Would you bike to work more often if your employer subsidized the cost of a brand new bike? The Standing Stone Brewing Company, in Ashland, Oregon, is betting the answer is yes. On August 26th the brewery launched "RPM Club," a program that gives a free bike to any employee who pledges to make 45 two-wheeled commutes within a year after receiving the gift. Employees only become eligible for the program after 1,000 hours of work, so anyone angling for a free bike sans work responsibilities need not apply.
So far, the RPM club has been a raging success. Seventeen people (almost a third of the employees) signed up immediately for the program, and other businesses in the area are now considering starting up their own RPM clubs thanks to local press coverage of Standing Stone's initiative. The program isn't even costing Standing Stone all that much, as the State of Oregon offered up a Business Tax Energy Credit that covers 35% of the cost of the bikes. And in a small town, the marketing value of the free bike program is priceless.
RPM clubs don't make much sense, say, for large companies in suburban settings where biking to work on the highway is impossible. But for local brew pubs like Standing Stone, it's brilliant.
The RPM club is just a small part of Standing Stone's quest to achieve carbon neutrality. The pub serves local, organic food, offers compostable to-go containers, and has a 4.2 kW rooftop solar panel.