I've Got a Bike - You Can Ride it if You Like

SparkFun is supporting regional alternative transportation goals by making biking to work fun!

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Here at SparkFun, we love bikes. On any given day at our headquarters you’ll find big bikes, little bikes, fold-up bikes and tricycles. We even have a couple unicycle riders, for those of you who think two wheels is just one too many. It doesn’t stop there; we also like riding our bikes together!

In fact, SparkFun has participated in the past three years of the National Bike Challenge. This past May, nine of our staff members signed up to track their rides and participate in the event. Those nine individuals logged over 900 miles in 128 riding sessions! That’s a lot of pedaling!

A team that rides together, stays together!

A team that rides together, stays together!

With all this bike activity, we found we were running out of space for people to park their bikes. The space was just not working for our needs, so a small group of SparkFun folks joined together to build out what we have called “The Spoke House”! Our goal for The Spoke House was to create a warm and inviting space that welcomes our staff as they enter the building. We tried to keep the project low-cost by using supplies we already had. In a matter of a few days, we really began to see a transformation!

The Spoke House, before

The Spoke House, before

The Spoke House, after

The Spoke House, after

The bikes are hung from thick plywood planks that are mounted to the studs of the wall. A tool bench is stocked with all the gear needed to fix a flat or change out a bottom bracket. And some creative paint and signage is being installed to brighten up the mood and really tie the room together.

As we continue to iterate on this space, we plan to include more SparkFun electronics in the space, like a sign with interactive spinning gears using a RedBoard and an Ardumoto to bring interactive art installations, and an plan to brighten the space with addressable LEDs, to bring color and excitement to the walls.

Working on some bike repairs

Working on some bike repairs

Our next event is Bike to Work Day, on June 27th. What has your workplace done to support alternative forms of transportation? Tell us in the comments!


Comments 5 comments

  • This is just one of the reasons I love SparkFun. The tutorials/educational materials are what drew me here in the first place, but being utterly jealous of your corporate culture is why I keep coming back.

  • I went to college in southern California where the weather was perfect and (at that time) the roads were wide and empty. I commuted 20 miles a day for 3 years on my bike, which I still have (it’s 43 years old with over 64K miles on it). The dark side, of course, were the cars. I was hit 3 times. Fortunately, the worst damage to me was a scrape that was covered by a large band-aid. The bike needed a new rear wheel.

    I think it’s cool that SF is bike-friendly. The repair shop is especially nice. Sometimes the choice is to limp either home or to your destination. Having a repair shop helps tilt that toward work.

    I see commuter biking as supported on the tripod of safe roads, support facilities at work (parking, repair shop and showers) and a doable ride (one way distance < 15 miles, reasonably flat on the average and good weather). By that criterion, I’m missing 2 of 3 legs where I work now and the 3rd leg is sketchy. Not feeling suicidal, I now do my biking on the weekends on dedicated bike paths where the only hazard is dawdling pedestrians who don’t realize that a lack of cars does not mean a lack of traffic, causing them to spread out all over the bike path.

    Hope your crew has fun.

  • I was fortunate in that I was able to stop by SparkFun and get a tour last fall. Is the “Spoke House” in the space where the display of SparkFun products was when I was there? (I.e., on the right hand side when you’ve just come in through the front door?)

    I, too, admire SF for being so supportive of the employees and the environment. I personally have never been able to ride a two-wheeler due to my physical handicaps, but I still have the three-wheeler I used in college 45 years ago. (It’s predecessor was stolen after I’d had it about a year.)

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