Winnipeg businessman pays employees some extra bucks to bike to work

Al Dueck, owner and president of Duxton Windows and Doors in South Point Douglas, is paying $50 a month, for five months, to each employee who bikes to work.

'I save on gas, it's more healthy for me … I love it,' says 1 worker at Duxton Windows and Doors

More than a dozen employees at Duxton Windows and Doors in Winnipeg are getting $50 per month just to bike to work. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Yessinia Rodriguez has been biking to work in the summertime ever since she started at Duxton Windows and Doors more than five years ago. But now she's getting paid for it.

Al Dueck, the owner and president of the company in South Point Douglas, is paying $50 a month, for five months, to each employee who bikes to work.

"The COVID world had people saying, 'I don't want to go on public transit,'" Dueck said. "Suddenly they were trying to get in each other's vehicles, and we were paying taxi chits, and things like that.

"In the meantime, I'm watching an x-number of them that have been cycling for a while, me included."

Many of the workers live nearby and there's little parking space at the facility, said Dueck, so more cyclists would free up parking spots for those who need them.

There are also the added benefits to the environment and to employees' health.

Al Dueck, company owner and president, got the idea when he noticed people needing alternative ways to get to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

About 15 people took advantage of the offer from the jump, Dueck said, noting that is about a third to 40 per cent of the company's workforce.

"It has definitely increased the number of people who are cycling to work," he said, adding that one of the leaders in the workplace even offered to help others find bikes.

Dueck can't say for sure whether morale is up, but "I do feel as if there probably are a few more smiles because some of them, we have a little deeper connection," he said.

"I enjoy coming in to work [on a bike]," Rodriguez said. "I save on gas, it's more healthy for me … I love it."

But no amount of money would be enough to make her bike in the winter, she said.

For Cameron Kaulback, who cuts windows, the ride takes 10-15 minutes, depending on how fast he's travelling. But just being on a bike again is a thrill, he says.

"It has been around 15 years since I even rode a bike," Kaulback said. "I used to do BMX racing when I was a kid and after all this time I missed it so much.

"It's so enjoyable. And freedom — it's just amazing."

Kaulback either walks or bikes to work throughout the year, he said, so he might put some money toward winter tires for his bike and brave the cold as a cyclist.

Gloire Kasumba, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been with Duxton for seven months. He's put some of his biking money toward an appliance for his bike that will hold his cellphone, so he can read its map while navigating from place to place.

With files from Cory Funk