Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Is New Jersey Up For The National Bike Challenge?

Did somebody get the memo?

Bike Commuter Challenges have been a staple program of Transportation Management Agencies (TMA's) since the 1990's in order to encourage more people to ride to work. Prizes are awarded for people who commute the most times or the most miles. These efforts have been local affairs with each TMA or other alternative transportation group holding their own individual contest with prizes and drawings.

This year with the help of Kimberly-Clark, The League of American Bicyclists , Bikes Belong and the smart phone GPS tracking software from Endomondo that challenge has gone nationwide. The "Get Up And Ride" National Bike Challenge is reaching for the goal of getting 50,000 people to bicycle 10 million miles by August, 31, 2012. Since May 1st nearly 20,000 people have signed up and logged in more than a half of million miles.

One nice aspect of the challenge is the weight that is given for simply taking a bike ride. You earn 1 point a mile, but each day you ride, no matter how short the trip earns you 20 points. Earning more points puts you in a higher prize category (Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum). So the ├╝ber commuters and roadie cyclists can pile on the miles on to go for the better prizes (which are picked by random drawings) but even someone who takes their bike out on the boardwalk "down the shore" for three days this summer is eligible to win. Participants can also build teams using the Endomondo website and mobile Apps (ITunes) (Google Play) - which has a social networking component. You can for example invite your Facebook Friends to join you or find other people you know already enrolled in the Challenge.

The dynamics are impressive, you can see for instance how communities (metro areas) are stacking up against each other, you can also compare states and workplaces as well as teams.

To date New Jersey has not been a leader in this contest, ranking 43 out of 51 states in points (calculated by participants and miles per capita) tracking well behind the notable bike meccas of Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Out of the 19,780 riders only 212 are from the Garden State.

New Jersey Needs You...To Log Your Bike Trips!

So do your civic duty, sign up for the Challenge and good luck!

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