’s Bike Everywhere Month. We are honoring the occasion by learning more about the different ways our employees commute to work. Here is Part 1 of a two-part series.
A couple of times a week, I enter a little community that most Seattleites don’t even know exists, even though that community is right under their noses. The community is tight-knit, tends to grow or shrink depending on the season, but is always there. It’s really hard to even notice it, let alone relate to it, unless you are literally in it – on two wheels, under your own power.
Bike Commuters are an eclectic bunch: some hardcore racers, some mountain bikers, many on hybrids, and a mix of gear from cutting edge to street clothes and everything in between. But make no mistake, it’s a natural community on the road. It’s almost an understood state of mind – a breathing organism six or eight bikes in length – waiting at the Mercer-Dexter light, or sluicing through the narrow cross-walks on the Fremont Bridge, or weaving through students on the Burke along the UW campus stretch.
I started biking downtown to work six years ago after a bike-to-school day at Bryant Elementary with my daughter. I target riding in twice a week, rain or shine, when I’m not traveling. I came to Whitepages nearly four years ago, which was a big boost to my bike commute in the following ways: a) optimal Central Business District location; b) racks in the office and in the parking garage, and c) a shower room one floor above our offices.
My commute is about 40 minutes from Ravenna, almost exactly an hour all-in with a shower. It’s always a good week when I get in my two commute days. And as the days get longer and the weather warms up, it gets better every week. (And If you know the ride along Dexter, across the Fremont Bridge, and then along the Burke past Gasworks Park and UW, you also know that it takes me quite conveniently past Fremont Brewing. I’ve been known to make a pit stop.)
Most importantly, we have a solid piece of that bike commuter community right in the Whitepages Seattle office. There’s that shared glance at rain pelting the windows of our 16th floor office in the late afternoon and what’s left unsaid, “Gonna be a wet ride home.” There’s talk of different rims for the winter rain; benefits of clip pedals; why go with LED lights in the dark winter months; the joy of a morning ride with a bright sunrise. Basically, we have a microcosm of that tight-knit community out on Seattle’s streets on two wheels right at our office, and I love being a part of it.
See you on the road!
Our other bikers travel shorter distances, over hills, or even up to 10 miles each way. The Seattle weather can be tough, but Kurt Weiss in Strategic Accounts bikes rain or shine! Software Engineering Manager Mike Spiz tries to do the same: “I use an e-bike and a normal commuter [bike] depending on my mood and the weather. Most of the time I manage to luck out with the rain by timing the commute correctly. My alternative is carpooling or bus,
Our VP of Sales Will Wyatt also bikes no matter the weather and may keep an extra pair or two of socks in his desk drawer: “One pair of dress socks,
Whitepages fully supports employees in the quest for the reduction of commuter traffic, which is attributed to our U.S. office locations in both Seattle and New York City. Seattle-based employees are eligible to receive an ORCA card to meet their transportation needs. The ORCA card is one size fits all and provides access to unlimited trips on Metro, Sound Transit, Community Transit and Kitsap County bus systems, as well as the Sounder train and LINK Light Rail System. In New York, employees choose the method that is most efficient in getting them to and from work (bus/subway/train) and receive reimbursement for purchased passes. For bicyclists, Whitepages also provide bike racks in our office space and free access to secured storage in the building’s parking garage.
However our employees get to the office, they arrive ready and willing to work hard, continuing our mission to utilize DATA FOR GOOD.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week, where we share stories from our employees who walk, take the bus, and other forms of public transit!