Dero: Strong Bike Culture is Core Value of Bicycle Friendly Business

What makes Dero a bike friendly business? To us, bike friendliness is innate to our existence: we’re a company of passionate bike riders who take immense pride in designing and producing high-quality bike parking and public bicycle repair amenities for other bicyclists. But our bike friendly identity goes deeper than just the products we create, it stems from our absolute love for bikes and the culture surrounding our bike-centric lifestyles. Let’s take a minute to deconstruct why Dero has earned its Gold level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) status, and how our strong culture of biking is integral to our bike-friendly outlook and the work we do.  

By people who bike, for people who bike

At our core, Dero is a company of bicyclists who believe in the value of bicycles as transportation and the infrastructure needed to sustain it. In 1995, Dero founders Derk and Rolf (De + Ro = DeRo, get it?), identified a need in the existing bicycling infrastructure and founded the company to meet it. “Bike racks weren’t functional for u-locks. There’s gotta be a way to make a bike rack that’s u-lock compatible and somewhat decent,” remembers Rolf. “Believe it or not, no one was doing that back then.” In the 21 years that followed, we’ve made it our mission to design bike racks, shelters, lockers, street design elements, and public bicycle repair amenities that fit the needs of everyday bicyclists like ourselves. Our products are simply an extension of the bicycling culture of our staff.  

Going beyond the commute

The vast majority of our Minneapolis, MN office staff bikes to work or uses active forms of multimodal transportation on a year round basis. That’s right, we don our favorite balaclavas to survive the -35º windchills of polar vertices in winter and we savor the sticky, sunny, sweltering days during mid-summer heatwaves. Although we hardly need it, Dero offers plenty of encouragement for us to eschew driving to work. Employees who ride receive daily and monthly benefits for their commutes, and we have a friendly inter-office competition to see who can log the most miles on their cumulative commutes. Best of all? Being a leading manufacturer of bike parking means we have top-notch bicycle storage facilities in which we park our two-wheeled steeds. As a bike friendly company, we also believe in leading by example, which is why we worked in conjunction with the Alternative Transportation Department at the University of Minnesota to develop Dero ZAP. Dero ZAP provides the hardware and back-end programming tools so businesses and organizations can better manage their commuter wellness programs. Through an easy to navigate web-based application, commuters can track their miles ridden, gallons of gas saved, and be entered to win rewards based on their commuting frequency. Universities, municipalities, and even large corporations have adopted their own versions of Dero ZAP to grow and promote their commuting programs. All users have to do is register once and ride!  

A national outlook on bicycle advocacy education

We (humbly) consider ourselves experts on bike parking–“bike parking nerds” if you will. Our goal is to spread our expertise across the country and demonstrate that #BikesMeanBusiness by using quality bicycle parking to attract and retain customers. So far in 2016, we lobbied our local legislatures in Minnesota and took to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as a sponsor of the League’s National Bike Summit. To us, bike friendliness extends beyond our family of Dero staff to the diverse bicycling culture being embraced by so many folks. We also recognize getting more people riding bikes won’t happen through policy alone. It’s hard not to constantly shout praises of quality bike infrastructure wherever we go, so we’ve partnered with local and regional advocacy organizations who help us broadcast and amplify the educational resources we have available to bike communities across the country. From our 21 years of creating quality bicycle infrastructure, we’ve amassed an impressive library of resources, ranging from our popular Bike Parking Guide, to our Dero Fixit World Map, to a blog series detailing the ins-and-outs of different applications for bicycle racks and amenities.  

Looking toward the future of bicycle infrastructure

What will bike infrastructure and bicycle parking look like 10, 15, or 20 years from now? And how will Dero contribute to a culture of bike friendliness? In the immediate sense, our goal is simple: provide secure bike parking. But we recognize the necessity for broader analysis of how bicycling infrastructure impacts and molds the communities in which it’s placed. At Dero, our strong bike culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and we take seriously the need for intersectionality to inform how we incorporate equity and inclusivity into our long-term vision to help serve those who bike. The love for riding our bikes is what drives us, and we hope Dero’s commitment to quality bike parking enables others to share in the same joyful experience.