The GrubHub office loves biking to work. A good portion of GrubHub’rs bike to work whenever possible. It’s become a great way to get some exercise into their daily routine while cutting down on their carbon footprint.
During the week of June 12, GrubHub employees participated in the Bike to Work Week Challenge. Sponsored by Chicagoland’s Active Transportation Alliance, the competition encourages all bikers to use their two-wheeled friend to get to work. We recently found out that GrubHub won the 2010 Bike to Work Week award for the 25-99 employee sector in the “Other” category. Congrats to all the GrubHub’rs who peddled their way to work in June!
A special thanks goes to Ellen Tierney, without whose organization and support GrubHub could never have won the award. Ellen, who heads up the data team, is a long time GrubHub employee and biking enthusiast. She is always up for any challenge, including biking the busy streets of Los Angeles to collect restaurant menus for the website. I recently got a chance to chat with Ellen about her experience as an avid bicyclist and was able to get some helpful tips.
1.) How long have you been biking, and when did you first realize your love for biking?
I’ve been biking for as long as I’ve been at GrubHub.com (3 years) since it didn’t matter if I showed up sweaty each day! That’s about when I realized I loved biking because I was able to get to places so much faster and easier. There was no more waiting for buses or trains, plus I was saving money on transportation. I love that it is a great work out, too… way more fun than going to the gym.
2.) On average, how many miles do you bike daily? Do you use your bike to go most everywhere?
At a minimum, I ride about 7 miles a day (to and from work), but depending on my post-work plans, I’ll usually ride to wherever those are, whether it be in the loop or in the suburbs, especially in nice summer weather! I’d say I use my bike to go to the majority of places, I have a basket and a rack on the back of my bike so I can carry a lot of stuff.
3.) Have you had any dangerous encounters on your bike?
I remember [riding in] my first huge snow storm. I was biking home and my back tire started to fish tail because there was so much snow in the bike lane. For the most part I started riding in the tire tracks of cars (in the street, not the bike lane), which was pretty risky since cars were sliding around too. There was so much snow and ice on my bike that my chain skipped the entire way home. But I did make it home safely. I still like to ride in the snow for the challenge! Other dangerous encounters have been when I haven’t unclipped my feet in time and just toppled over into the street. It’s embarrassing and painful, but slightly entertaining if you imagine a biker just slowly falling over because their feet are stuck to their pedals.
4.) Any other care or safety tips for bikers?
An oiled chain goes a long way! If biking in bad weather, it’s key to keep your bike clean to avoid dirt build up or rusting. Also, make sure there is plenty of air in your tires, it makes for a much nicer ride and less chance of getting a flat.
5.) What was it like collecting menus for GrubHub in Los Angeles?
It was WAY more challenging than I expected it to be! Bike lanes are pretty non-existent in LA and drivers aren’t used to seeing bikers on the streets, so there were many close calls. Plus the hills are a lot bigger in LA than they are in Chicago, so just the biking itself was more difficult. I felt horribly exhausted after my full day of biking on Ventura Blvd, but looking back it was a great experience and an awesome way to see the city. I thoroughly enjoyed biking in 70 degree weather in February — compared to my typical February biking in a Chicago winter!
To be honest, if my job could be to bike around all day, every day, I’d do it. So, did I miss my desk? Not so much.
6.) Any final words of advice for people looking to get into biking?
Please wear a helmet when biking and please provide a helmet for your children. And as cool as people think it is to ride through the streets with the wind running through your hair, your favorite 80’s dance mix on your iPod and your headphones blasting, it is a very dangerous distraction for yourself and other bikers. That’s my two cents of safety tips!
Do you have any biking tips? Let us know in the comment section below!