Street party caps Bike Commute Challenge, BTA says event will move to May

Street party caps Bike Commute Challenge, BTA says event will move to May

bcc awards drawing

Eagerly awaiting awards for the most dedicated bike commuters.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

More than 200 people came to the parking lot of Portland Design Works Wednesday to celebrate the 2015 Bike Commute Challenge — which may also be the last one to be held in September.

In 2016, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance announced, the BTA will move its annual friendly competition to May to coincide with National Bike Month.

“This year’s Challenge included more than 1,300 riders who identified as new bike commuters.”
— Steph Noll, BTA Deputy Director

“This year’s Challenge included more than 1,300 riders who identified as new bike commuters,” BTA Deputy Director Steph Noll said in an email Thursday. “By moving the Challenge to May, these new riders will have months of warmer, drier weather ahead of them to build the bike commuting habit and maybe even make the choice to invest in some rain gear and fenders to continue to have an enjoyable bike commute through the rainy season. We’re also hoping that with the attention on May as National Bike Month, the message of the Challenge will be further amplified through other channels beyond what we can reach with our very limited marketing budget.”

This year’s event drew 10,772 participants from 1,152 workplaces, including 3,954 first-time BCC participants. In all, participants logged 1,247,886 miles of bike commuting.

Below are a few more photos from the event followed by a list of the winners:


The team from SERA Architects was 1st in the 100-499 employee category.
(Photo: SERA Architects)


The team from OHSU had the most women riders with 90 (out of 297 total riders).

Team Pedal PT had another 100% bike trip month.

Businesses and nonprofits, 1 employee:
all at 100 percent bike commuting for the month

    – Airlineinfo
    – Axoplasm
    – Bikes4Peace
    – Boont rocks!
    – Dr. Jeffrey D. Sher
    – ESC Sports
    – Evolv Fitness
    – Kohles Bioengineering
    – P-Town Prints + Designs
    – Whelton Architecture

Businesses and nonprofits, 2-4 employees:

    – Pedal PT, 100%

Businesses and nonprofits, 5-24 employees:

    – Cast Iron Coding, 89%

Businesses and nonprofits, 25-99 employees:

    – Community Cycling Center, 90%

Businesses and nonprofits, 100-499 employees:

    – SERA Architects, 64%

Businesses and nonprofits, 500+ employees:

    – Reed College, 10%

Public agencies, 1-24 employees:

    – East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, 44%

Public agencies, 25-99 employees:

    – Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, 40%

Public agencies, 100-499 employees:

    – City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 35%

Public agencies, 500+ employees:

    – Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 12%

– Advertisement –

Bike shops, 1-8 employees:

    – Islabikes , 100%

Bike shops, 9-15 employees:

    – Bike Gallery downtown, 97%

Bike shops, 16+ employees:

    – Citybikes, 44%

Team with most new riders:

    – Nike, 69 new riders

Team with most mileage:

    – Daimler Trucks North America, 28,293.9 miles

New female rider with the most miles:

    – Kelly Boag, Portland General Electric, 371 miles

New male rider with the most miles:

    – Bill Blackwell, Leatherman Tool Group, 520 miles

Female rider with the most miles:

    – Colette Marthaller, Daimler Trucks North America, 682 miles (that’s 31 per weekday)

Male rider with the most miles:

    – Dave Weber, Northwest Natural, 1,644 miles (that’s 75 per weekday)

The BTA also honored Jordan Folk of Research Into Action, Inc., with its “Brad Buchanan Team Captain of the Year Award.”

The switch to May will be a significant change to next year’s challenge. In the Portland area, May tends to have about twice as many rainy days as September (13.6 compared to 6.7) and its average nightly lows are a few degrees cooler (48 degrees compared to 53).

However, as Noll points out, new riders activated by the challenge each May will be headed into a few months of dry weather rather than a few months of rainy weather. Hopefully that’ll make the challenge even better at getting more people used to bike commuting.

Some sort of change to the challenge seems to be needed. This year was the fourth in a row to see declining BCC participation among Portland-area workplaces; it’s down 20 percent since 2011. However, 2015 saw an uptick in the number of riders logging at least one trip in the challenge. That’s the first increase since 2011.

bcc workplaces

bcc participants

As we wrote when it launched, the Bike Commute Challenge is not only a great Portland tradition, it’s part of a scientifically proven strategy for getting people to start thinking seriously about bikes. Two weeks ago, I had a beer with a former co-worker who was lured into a bike commute for the first time in many years thanks to this year’s BCC. Though he’s worked in downtown Portland for five years now, he spoke with awe about how easy and intuitive it was to follow the growing river of bike commuters across the Interstate Bridge, down Interstate Avenue and across the Steel Bridge.

“Portland has hit this critical mass where it’s really possible,” he said.

Yep. Here’s to continuing to spread that message.

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