By Lindsay Plante, BFA Communications Intern
With nearly 190,000 miles logged, Burlington, Vermont, has occupied the top spot of the National Bike Challenge since the online competition kicked off in May. So how did they do it? Jason Van Driesche, Director of Advocacy and Education for Burlington’s bike advocacy organization, Local Motion, shared their strategy.
“We have a pretty extensive network of business partners,” Van Diresche says. “By contacting companies about this exciting new opportunity, we found a champion at each company to promote the Challenge and lead their coworkers.”
To keep registration numbers up and riders engaged, even as the Challenge was underway, Local Motion got creative. They taped individual fliers to bike handle bars all over the city. Their individual outreach worked!
Of course, bicycling has always been a part of Burlington’s culture. “To a certain degree, we’ve been resting on our laurels,” Van Driesche admits. “But Burlington is getting ready to go for Gold [Bicycle Friendly Community designation]. Our mayor has asked for blue print to get us there and there is a new level of interest. A lot of people are looking to see the next level. Burlington is poised for a big leap.”
The Challenge has helped pique this interest and proves the need and interest in quality facilities.
There is still time to get involved! Local Motion is encouraging residents to sign up for the Challenge and participants to keep logging their miles. After all, folks like Van Driesche want to stay on top.
“We’re head to head with Madison, Wisconsin,” he says. “I went to grad school there. I would love nothing more than to see my new home trounce my old home. We’re in the lead now, but they’re definitely giving us a run for our money.”