Bicycle Commuter Challenge Puts Fun and Competition Into Biking to Work
by Tim Frick
Bike to Work Week is a great way to help the environment, get healthy, and have fun while doing it. Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance makes a fun contest out of it as well.
Every year Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance sponsors the Bike Commuter Challenge, a city-wide contest to promote cycling advocacy and the importance of alternative forms of transportation that takes place during Chicago’s Bike-to-Work Week. We joined the challenge for the second time this year, culminating with an all-company ride to work on Wednesday, June 13th.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, bicycle commuting was up 39% in 2010 from 2000 with 731,286 bicycle commuters. This is encouraging news but with an overall U.S. population of 311,591,917 (as of 2011) that’s still a tiny fraction of the participation necessary to make a real environmental impact and address some of the many problems with our transportation infrastructure (if you’ve ever been stuck on Lake Shore Drive for Friday rush hour at 3:00 p.m. you’ll know what I mean).
Overall, the politics of Bike to Work Week is an important thread that runs through the Mightybytes culture. In addition to all our work with Climate Ride, we share Active Transportation Alliance’s concern for making bicycling, walking, and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that Chicago and our nation can achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. Hopefully this week opens people’s eyes to how much better biking around Chicago is for the environment and your overall health.
Two Times a Charm
Last year, Mightybytes was one of the only non biking-related organizations with 100% employee participation. By cycling to work as a team we were able to match that number again this year. While we started at the Chicago History Museum, a centrally located destination for most of the team, the ride didn’t really kick off until we did our fair share of patronizing the nearby Green City Market and Active Transportation Alliance’s Bike to Work Week pitstop (which had free coffee, Clif bars, cookies, and bananas).
The ride itself was a straight shot up Clark Street to the office on a beautiful sunny summer morning. We picked up James and Kris along the way and ended at Mightybytes with a dozen bagels and some smiling faces. We all had a blast as you can tell from the Flickr Slideshow below.
Active Transportation Alliance memberships are only $35/year and support everything from protected bike lanes across Chicago to bike sharing, cycling/walking trails, and more. Their hard work supports many alternative transportation options around Chicago that are often taken for granted. To become a member, check out their Become a Member page.