The 2012 National Bike Challenge was a collective journey of more than 12 million miles — and it all started with one man’s vision at the Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
Today the League honored K-C employee Rob Gusky with the second Bicycle Friendly America Leadership Award for his role in the creation and success of the National Bike Challenge.
The new Bicycle Friendly America Leadership Award program recognizes a small number of key civic and business leaders — from mayors and CEOs to governors and university presidents — each year. Winners are chosen by the League’s BFA team in consultation with local bicyclists and stakeholders.
“Over the past decade, we’ve been inspired by incredible leaders across the nation who have taken the BFA program to new heights,” says Bill Nesper, the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program director. “When I heard about Rob Gusky’s efforts at Kimberly-Clark, I knew it was a unique and rare opportunity to inspire more people to get out and ride. Working tirelessly with the National Bike Challenge team over the past six months, Rob has been instrumental in turning a great idea into an inspirational tool that has engaged thousands of Americans from coast to coast.”
In just four months, the National Bike Challenge encouraged new cyclists to start riding, current bicyclists to ride more and showcased the tremendous health and financial benefits of bicycling. The friendly, online competition 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.
“I’m proud to serve as Kimberly-Clark’s Ambassador of Cycling,” Gusky says. “We initiated our internal bicycle challenge in 2008; it expanded to the statewide Wisconsin Challenge in 2011 and was implemented nationwide as the National Bike Challenge in 2012. The Bicycle Friendly America program helped us focus our efforts to improve cycling and was critical to gain support from senior leadership. This program provides excellent guidance on areas for improvement and we converted these into specific action items our team could rally around.”
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.