Well, everything, of course. Maybe bikes weren’t the first thing that jumped to mind, but the two make a pretty great combination. Both make you feel good. Chocolate, like exercise, stimulates endorphin production and gives you a feeling of pleasure. Both are good for your health. Chocolate (dark chocolate especially) helps keep the heart running well, lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol. The health benefits of biking are obvious. Plus, nothing beats a chocolate bar after a long ride.
Theo Chocolate has just completed another great combination of bikes and chocolate. And no, you can’t eat it. Theo Chocolate has just put the final touches on a new covered bike parking structure for employees. The structure’s beauty lies in its simplicity. Metal poles create the support and a tarp from Grainger provides the cover on top. Racks from Sportworks Northwest complete the picture. Easy, right? Often, the price of covered bike parking is a barrier. But Theo was able to keep costs low through creative planning and by using materials lying around the factory.
Previously, employees’ bikes were left in the loading area inside the factory. While this arrangement had worked well for cyclists, the bikes blocked the loading dock and made it difficult for people to do their job. To address the issue, a group of bicyclists formed a committee and started hunting for a new parking solution. The hardest part of the whole process was finding a suitable location. There was no room inside the factory. They could not use the neighboring building’s spacious bike cage. The committee toyed with a couple of outdoor locations before deciding to place the racks near the employee entrance at the back of the building. Once installed, the racks sat uncovered for several months before the structure was completed.
When I visited on a cloudy day last week, 6 bikes were parked to the racks. The racks can hold 16 bikes, and more can be locked to the metal posts and remain covered. At capacity, the structure could accommodate roughly 40% of Theo’s 55 employees. Nathan Royston, a cyclist and one of the committee members, said that he expects the parking to fill up over the summer. “More people bike now that there is a place to park their bikes,” Nathan said. Hopefully more businesses that need bike parking on a budget can follow Theo Chocolate’s example!