Panera Is Giving Away 'Bread Bowl Bikes' in Honor of Earth Month

The restaurant chain says it wants more people riding bikes instead of cars.

Panera Bread Basket Bike
You could win this funky bread basket bike.

Panera

Panera is giving away free bikes! In honor of Earth Month, the American bakery-café restaurant chain launched a limited edition bicycle with a faux bread bowl basket. Yes, you read that right – the front carrying basket looks like just a bread bowl, except it's actually an insulated carrier that you can use to pick up food at Panera and carry back home, to work, or wherever you plan to enjoy it.

This giveaway is timely, considering the bike shortage that's currently happening across the United States. As gyms and sports facilities closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and people felt disinclined to hop onto crowded public transit, the popularity of bicycles has soared and stores have emptied out.

Panera says it wants to help. It will give away 30 bikes in total between April 14 and 22, and residents of any U.S. state (excluding Florida) can enter the contest

The company says its goal is "to help with the bike shortage" and "to inspire you to hit the road on bike instead of car." A press release continues: "As most great bikes come equipped with a basket to help transport items around town, this bike does as well ... a bread bowl basket, that is. The custom bike is equipped with an insulated basket inspired by the brand’s signature bread bowl so you can go pick up Cool Foods via a bike."

And what are Cool Foods, you may wonder? Panera was the first in the restaurant industry to adopt a special badge created by the World Resources Institute to indicate which menu items have a smaller carbon footprint. Participating businesses sign a Cool Food Pledge that commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with the foods they serve by 25% by 2030, relative to a 2015 baseline. They also use a Cool Food badge on the menu to indicate an item's reduced climate impact. These positive effects do add up:

"On Earth Day, if every Panera customer ordered a Cool Food Meal, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of taking more than 1,100 passenger vehicles off the road for one year, when compared to the average American diet."

Swap the car for a bicycle and you're even further ahead in terms of carbon savings. This giveaway is a perfect match — low-impact food with a low-impact mode of transportation. If you're someone who desperately wishes they had a bicycle for the upcoming summer, then this could be your chance to get one for free.