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Over 11,000 people took the ‘Bike More Challenge’ last month

Over 11,000 people took the ‘Bike More Challenge’ last month

The team from Daimler Trucks NA.(Photo: B-line Sustainable Urban Delivery)

The team from Daimler Trucks NA.
(Photo: B-line Sustainable Urban Delivery)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) wrapped up their 19th annual Bike More Challenge with a big party last night in southeast Portland.

This was the first year the friendly competition was held in May instead of September. The BTA made the move to encourage more people to keep biking through the summer, but it looks like the warm and sunny weather also boosted overall participation. A look at the final numbers shows that about 1,000 more participants were coaxed into the event than in previous years.

This year’s Challenge had 11,741 total riders who biked 1,656,098 miles. That’s up from 10,722 riders and 1,247,886 miles in 2015 and 10,350 riders and 1,212,271 miles in 2014.







Of course a major difference this year was that participants could log all trips, not just work commutes.

The Challenge is also about encouraging people to give daily biking a try for the first time. 1,959 participants said they were new bike riders this year, that’s up from just over 1,300 last year. Participants were also given extra points if they encouraged a new rider to sign up and log trips. The winner of the new Top Encourager Award, Sierra Callahan, persuaded 38 new riders. Just imagine if everyone who works at a big company did that.

Here are the other teams and individuals who took home top honors at the awards ceremony last night:

Team with the most points, 500+ staff: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), 221,149 points
Team with the most points, 200-499 staff: Quantum Spacial, 55,259 points
Team with the most points, 50-199 staff: SERA Architects, 36,131 points
Team with the most points, 20-49 staff: Alta Planning + Design, 21,756 points
Team with the most points, 7-19 staff: Portland Pedal Power, 10,077 points
Team with the most points, 3-6 staff: Metropolis Cycle Repair, 5,942 points
Female with the most miles: Jessica Wesling, 1,215 miles
Male with the most miles: Chuck Swanda, 4,190 miles
New Female rider with the most miles: Darcie McIntosh, 417 miles
New Male rider with the most miles: Michael Turnauer, 928 miles
Top Encourager: Sierra Callahan, 38 people encouraged
Brad Buchanan Team Captain of the Year: Zachary Horowitz, Kittleson and Associates, Inc.

See how your company stacked up in the full results at BikeMoreChallenge.com.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Over 11,000 people took the ‘Bike More Challenge’ last month appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Big changes in store as BTA sets to launch new ‘Bike More Challenge’ in May

Big changes in store as BTA sets to launch new ‘Bike More Challenge’ in May

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-2

A rainy day for the commute challenge in September 2014.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s popular and friendly competition among Oregon and Southwest Washington workplaces is shifting to springtime and making some big changes.

It’s now called the “Bike More Challenge” and it starts next month instead of in September.

Other big changes for 2016: The BTA now invites participants to log all bike trips, not just work commutes; the entire contest runs on a new software platform, and you can get extra points for encouraging someone else to sign up.

“You can log your ride to the grocery store, your recreational ride, whatever,” BTA spokeswoman Sarah Newsum said Thursday. “Sometimes the bike commute is a big leap for some people, having to show up for work after biking.”

bike more challenge

The new website at BikeMoreChallenge.com.

Moving to May also puts the newly renamed Bike More Challenge in line with National Bike Month, which in many cities includes an organized Bike to Work Week.

The change comes after 10 years of the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge. Largely funded by regional government Metro, the annual Challenge is one of the most visible events of the year for the Portland-based statewide advocacy group. But it’s seen the number of participants slip 11 percent since 2011.







The new system, which scraps the BTA’s custom-built software in favor of a package provided by the New Zealand-based website LoveToRide.net, will make it much easier to log trips. If you already log bike trips with any of four apps — Strava, Moves, MapMyRide, and Endomondo — you can register your account with the site and they’ll be automatically entered into the database. (Unfortunately, the Portland-based Ride Report and RideWithGPS apps aren’t supported yet.)

Instead of ranking local workplaces by percentage of commutes, workplaces will be scored with an entirely new point system customized by the BTA:

point system

“You actually get a lot of points for encouraging new riders to join,” Newsum observed. “If I join and I’m like “Michael Andersen told me to join” — it prompts me to put your name in — you actually get points.”

That seems appropriate for a challenge intended to introduce more people to the basics of bike transportation. (I say this every year: the commute challenge is what got me to make the jump to bike commuting, back in 2011.)

Workplaces will continue to be broken out by size category: 500+ staff, 200-499 staff, 50-199 staff, 20-49 staff, 7-19 staff, and 3-6 staff.

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-1

BTA staffers Sarah Newsum and Amanda Judkins
promote the 2014 Bike Commute Challenge.

The minimum organization size is now three people — though as always, individuals will be able to log trips even if their workplaces don’t have a team. And this year you’ll be able to log trips even if you don’t commute.

May in Portland tends to be rainier than September — the average May has 14 days with some rain, compared to seven days in the average September — but it also signifies the start of warm-weather season rather than the end of it.

“It’s nice to get people in the habit of biking going into the nicer weather,” Newsom said. “It’ll hopefully sort of solidify that habit a little bit more.”

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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The post Big changes in store as BTA sets to launch new ‘Bike More Challenge’ in May appeared first on BikePortland.org.

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:

serabcc

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

bcc-ohsu-mostwomenriders

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

Team PedalPT had another 100% bike trip month.
Daimler

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.


The post Street party caps Bike Commute Challenge, BTA says event will move to May appeared first on BikePortland.org.

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:

serabcc

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

bcc-ohsu-mostwomenriders

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

Team Pedal PT had another 100% bike trip month.
Daimler

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.


The post Street party caps Bike Commute Challenge, BTA says event will move to May appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Three non-obvious reasons the Bike Commute Challenge is such a great idea

Three non-obvious reasons the Bike Commute Challenge is such a great idea

Bike Commute Challenge Party-6.jpg

Who doesn’t like trophies?
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s friendly annual competition among workplaces to see who can log the most and longest bike trips and who can recruit the most commuters starts today. And an excellent new academic paper shows exactly why you should be signing up and nudging your co-workers to do the same.

The paper published last week is by New York-based biking psychology student Do Lee, based on interviews, mapping and video and ride-along observations of the two-week Lake Tahoe Bike Challenge in California.

His simple conclusion: no amount of infrastructure or logic is ever going to give people the confidence and information they need to make a rational decision about whether they should commute by bike.

For confidence, they have to see other people doing it — and for information, they simply have to try it.

Lee’s study, which won a “best student paper” award last year from his regional division of the American Psychological Association, is unfortunately behind a paywall. But we can share some key insights here that ring true.

Most people have no idea where bike infrastructure is located

Ultimate North Portland Family Loop-2

Many of Portland’s most appealing bikeways — like the Bryant St. Bridge over I-5 — are out-of-sight and therefore, out-of-mind.

When I was considering a bike commute in 2009, I emailed a friend to ask how long he thought it would take to bike from the Arbor Lodge neighborhood in north Portland to my job in downtown Vancouver.

“I’m going to say it would take you about 15 minutes,” he replied. “Provided that the car you get rear-ended by on I-5 deposits your remains at your desired location.”

My friend (a Portlander if there ever was one) had driven to Vancouver before but had no idea that there is a bikeable path across the Interstate Bridge. And in that, Lee finds, he was like most people who have only taken a particular trip in a car.

“Many bicyclists prefer designated bike paths and informal bike trails but these routes are usually located away from the main roads and are often difficult to spot while driving,” Lee writes. “Prior to their first bike to work event, many participants lacked knowledge of bike routes other than those immediately visible while driving.”

For Portland’s bike network, which is dependent on our generally pleasant but hard-to-spot neighborhood greenways, this hurdle is especially high. But the practical experience of piecing together a bike commute for the sake of workplace camaraderie can break it down, Lee writes.

People driving see only the worst parts of bike commuting

From the other side-2

Yikes! That sure doesn’t look very safe from where I’m sitting.

Most people who commute by car come across people biking from time to time. Where are they most likely to do so? During the very worst moments of a bike commute — the moments when the bike commuter has to interact with cars.

Is it any wonder that so many car-centric people see bikers, and biking, at their worst?

In his interviews, Lee found that people thought biking is always like that.

“In essence, the participants forecast an experience of bicycle commuting that is filtered through their experiences of driving,” he writes. “The driving environment renders the positive aspects of bicycle commuting invisible while drivers simultaneously project negative qualities onto any bicycle commuting that remains visible.”

Only by escaping the car for a day or two can someone understand that a lot of bike commuting is actually less stressful than driving.

– Advertisement –


Rich and poor people alike are motivated by more than just money

Ride Along Kathleen McDade-7

There’s a popular myth that some people who don’t own cars bike because they “have to.” But people of every income level are making choices all the time. Someone who doesn’t own a car might carpool, ride a bus or simply make painful financial sacrifices to buy a car.

Lee’s research suggests that you don’t have to be an office worker to respond to a bike-to-work challenge.

“The two Latino males in this study were both blue-collar laborers who worked multiple jobs; yet, both spoke of becoming bicycle commuters not out of economic necessity, but based on complex experiences and motivations facilitated by the event,” he writes. “Based on their interviews, both participants would not have known about and experienced the event without having a workplace team.”

On the downside, Lee found, bike-to-work events often end up targeting office workers, neglecting people who work other jobs and ignoring people who focus on unpaid work like parenting.

“The event did not exclude anybody from participating, but the event’s outreach favored the social environments of middle class, well educated, and mostly white social networks in Tahoe despite a sizeable local Latino bicycling population,” Lee writes.

Moral of the story: Bike lanes aren’t nearly enough

Pedalpalooza 2014 Kickoff Parade-35

Bike infrastructure is great for those of us who already ride. But it does little to boost the number of people biking unless people get on their bikes for the first time — and getting people on bikes requires social support.

“Bicycling infrastructure alone is not enough to encourage cycling, because the material and social conditions of a car world render bicycle commuting as largely invisible and unviable for everyday transport,” Lee writes. “Lived experience is the essential bridge to knowing how one’s environment affords bicycle commuting in daily life.”

As we’ve reported, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s free-to-play competition has been steadily shrinking since 2011. But the BCC’s major funders at Metro doubled down in 2015 by boosting their support for the program.

Let’s hope it works. There’s little question that the BCC has played a big role in helping thousands of Portlanders discover the joy of bike commuting.

“Real freedom is about breaking from automatic and unconscious habits and routines in order to search for new possibilities of being in the world,” Lee writes, quoting the late philosopher Maxine Greene.

Here’s to that.

Thanks to Jessica Roberts, a bike programming expert at Alta Planning and Design, for the tip about Lee’s work.


The post Three non-obvious reasons the Bike Commute Challenge is such a great idea appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bike Commute Challenge participants toast 1.2 million miles ridden in September

Bike Commute Challenge participants toast 1.2 million miles ridden in September

railing

People wait for awards to
be presented to workplaces with
the most dedicated bike commuters.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Well over a hundred biking fans packed City Hall’s courtyard with their vehicles and stepped inside for beer and pizza Thursday night to celebrate the end of the annual Bike Commute Challenge.

The event run by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance drew 10,350 participants this year from 1,190 workplaces in a friendly competition that saw the most dedicated commuters logging more than 1,000 miles during September. In all, participants logged 1,212,271 miles of bike commuting this year.

“At the same time as you saved money on gas, you saved our communities money on road maintenance,” BTA Deputy Director Steph Noll said.

Here are the winners of the month-long event:

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

    – Boont Rocks!
    – Diablo
    – Axoplasm
    – Dr. Jeffrey D. Sher
    – Oregon Walks
    – The People’s Accountant
    – WS-PS
    – P-Town Design
    – Jeffrey Trull

Businesses and nonprofits, 2-4 employees:

    – Pedal PT, 100%

Businesses and nonprofits, 5-24 employees:

    – Cast Iron Coding, 100%

Businesses and nonprofits, 25-99 employees:

    – Alta Planning + Design, 78%

Businesses and nonprofits, 100-499 employees:

    – Quantum Spacial, 54%

Businesses and nonprofits, 500+ employees:

    – Reed College, 10%

Public agencies, 1-24 employees:

    – OHSU Pharmacy, 77%

Public agencies, 25-99 employees:

    – Multnomah County Lincoln Building, 42%

Public agencies, 100-499 employees:

    – City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 33%

Public agencies, 500+ employees:

    – Portland State Office Building, 11%

Bike shops, 1-8 employees:

    – Sugar Wheel Works, 97%

Bike shops, 9-15 employees:

    – Bike Gallery downtown, 90%

Bike shops, 16+ employees:

    – Citybikes, 43%

Team with most new riders:

    – Nike, 49 new riders

Team with most mileage:

    – Daimler Trucks North America, 27,108 miles
overhead

Three stories of bike fans looked down on the award presentation.

Individual with the most miles:

    – Kyle Carlson, Daimler Trucks North America, 1,144 miles (that’s 52 per weekday)

The BTA also honored Will Cortez of Vernier Software and Technology with its “Brad Buchanan Team Captain of the Year Award.”

In preparation for the party, the BTA needed to haul in six kegs of beer from Hopworks Urban Brewery. BTA volunteer Joel Finkelstein coordinated a team of volunteers to bring it in by cargo bike and trailer — and, in the case of Northwest Skate Coalition founder Cory Poole, one longboard cargo trailer:

beer team

The party’s six kegs were delivered by bike (of course).
(Photo: Sarah Newsum/Bicycle Transportation Alliance)

But one less happy trend showed up in the night’s numbers that’s worth noting: like so many things in the world of Portland biking, the Bike Commute Challenge has stopped growing. In fact, the number of participants is down 14 percent from its 2011 peak, the number of workplaces down 18 percent.

bcc participants

bcc workplaces

Noll said the same factors that have caused a “plateau” in city bike counts were leading to a plateau in BCC participation and that “investment in bike infrastructure and programs” would be needed to increase BCC participation.

“That’s beyond the ability of this program to change,” she said.

Another factor, Noll said, could be the BTA’s donation solicitation when people sign up for the challenge, which requires people to either contribute to the BTA or enter “$0″ in the “other amount” box in order to participate. That was added in 2012 after the state eliminated transportation programs from the Business Energy Tax Credit. Noll said participants use that opportunity to contribute thousands of dollars each year that are needed to make the challenge possible in its current form.

The post Bike Commute Challenge participants toast 1.2 million miles ridden in September appeared first on BikePortland.org.

BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’

BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-1

BTA staffers Amanda Lee Harrison (yellow cap) and Sarah Newsum offering cookies and encouragement to bike commuters in the rain this morning on the Broadway Bridge.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re more than half way through the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Commute Challenge and the organization is pulling out all the stops to encourage riders to sign up and log their trips.

The Challenge is a friendly competition where workplaces sign up and compete against each other to see who can log the most trips. So far this year over 9,000 riders from 1,126 teams are taking part. As of this morning they’ve logged a total 623,179 miles.

To get even more people involved, BTA Communications Assistant Sarah Newsum and Bike Commute Challenge Program Assistant Amanda Lee Harrison were out on the Broadway Bridge this morning (despite the light rain) holding signs and passing out cookies and bike bells. As dozens of riders backed up at the bike signal on the west end of the bridge at the Lovejoy ramp, Newsum and Lee Harrison offered their gifts while reminding/encouraging everyone to log into the Challenge website.

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-2

Lee Harrison trudged through bike traffic to get the point across.

The Bike Commute Challenge has become a very successful program for the BTA. It not only encourages more people to ride bikes more often, but it also introduces the organization to new potential corporate and individual supporters. To help make this the largest event ever, Newsum says they plan to continue the “Meet the BTA staff on the bridges” promotion next week.

Is your workplace taking part in this competition? We’ve noticed lots of full bike racks downtown and there’s a noticeable uptick in bike traffic around the central city.

The post BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’ appeared first on BikePortland.org.

BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’

BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-1

BTA staffers Amanda Lee Harrison (yellow cap) and Sarah Newsum offering cookies and encouragement to bike commuters in the rain this morning on the Broadway Bridge.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re more than half way through the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Commute Challenge and the organization is pulling out all the stops to encourage riders to sign up and log their trips.

The Challenge is a friendly competition where workplaces sign up and compete against each other to see who can log the most trips. So far this year over 9,000 riders from 1,126 teams are taking part. As of this morning they’ve logged a total 623,179 miles.

To get even more people involved, BTA Communications Assistant Sarah Newsum and Bike Commute Challenge Program Assistant Amanda Lee Harrison were out on the Broadway Bridge this morning (despite the light rain) holding signs and passing out cookies and bike bells. As dozens of riders backed up at the bike signal on the west end of the bridge at the Lovejoy ramp, Newsum and Lee Harrison offered their gifts while reminding/encouraging everyone to log into the Challenge website.

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-2

Lee Harrison trudged through bike traffic to get the point across.

The Bike Commute Challenge has become a very successful program for the BTA. It not only encourages more people to ride bikes more often, but it also introduces the organization to new potential corporate and individual supporters. To help make this the largest event ever, Newsum says they plan to continue the “Meet the BTA staff on the bridges” promotion next week.

Is your workplace taking part in this competition? We’ve noticed lots of full bike racks downtown and there’s a noticeable uptick in bike traffic around the central city.

The post BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’ appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Get pumped: The 2014 Bike Commute Challenge kicks off next week

Get pumped: The 2014 Bike Commute Challenge kicks off next week

Hawthorne Bridge scenes-5

Hawthorne Bridge traffic in September 2013.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

With August’s heat lifting, we’re headed into one of the nicest times of year to be on a bicycle in Portland, and that means it’s time to convince your co-workers to give biking to work a shot.

The region’s annual Bike Commute Challenge is a free, friendly contest between workplaces, ad-hoc teams and/or your own performance the previous year to see whose commuters can bike the most or the farthest on their way to work in September.

If they’d like, participants can use bikes for only part of their trip. Routes can fall anywhere in the state or metro area, including Clark County on the Washington side of the Columbia.

The event is managed by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and funded in large part by the Metro regional government.

Last year, Intel and Nike employees mounted a fun rivalry dubbed (by Intel’s official Twitter feed) “Nerds vs. Jocks.” (The jocks won.)

Like so many other things in the world of Portland biking, BCC participation grew rapidly until 2010 and peaked in 2011 with 12,063 participants. Participation has been down somewhat in the two years that have followed, but a whopping 10,555 people still took part in last year’s competition.

The BTA puts a lot of time into the challenge (not to mention securing free food and drink for the public afterparty, planned this year for Oct. 10), and in the last two years it’s raised thousands of dollars by soliciting donations during the sign-up or login process. But the contest is free; you can enter a $0 donation and still participate.

And in case there’s any doubt that this fun event works: I’m a BCC success story myself. Even though I had a two-day-a-week job at Mercy Corps, I almost never biked downtown until September 2011. It was challenge month that got me to finally realize (after more than a year of publishing a magazine about car-lite transportation and using a bike on almost every trip) that the Everett/Davis/Couch greenway was a much more pleasant route downtown than the spotty Glisan bike lane. For me, that discovery was what made the difference.

Fittingly enough, this year’s official competition starts on Labor Day, Sept. 1. Whether you head to work that day or the next, you can log in for the year right now. Have fun, everybody.

The post Get pumped: The 2014 Bike Commute Challenge kicks off next week appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bike Commute Challenge wraps up with big party at City Hall

Bike Commute Challenge wraps up with big party at City Hall

Seeing City Hall’s courtyard completely lined
with bikes was a treat of its own.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Oregon’s annual Bike Commute Challenge wrapped up Thursday night with cheap beer, free pizza, prize raffles and the results of a month of online trip logging.

Unlike in recent years, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance held its afterparty inside Portland City Hall. It’s a small, beautiful building with an indoor atrium that created a fun multi-level interaction for a couple hundred attendees.

In all, this year’s challenge drew 10,555 riders at 1,290 workplaces, biking a collective 1.2 million miles. (Memo to the “freight community” from the “cyclist community”: that’s a lot of reduced road maintenance. We assume your check’s in the mail?)

Among employers with 25 or more workers, the highest bike commuting rate went to repeat champion Watershed Sciences, Inc., with an inspiring 79 percent bike commute rate for its 63 employees.

Participation in the annual September challenge was actually down for the second year in a row (it peaked in 2011 at 12,063), though it’s hard to say how much was due to a rainy month or other factors.

And the winners? As usual, a handful of workplace teams under 25 employees managed heroic 100% bike commute rates: Sticky, Cast Iron Coding, OHSU’s Market Square Building’s 5th floor, Measureful, PedalPT, Kohles Bioengineering, HoltzReport, Boont Rocks!, Dr. Jeffrey D. Scher and The Copy Center at Camera Graphics.

Among bike shops, the winner was the downtown Portland Bike Gallery, with 94 percent participation among its 16 employees.

Among employers with 25 or more workers, the highest bike commuting rate went to repeat champion Watershed Sciences, Inc., with an inspiring 79 percent bike commute rate for its 63 employees. The best-performing government team was, as usual, the U.S. Geological Survey, with a 37 percent bike commute rate among 90 employees.

Daimler Trucks North America took home the prize for the team with the most newly recruited riders.

And what about the “Nerds vs Jocks” battle between the region’s two largest employers, Intel and Nike? Well, if you’re going by percentages of bike commutes among the total workforce — which, in its final tallies, the BTA does — the jocks won by a mile.

With 6,500 employees reported on its team, Nike’s 181 BCC participants logged 1,467 bike commutes for a verified rate of 1.2 percent. Intel, meanwhile, reported 12,000 total employees, 212 active riders and 1,742 trips, beating its rival on trips taken but posting a bike commute rate of just 0.8 percent.

The full standings are also on the Bike Commute Challenge’s website and were posted at Thursday’s event. But for most attendees, of course, the most important takeaway was the same as it is every year: if you don’t get to the BCC afterparty soon enough, you won’t get a slice of pizza.