The web giant wants its staff to be fit and lively and so has 'done an Ikea' and has provided staffers with a catalogue from which they can choose free bikes and kit. The eco- and health-conscious largesse is for Europe, Africa and the Middle East only, Google staffers in America can go whistle...One wonders when Google--purportedly supportive of bike commuting--will provide a similar bike perk to its employees in the U.S.
At Christmas, the UK arm of Ikea gifted all 9000 staffers with free folding bikes, sourced by Raleigh UK from a factory in Eastern Europe.
Now Raleigh Germany has done a deal with Google to offer bikes of all shapes and sizes to Google staff across Europe. All the bikes will be branded with the Google logo. (Read more.)
I don't think the primary obstacle to bike commuting is lack of bicycles. A primary challenge is the way employers in the U.S. encourage their staff to drive, by locating facilities in sprawling office parks far from transit and absorbing the cost of providing free parking. (Parking costs include land, construction, maintenance, security, and lighting.) It's amazing--and sad--that these same employers often vigorously resist creating bicyclist-supporting facilities (bike racks, showers, lockers, etc.) One automobile space could be converted to create parking for 10-12 bicycles.
Bike promotion activities by major employers such as Google could greatly help foster a more bicyclist-friendly U.S. The benefits to employers of increased bike commuting are many, including reduced medical costs, improved employee health, reduced absenteeism, improved productivity, and reduced parking costs.
Employee demand for enhanced bike facilities at work can often yield results. I encourage you to raise the issue with your employer. If you have a supportive employer, I'd like to hear about it.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips