American Apparel's Bike Program

The following is a press release from American Apparel, the reason I chose to print it here is that I think it is a wonderful thing and one that should be publicized as much as possible.

Bicycle Program Huge Success In Offering Healthy Transportation Alternative.

Los Angeles (CA) - American Apparel, the largest T-shirt manufacturer in the U.S. launched its Employee Bicycle Program last fall as a transportation solution to the MTA strike, the program's fleet of bicycles offers an alternative for employee commuting. The employee Bicycle Program is a special offering inspired by community bicycle lending programs in Copenhagen and other cities. During the lengthy Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit bus strike, those that relied on the bus to get to work found the bicycles were extremely useful.

American Apparel's bicycle program also plays an important role on the company's environmental outreach, encouraging the reduction of driving among our employees, recognizing that even a five mile commute will result in a car emitting over one hundred pounds of air pollution each year. Any American Apparel employee may apply for the use of one of the bicycles, complete with lock, helmet, and light, at no charge. The company has set-up bike racks in a secure, locked space, and provides free mechanical repairs and monthly checkups to help support the use of the bicycles as an environmental choice for travel.

Bicycling also is a way to encourage employees to get needed exercise. The Center for Disease Control reports despite common knowledge that exercise is important, more than 60 percent of American adults do not exercise regularly. A twenty-minute bicycle commute, at a moderate speed, can burn 280 calories round trip and energize employees when they arrive at work.

Many at American Apparel do not yet have the savings to purchase a car and rely on public transportation or carpooling. The company encourages both of these alternatives and in fact offers discounted monthly bus passes to employees. The bicycles supplement these existing alternatives, offering a choice that many find more efficient with an enjoyable added health benefit.

Even after the strike, many workers who once rode the bus prefer using the bikes. Angel Meza, a sewing supervisor, appreciates the extra time his new bicycle gives him in the morning. "It's very convenient for me to ride the bicycle," he said. "Otherwise, I have to take two buses, taking 45 minutes. It's not how far it is, but the way I have to go." His daily bike rides take only 15 minutes.

As American Apparel grows, the company expects the bicycle fleet to grow as well, and perhaps inspire other businesses to institute similar programs that can bring a benefit to their employees and the environment. For over four years, American Apparel has passionately produced socially responsible T-shirts and related apparel. Currently employing over thirteen hundred (1300) people in Los Angeles and dedicated to paying a living wage, American Apparel is continually expanding its employee programs and environmental policies, while striving to produce the best in quality and design. For further information about American Apparel, visit www.americanapparel.net.

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