Occupation: senior vice president of marketing and business development, F5
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Degree: Bachelor of Commerce, Queen’s University. M.B.A, University of British Columbia
Commute: 35 miles round trip from Issaquah to Seattle, 2 days per week
Wheels: 2004 Specialized Roubaix Comp
121 employees of technology company F5 formed 13 teams to participate in the 2008 Group Health Commute Challenge. Together, they logged 22,500 miles. This year, 25% of Seattle F5 employees, including six of eight executives, are biking to work as part of the Commute Challenge.
Dan Matte attributes the high participation to F5’s comfortable and supportive work environment.
For example, last year, F5 hired Chris Cameron, former commute director of Cascade Bicycle Club, to teach employees about bike safety and commuting. This year, the company is coordinating brown bag lunches, including a Bike Commuting clinic and a Bike Maintenance clinic—as well as Bagel Fridays.
F5 bike commuters are also treated to lockers, showers, and secure (attended) covered bike parking. Even towel service. An internal cycling email alias is also popular; dozens of cyclists connect with experienced peers who answer questions about gear, routes, and training.
Commuters, including cyclists, who choose options other than single occupant vehicles, can receive monthly transportation stipends valued from $1,200 to $3,600 per year. Employees may also opt to use a pre-tax spending account to fund alternative transportation options like train, bus, and ferry fares. And, if an employee needs emergency transportation home when using alternative transportation, F5 will pay for it—part of F5’s Home Free program.
If that weren’t enough, every F5 Commute Challenge participant receives a free F5 cycling jersey.
Dan’s fair weather commuting started in 1990, when he started mountain biking around Vancouver, British Columbia. He still frequents his favorite off-road destination, Kamloops, and enjoys racing in the notorious 34-mile Cheakamus Challenge. But Dan confesses he is now a roadie. His rap sheet includes Flying Wheels, RSVP, Spawning Cycle, STP, and Tour de Blast. And he is on the 2009 wait list for his first RAMROD.
A Garmin 305 GPS tracks Dan’s two-day commute and recreational road riding. It tallies 3,000-5,000 miles per year. Not bad for an executive with a heavy travel schedule.
Dan often joins Bellevue’s Lakemont Cycling Club for early morning 30-mile rides around Samammish. On the weekends, he joins the Club for another 50-70 mile ride.
His wife, Dawn, rides for the Lakemont Ladies, who attracted over 200 female cyclists to last year’s Cycle The Wave — the inaugural fundraiser for the Eastside Domestic Violence Program.
Dan enjoys passing along his passion for cycling, and both of his boys, nine and twelve, are already addicted to downhill mountain biking. He looks forward to taking the family on a bike tour of Vietnam or Africa.
F5 Networks earned a Commuter Challenge Diamond Award from King County in 2002 for its leadership in encouraging employees to walk or bicycle to work.
For more information about the Lakemont Cycling Club, visit: LakemontCyclingClub.com
For more information about Lakemont Ladies, visit: LakemonLadiesCyclingClub.com
Scott Marlow was marketing director for Cascade Bicycle Club from 2001-2005. The Club record-holder for the shortest commute (under six seconds), Marlow works from his home office in West Seattle.
Nominate a cyclist of the month!