Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on August 31st, 2007 at 12:03 pm
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)
The BTA’s eighth annual Bike Commute Challenge starts tomorrow, offering participants who work weekends an opportunity to get an early jump on the competition.
The statewide event pits companies against each other and they compete based on percentage of possible trips taken by bike, (not mileage). Each company registers online, and winners from are chosen from different categories based on their number of employees.
Last year, 6,000 people from 550 companies “competed” in the Challenge and this year, the BTA’s Events and Outreach Director Michelle Poyourow says she hopes for 7,000 people and 600 companies to participate.
Poyourow has high expectations thanks in part because of a grant from Metro (a presenting sponsor along with OHSU) that has allowed her to hire two, full-time assistants to help with outreach during the event. In an interview this morning she said, “Last year it was just me, working at a bar until 1am every night.”
The added personnel will also help the BTA wage an all-out assault on businesses to encourage more employees to go by bike.
One way they hope to accomplish this is by spending time in workplaces, talking with people about bike commuting and offering resources and help as needed.
Poyourow says, “We expect to do 100 workplace visits where we’ll go in and work closely with employees to find out what barriers they have to riding and give them whatever resources they need”.
The event might get people riding in September, but Poyourow says the real goal is to create year-round commuters. “The Challenge is about creating new commuters year-round. If they only ride in September that’s OK too. Those people will become better drivers and come away with more skills and be more likely to keep it up.”
As part of their grant from Metro, the BTA has also expanded the Challenge into the Portland Public School system.
Poyourow said their Safe Routes to Schools program has had a ripple effect, creating more interest than ever in bike commuting, “We’ve seen a lot of interest from parents and teachers. They’ve signed their schools up for the Challenge…I think they see their kids riding and think, ‘hey, I can do that’.”
The Bike Commute Challenge party and awards ceremony (which is always a fun event) is slated for October 4th.
For more details and to register your company, visit BikeCommuteChallenge.com.