Start your pedals, America- The Get Up & Ride National Bike Challenge is on!
Launched today at the 2012 National Bike Summit by a powerful alliance of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the League of American Bicyclists, Bikes Belong and Endomondo, the National Bike Challenge aims to inspire and empower millions of Americans to ride their bikes for transportation, recreation and better health.
The Challenge is simple: Sign up as an individual or as a team, log your miles, share your stories and encourage others to join you. Riders will compete for prizes and awards on the local and national level, including a Grand Prize trip through California wine country from Trek Travel. Already, organizations in 26 states have committed to participate and have started warming up for the May 1 start date on the Challenge website: nationalbikechallenge.org.
“The League is excited about this unique opportunity to share the many benefits of bicycling and offer a fun, engaging entry point for new riders,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “There’s nothing like riding a bike with your friends and colleagues and the National Bike Challenge will create a new social network of cyclists stretching from coast to coast.”
The online initiative was piloted by Kimberly-Clark (K-C), Endomondo and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin in 2011. The idea was sparked by K-C research engineer, Rob Gusky, and Kimberly-Clark extended the competition to its 57,000 global employees. The Challenge proved to be a great team building and wellness activity for K-C’s sustainability efforts globally. Participating K-C employees logged 357,739 miles globally, with U.S. employees pedaling 182,210 miles. The success in Wisconsin led to a bigger vision: Taking the challenge to the national level.
“We’re pleased to be the national sponsor of the Challenge as it supports the wellness of our employees and the communities we serve, while contributing to improved air quality by replacing car travel with clean, healthy bicycle trips,” said Jan Spencer, K-C’s senior vice president of continuous improvement/procurement/ sustainability. “This year, K-C is providing an extra incentive for our global team members: The Kimberly-Clark Foundation will donate 10 cents to the League of American Bicyclists for every mile logged by a K-C employee during the 2012 Challenge.”
The platform for the National Bike Challenge was created by Endomondo, a social fitness network with 7.5 million users worldwide. “Riding a bike for transportation is among the top five activities among our European users, and we look forward to helping expand this kind of biking in the U.S. with this campaign,” said Mette Lykke, Co-Founder of Endomondo. “Logging your miles is easy and the social interaction with co-workers, family and friends really makes it fun and motivating to get up and ride.”
“Bikes Belong is delighted to be a part of the National Bike Challenge, which provides all the tools to help more people ride bikes more often,” said Bruno Maier, vice president of Bikes Belong. “We’re looking forward to seeing all the different types of riders who participate. The Challenge is a great way to encourage people to live healthier lives.”
The Challenge runs from May 1 to August 31, 2012, but the public is invited to sign up now and get warmed up. For more information, visit www.nationalbikechallenge.org. Join us at facebook.com/nationalbikechallenge.
Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.