As March rolls in, so do the applications for the Bike-Friendly Business Program in Carrboro. The program is relatively new, created by a bicycle advocacy group named the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition.
The program’s purpose is to recognize businesses that encourage cycling in the community. There are many ways and varying degrees by which the businesses can get involved. Several businesses are already enlisted in the program and have expressed their satisfaction with it and reasons for continuing to be bike friendly.
“We applied for the program in our first year of business,” said Andrew Scharfenberg, 26, the Logistics Czar for the Steel String Brewery. “We’ve been in the bicycle friendly program since this past year and will apply every year onward.
“We’re focused on continuing to encourage employees to bike into work or walk if possible,” said Scharfenberg, who is also a cyclist and will benefit from making the business more bike friendly.
“I ride my bike around town when the weather is nice,” said Scharfenberg, “I’ve installed a hoist for my bike in the back which keeps it dry and un-stolen overnight in the business.”
Scharfenberg added, “I expect to see more bike racks, more incentives like one dollar off programs for people who bike in and don’t take up parking and ways to keep your bike dry while visiting a business.”
“I have a four-bike rack right outside the business, but in the spring and summer that gets tight. There is another bike rack which fits at least 15 (bikes) but it is hardly used because it is in the far corner of the property and near a bus stop,” said Scharfenberg.
“It seems lazy for cyclists to not park their bikes and walk 50 yards to the business, but I think being able to look out and see your bike is a comforting feeling, especially when so many people have so much money tied up in their bikes.”
Valecia Jones, the Director of Operations for the PTA Thrift Shop in Carrboro, said only a few words on the matter. “We have bike racks. We have the bike ramp,” said Jones, “And we have great prices.”
Another business that is bike-friendly is Southeastern Camera, which has been recognized as a part of the program for over a year now.
Manager Chris Johnson said, “We don’t own the space, but we’ve never heard any complaints about our bike racks being full.”
Southeastern Camera rents their business space and is limited in their ability to physically modify it.
“We already had a bike rack,” said Johnson, “We have a couple of employees here that live close by and they ride their bikes so we’re happy that they do that. Beyond that, I’d say we haven’t made any other changes.”
According to Johnson, Southeastern Camera has even done some social networking, , advertising that you can ride a bike to their store and park it right out front.
“I definitely support it. I’m not sure how we much we’re doing to encourage it,” said Johnson, “We could probably try to do more.”
Johnson himself rides a bike, but does not ride it to work because he lives twenty miles away.
“[I] just think it’s a great idea for people to ride their bikes more,” Johnson says. “Carrboro’s definitely a friendly town for that. I think it’s good for the community.”
For a printer-friendly version of this story, click here.