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Bike Commute Challenge wraps up with big party at City Hall

Posted by on October 11th, 2013 at 10:03 am

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.

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  • Todd Boulanger October 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    …so for those fashionably late you suggest BYOP…bring your own pizza. ‘-)

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  • Todd Boulanger October 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Image the staff meeting at the BTA on October 1…when it was learned that the BTA did not pull off 100% of all rides ridden for the month of September…I mean 93.70% rate is great but for the host entity…our coach would have made us do wind sprints…unless they got a hall pass from Timo or St Lucia ;-)

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    • Rob Sadowsky October 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      It’s partly my fault. I took a plane to Vegas for Interbike and used light rail for one leg each day.

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      • Lillian Karabaic October 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        You can count your bike commute, Rob, if you bike only one way. You should’ve checked with your coordinators or read the FAQ!

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  • Paula F October 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Our company participation in the BCC was down this year, though we actually have more year-round commute by bike participants. Many decided they did not want to partake – we tried. So, while our BCC was down, our commute by bike has grown.

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    • Mossby Pomegranate October 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Same here. Some people just don’t find messing with the mileage log worth the effort where I work. Though they are pretty diehard year-round commuters.

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  • Terry Nobbe October 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    To Todd I’d like to share that this year I tend to be the person working in the office (one day a week as a volunteer) that rides further than any staffer – 12.5 miles each way.
    Among bike shops, the WashcoBTC Community Bike Center has just two workers that bike commute almost 100% of the time of the 5-6 people that work there on a regular basis. The shop is 10.5 miles from my home.

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  • John Landolfe October 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    I was a little slow on my calculating but I finally got all 31 OHSU teams tallied. Looks like we beat the other regional heavyweights in miles! 40,360 miles for OHSU (24k for Nike; 23k for Intel; 22k for Daimler). We may have aced our competitors in miles but they fairly won in strategy. Tip of the hat and next year we’ll have to figure out how to consolidate our numbers.

    Also: Congrats to our downtown office for taking home a plaque!

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  • John Landolfe October 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Oh I missed City of Portland in that previous comment. They biked 39k miles. And BTA says we (OHSU) biked 41k. We have so many teams I must have missed one!

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  • boneshaker October 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Sorry to be a downer guys, but no matter how you look at it 1.2% and 0.8% are abysmal. It seems our biggest companies could care less if you ride a bike to work or not.

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