The Gates Foundation Bikes to Work

Pedaling a small-wheeled folding bike in a cold Seattle squall through hub-deep puddles was like turning the crank on a jack-in-the-box with potholes as the surprise. When will I endo or bust my balls? I maneuvered like I was on single track avoiding roots and rocks. Last time I was that tense on a bike, I was flying going into Turn 1 at the Ballard Crit. I got onto a path as soon as possible and headed towards the Gates Foundation for the opening of their new campus. Rode up Broad on sharrows, a left on Mercer, a right into the parking garage, and I was there with the Space Needle in view.

Gates Foundation: Parking Garage

Rack inside the Mercer Street parking lot

After a quick change in the bathroom, I set out to find these “massive bike racks” I’d heard about. In Seattle, cyclists take Bike to Work month very seriously. With the move to the new campus, the Foundation is also being much more open about who they are and what they do, including how much their employees ride.

The last time I saw that many cyclist in a work place was when we visited the Microsoft Campus and their on-site bike shop.

Gates Foundation: Hannah

Hannah doesn’t own a car and bikes to work

Cavernous Bike Cage

Gates Foundation: Racks on Left

Wall- and floor mounted racks

You could fit the Tour de France in here with hanging space for 142 bikes, floor racks, and wall space. Next door are lockers and a mud room for the wet days.

Gates Foundation: Bike Cage

Foundation Employee Bikes

Gates Foundation: Rodriguez

A Rodriguez

Gates Foundation: Miyata


Gates Foundation: Another Commuter


I talked about the racks with Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Foundation, and he was impressed with them too. “A person could work here, live downtown, and not own a car,” I said. Now that’s some work life balance and a positive message. Hopefully the Sun is out on my next ride to meetup with Foundation cyclists. I’m sure they’ll fill those racks.

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