After a collective journey of more than 12 million miles that spanned all 50 states, the 2012 National Bike Challenge passed the finish line on August 31.
In just four months, the friendly, online competition — sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Corporation, League of American Bicyclists, Endomondo and Bikes Belong – engaged more than 30,000 Americans from coast to coast. The initiative encouraged new cyclists to start riding, challenged current bicyclists to ride more and showcased the tremendous health and financial benefits of bicycling.
“The Challenge has given us just a tiny glimpse of the remarkable potential of bicycling to address major social and environmental issues — in a fun and engaging way,” said Andy Clarke, League President. “Every one of the 30,000 participants deserves recognition for the miles they contributed to the impressive grand total — and we look forward to seeing everyone in the saddle for next year’s challenge!”
Through the interactive Endomondo website, Facebook group and Twitter feed, the National Bike Challenge created a vibrant, virtual community of thousands of cyclists who inspired and encouraged each other on a daily basis to lose weight, leave the car in the driveway and reach their individual goals.
Among individuals, Michael Lemuel took first place in the competition, riding more than 16,000 miles over the four-month period. A disabled veteran, living on a fixed income in Topeka, Kan., Lemeul credits the Challenge with increased stamina — and self-confidence. “It’s a great honor to become a national champion,” Lemuel said. “I’m thankful to everyone that helped me to succeed and congratulate everyone who became champions of themselves, like me.”
In addition to encouraging individual riders, more than 9,000 workplaces participated in the Challenge, using the initiative as a free, fun wellness tool for employees. The winners in the workplace categories (based on number of employees) included IBM, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Trek Bicycle Corp, Shimano, Toole Design Group, Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and BikeArlington.
“Kimberly-Clark was pleased to be the corporate sponsor of the first National Bike Challenge,” said Rob Gusky, Kimberly-Clark’s Ambassador of Cycling. “I am encouraged that more than 900 Kimberly-Clark employees participated in the Challenge, supporting 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. We congratulate all National Bike Challenge participants on achieving the ambitious and impressive goal of riding 10 million miles.”
“The organizers of this competition should be congratulated for their efforts in rallying thousands of people around a common and meaningful purpose,” said John Burke, CEO of Trek Bicycle Corp. “Challenge participants turned in incredible results but. more importantly. they relieved congestion, reduced CO2 emissions, and made the world a little bit better for everybody. This competition is an excellent example of how the bicycle can be used as a simple solution to some of the world’s most complicated problems.”
Although the 2012 competition has ended, participants can continue tracking their miles through Endomondo until the end of the year.
Click here for a full list of winners.
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.