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'Carefree Commuter Challenge' starts July 1st

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 27th, 2013 at 3:23 pm

The Carefree Commuter Challenge starts next month and the folks at Drive Less Save More are expecting over 2,000 people from across the region to take part.

The Challenge is just one component of a state-funded marketing program aimed at encouraging folks to get around with something other than their car. Drive Less Save More was launched by the Oregon Department of Transportation in 2006 and since then they've partnered up with organizations throughout the state to promote biking, walking, carpooling and transit.

Kelly Bantle, who handles communications for Drive Less Save More, says last year's Challenge had 1,500 participants from all over the Portland region including Hillsboro, Gresham, and even Wilsonville. People register by signing into DriveLessConnect.com and logging their trips. Once signed up, folks can tap into a number of resources like like connecting with other participants via Facebook, finding a biking partner, and tracking how much money and gas they've saved by not driving alone.

This year, pay-by-the-mile auto insurance company (and esteemed BikePortland advertising partner) MetroMile has joined the event as a sponsor. They're giving 200 participants a chance to use one of their Metronomes to track how much they're driving. The idea is that by knowing how much driving costs, they'll drive less. People who participate through MetroMile in the "Challenge+" program will get a $20 Fred Meyer gift card and be eligible for an iPad. MetroMile will create a "Leaderboard" on their online interface and participants will compete to see who can drive the fewest miles. Check out MetroMile.com/challenge for more details.

"Everyone likes the challenge," says Bantle, "and it's good to have some carrots out there to encourage other ways to get around." Bantle adds that there are also 100 $25 Fred Meyer gift cards and seven iPads up for grabs for anyone who signs up (there's a minimum of two logged trips for the gift cards and 15 trips for the iPads).

In addition to getting free stuff, Bantle said people really respond to seeing how much they save by not driving alone. "We get the gas bill and see it's $50, but it's really more like thousands of dollars over the course of the year." Getting fit is another attraction says Bantle. "A lot of us just can't make it into the gym, especially those of us with kids, and a lot of women are gravitating toward biking for their commute to lose those few extra pounds."

The Westside Transportation Alliance is hosting a kick-off for the Challenge at Morgy's Pub and Grill at the Hawthorne Farms MAX station at 5:30.

Sign up for the Challenge at DriveLessConnect.com.

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Comments
  • David June 27, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Did this have a different name last year?

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    • David June 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Whoops never mind. I was thinking of the Bike Commute Challenge.

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    • bent June 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      there is also the bikecommutechallenge.com. but i think that is later in the year, aug or sept.

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  • Slow Joe Crow June 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I'd love to do this except I'm on vacation in July and I'm only working 3 days.

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    • A.K. June 28, 2013 at 10:03 am

      Bike those three days and get an easy 100% bike to work rate! ;)

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  • Westside Transportation Alliance June 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Hi Folks - The Westside Transportation Alliance is doing a kick-off TONIGHT at Morgy's Pub and Grill at the Hawthorne Farms MAX station at 5:30. Please stop by and join on your way home!

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  • canuck June 28, 2013 at 5:56 am

    There's also the National Bike Challenge. Runs for 5 months May through September. http://www.nationalbikechallenge.org

    Uses the endomondo app to record distance time etc and

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  • Rebecca June 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I'd recommend trying the Metromile trial thing if you drive once in awhile, especially if you can get a gift card out of it through this event. The estimate you get using their website's online calculator seems to come out a little high (I wasn't impressed, anyways) - but I did their trial back in March and the rate I got based on my actual driving amounts was pretty great. Possibly because having someone put a price tag on your moments of laziness can be an effective means of reducing vehicular VMT.

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