Reduce, reuse and ride cycle 

Function Coffee Bike Program launched to get cars off the road, make Function a funkier place to work

It all started with the sudden appearance of Free Spirit – an old red bike with wheelbarrow-style handles, reverse pedal brakes, and three gears, at the Slope Side Supply warehouse in Function Junction.

An employee had brought the bike to work one day, and the employees, most of whom are avid bikers, immediately fell in love with it.

"They even started staggering their lunch breaks so they could be the one to ride the bike to Millar Creek," said Dave Krasny, one of the co-owners of the Slope Side Supply.

When an employee needed a coffee, Free Spirit was there. When someone needed to drop a letter at the post box, Free Spirit came through.

It didn’t take Krasny and his partner Tony Horn long to notice that when employees took Free Spirit, they left their cars and the company vehicles at the shop.

And the Function Coffee Bike Program was born.

"Our goal is to eventually get 50 bikes. We’ll store them during the winter, then let them loose in Function Junction in April. We can cut our carbon emissions, and make Function a funkier place," said Krasny.

Krasny and Horn are interested in hearing from other businesses in Function Junction that are interested in getting involved, and from anyone in Whistler who has an old but functional bike they would be willing to donate to the program.

The bikes will then be "painted the most obnoxious yellow we can find" so they can be recognized, outfitted with baskets, and made available for all Function employees to grab coffees, go to lunch, and run errands.

"Whatever some people may believe, most of us are busy down here. We might only get half an hour for lunch and no time for breaks. So rather than waste time walking, a lot of people jump in their cars and trucks to drive around Function, because it’s the only option given to them," says Krasny.

"A lot of those people would love to ride, but they don’t want to leave their $5,000 bike leaning against the side of a building when they go somewhere."

In their drive to become a sustainable company, Krasny and Horn found that their company would need to plant about 300 trees a year to offset their annual greenhouse gas emissions.

"There’s no way the Coffee Bike Program is going to offset the carbon from our vehicles, but it’s a start and it’s fun," said Krasny. "I think Function will embrace it."

There are two options for the Coffee Bike Program. The first is to put enough bikes in Function that employees can grab them where they find them and leave them where they end up – and if they are not riding it, then the bike is up for grabs for the next person to come along.

"I like that option. It’s chaotic and you’d be riding these different bikes all of the time. We can have it looking like Holland, except we’re all a little shorter and ride a lot harder," said Krasny.

The other option, and the one that seems more likely to work in the beginning, is that companies who wish to participate will get a handful of bikes to use based on the number of employees they have. That way users will treat the bikes better, and maintain them more regularly, and companies can get their employees more involved.

Riders should bring their own helmets for safety reasons.

To maintain the bikes, Krasny believes it will be easy to get all of the hobby bike mechanics who work in Function to donate some of their time to keep the fleet up and running.

"This isn’t a Slope Side program, it’s a Function program, so we want to get everyone involved," he says.

"When I came here 11 years ago, Function was an industrial park. Now it’s turned into a vibrant, amazing business community. I think most people here get the Whistler concept, and are going to like this program."

The first step is to get the bikes. Right now Krasny has two bikes for the program, including the Free Spirit, and has already had promises for more bikes from a few other businesses that know about the program.

Over the winter, they hope to have at least 20 bikes that are painted and road ready for the spring.

You can drop your old and unused bikes off at Slope Side Supply at #4-1356 Alpha Lake Road in Function Junction, or by calling 604-938-1680. Slope Side drivers will pick up the bikes as they make their deliveries.

Companies in Function that wish to get involved can also call the above number.

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