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Bike Commute Challenge check-in: Intel & Nike, neck and neck

Bike Commute Challenge check-in: Intel & Nike, neck and neck

A digital flier by the competitive geeks at Intel.

In Oregon’s epic battle of nerds versus jocks, the nerds are winning.

The gearheads, the nurses and the bureaucrats are on their tail, though.

With six weekdays left in the BTA’s annual Bike Commute Challenge, Intel employees have logged 16,117 miles of biking to lead the contest in total travel, while Nike employees are in second place across the region with 14,529.

Close behind are Daimler Trucks North America (13,880 miles), Oregon Health and Science University (13,679) and the City of Portland (13,348).

Of course, there are lots of ways to “win” the Bike Commute Challenge (as the nerds would no doubt point out if they weren’t in the lead). For example, you can count by total number of bike trips:

  • City of Portland (1346)
  • OHSU (1267)
  • Intel (1165)
  • Multnomah County (1086)
  • Nike (981)

Or by the number of new bike commuters recruited for this year’s challenge:

  • Daimler (47)
  • OHSU (39)
  • Providence Health and Services (34)
  • Multnomah County (26)
  • Widen+Kennedy (26)

Or by the percentage of participants at each organization that are new to bike commuting (among the 500 biggest organizations):

  • HFG (10 riders, five new)
  • New Seasons Market – Progress Ridge (nine riders, four new)
  • Salem Health (29 riders, 12 new)
  • InsideTrack (27 riders, 11 new)
  • Integral Consulting (10 riders, 4 new)
  • Capital Pacific Bank (10 riders, 4 new)

Or even by the average number of trips per rider (among the 500 biggest organizations)

  • ELS Language Centers (10.2, nine riders)
  • Saint Mary’s Academy (9.1, 13 riders)
  • Bicycle Transportation Alliance (9, 21 riders)
  • Willamette Week (8.8, eight riders)
  • Portland Mercury (8.3, eight riders)

The challenge, organized every September by the BTA, is a great excuse to get on a bike during Portland’s most beautiful riding weather (usually, anyway) and learn your best route to work. This year’s has been especially fun, with Intel throwing down the westside gauntlet against Nike, the Trail Blazers’ official mascot getting into the action and Congressman Earl Blumenauer competing remotely from D.C.

Last week, when Daimler Trucks North America’s CEO announced a major expansion of the truck design and manufacturing firm’s North Portland headquarters (a $150 million upgrade that’s likely to include a big investment in bike parking, among many other things) he called out the success of Daimler’s Bike Commute Challenge team as one of the ways Daimler employees are able to enjoy the good life in Portland.

Here’s to that — and to ten more days of logging trips for fun and prizes.

Intel employees set to launch ‘Open Bike Initiative’ on Hillsboro campus

Intel employees set to launch ‘Open Bike Initiative’ on Hillsboro campus

Employees at Hillsboro-based Intel Corporation are spearheading an effort to make bike sharing less expensive and more widely available. Using their own volunteer time, a group of employees at the company have been working on the Open Bike Initiative since January. I’ve heard murmurs about the effort for months and they just released some bare-bones details at OpenBikeInitiative.org.

Key advisors on the Open Bike project include Nike, the Westside Transportation Alliance, the Community Cycling Center, Portland State University, and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

According to the website, the main objective of the effort is to design a low-cost device that incorporates GPS/cell data and a locking mechanism that can be attached to any standard, off-the-shelf bike. Then they’ll create software that allows the bikes to communicate and be managed as a system via an online portal. The final step will be to freely distribute the results of their work and experiences with an open-source license.

Intel’s motivation is clear: Some buildings on their sprawling Hillsboro campus are over 3.5 miles apart. That’s too far to walk and the perfect distance for a bicycle ride. Here’s more from the Open Bike site:

If successful, the project could provide a template for a new bike sharing model that could be implemented (relatively) easily and (relatively) inexpensively, even by small organizations. Most current bike sharing programs utilize expensive kiosks and costly custom bicycles, and require services from a single vendor. The few emerging “smart lock” based systems eliminate the need for kiosks, but continue to use custom bicycles and proprietary software and services from a specific vendor. This project envisions a model that utilizes standard bikes with minor “do it yourself” modifications and free software. Organizations like corporations, university campuses, housing projects and the like may be able to implement a bike sharing program completely on their own, or new vendors may emerge to supply particular components (e.g., bicycles, control devices, software management, load balancing and maintenance services, etc.). Our hope is that this will result in a significant increase in the number of bike sharing programs, with corresponding environmental, health and economic benefits.

On July 8th, Intel plans to launch a pilot implementation of the system with 30 bicycles on their Ronler Acres and Hawthorne Farms campuses in Hillsboro. They expect to have the technology “fully functioning” by late this summer.

Will this disrupt the current bike share market? Can it work on a larger scale? Stay tuned for more on this exciting project. I’m planning to visit Intel tomorrow for an exclusive look at the science and the people behind the initiative.