Rackspace Culture: Annual San Francisco Bike-B-Q

Once you’ve got a decent number of bike riders and an award-winning bike workshop and bike parking area, what do you do next? A Bike-B-Q, of course. I can’t take credit for this idea, but it’s worked out quite well for us so far to further our bike-friendly culture at the Rackspace San Francisco office (SFO).

The basic idea is this: everybody bikes from the office to a picnic, as part of one or more packs. There’s a seasoned city rider who knows the route well at the beginning and at the end of the pack, so nobody gets left behind. And we’ve got a safety briefing beforehand to remind people about the rules of the road in SF for bikes.

There’s a certain art to finding a route because you want to avoid hills and unsafe intersections. I have no problem climbing any hill in San Francisco, but the people who aren’t accomplished riders are going to be unhappy if they end up walking uphill for most of the route. In San Francisco, we’ve got the Wiggle, which is a magical perfectly flat route across the city, so we’ve used that in the past.

Other than that, it’s an office picnic, room for a game of football, slacklining, Calvinball, or lawn darts. Usually there will be a few people who will drive some of the picnic gear there, but we’ve usually had a decent pack of people biking all the way there.

Riding in a pack is more fun than riding alone. You can support each other as you push up hills, watch out for cars together and relax a bit more than you do when you ride alone. It’s a great way to get people to realize, after biking all of the way across San Francisco, that it’s not as hard as they thought it was. Or that riding in the city on the streets is not nearly as bad as it might look from the sidewalk. It’s always great to see a few more bikes parked in our facility after an event like this.

Photos by Nathan Jordan

Ken is a software development manager in Rackspace's San Francisco office. He works to make the cloud better through new services and features. He’s worked on cloud monitoring as a service and is in the process of developing exciting new features for the Rackspace Open Cloud. He’s also “the bike guy,” responsible for making Rackspace’s San Francisco office an award-winning bicycle-friendly work place.


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