If you read the League blog, you got to know Heather Towers last week. When the Maryland resident started commuting by bike last year, she just hoped to save a few dollars in transportation costs. But, with the help of the National Bike Challenge, she discovered so much more: better health, new friends and even a passion for local advocacy!
Well, Towers is just one of more than 26,000 riders who logged nearly 4 million miles during the first month of the Challenge — a friendly, online competition to inspire and empower thousands of Americans to ride their bikes for transportation, recreation and better health this summer. So far, participants have burned more than 100 million calories — and they’re not nearly done yet. The goal: Unite 50,000 Americans to ride 10 million miles by August 31, 2012.
Will you help us get there by joining the National Bike Challenge today?
“We’ve been inspired by the astounding number of participants and their remarkable enthusiasm in the first month,” says League president Andy Clarke. “With nearly three months left, we’re calling on all Americans — from New York City to Miami, from Denver to Los Angeles — to join the fun. We want to see 50,000 riders in the Challenge, each with a story like Heather!”
The Challenge is simple, free and open to everyone. Sign up as an individual or as a team, log your miles, share your stories and encourage others to join you. Already more than 100 participants have won great prizes in the monthly drawings and there’s still plenty of time to get in the running for two Grand Prizes: A trip through California wine country from Trek Travel and a trip along the White Rim Trail in Utah from Western Spirit Cycling Adventures.
In May, riders in Vermont, Wisconsin and Nebraska pedaled their states to the top of the leader board (based on points per 1,000 riders). Not surprisingly, Burlington, Vt.; Madison, Wisc.; and Lincoln, Neb., topped the list for communities, as well.
“The National Bike Challenge has motivated more than 1,000 Vermonters to ride more this year and it’s been a great inspirational activity for us,” says Chapin Spencer, executive director of Local Motion, a bicycle advocacy organization in Burlington, Vt. “Yes, we’re in first place by state and by region right now, but nothing would please me more than having countless other states and regions nipping at our heels. Give us Vermonters some competition!”
In addition to encouraging individual riders, the Challenge provides a free and engaging wellness tool for businesses. In May, more than 8,200 workplaces registered, and Trek Bicycle Corporation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Specialized Bicycle Components, and Ingersoll Rand rose to the top of the workplace ranks.
“At Trek, we’re always looking for new ways to engage our employees and be the healthiest company on the planet,” says Marcus Gagnon, Health and Wellness Coordinator. “The National Bike Challenge has been huge! This is an awesome platform for any company to promote health in a fun and rewarding way, and to share the many benefits of cycling.”
See the full list of leaders from the month of May in today’s press release.
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.