An article by Ilana DeBare in the business section of the San Francisco Chronicle hints that cycling as a means of transportation is becoming more accepted and encouraged in certain professional firms. The Emeryville architectural firm, Siegel & Strain, reimburses employees who bicycle to business meetings the same 58.5 cents/mile that it gives employees who drive.
The article quotes Nancy Malone, a principal at the firm, as follows, "It's a really effective way for staff to reduce emissions and encourage good health... Our practice is focused on sustainable design, and we had been looking for ways to walk the walk."
What about meetings involving hardhats and other items which are difficult to carry on a standard bicycle? Malone indicates that Siegel & Strain is approaching the possibilities creatively. "In the future, we may look at having an office bike with attachments allowing people to carry a little more - a new version of the company car."
The article is encouraging, as is a related post in Debare's blog, the Village Green, which presents a list of Bay Area companies offering innovative encouragements designed to get employees on bicycles. One company provides employees with $250 toward the purchase of a bicycle. Another company offers free lunches, movie tickets and even massages as rewards to cyclo-commuters.