BTA toasts participants, success of 16th annual commute ‘Challenge’

Posted by on October 7th, 2011 at 10:24 am

Did we win?!
(Photos: Will Vanlue)

Photos and story by Will Vanlue

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) celebrated another successful Bike Commute Challenge with a party in Memorial Coliseum last night.

For the sixteenth year in a row the BTA’s annual competition encouraged commuters around the Portland metro area to ride their bicycle to work during the month of September. Although the event is a friendly competition, this year the BTA encouraged participants to “throw down” and challenge friends and other teams to see who would ride their bicycle to work most often.

And throw down they did.

A record 12,063 people — over 2,000 of which were new to bike commuting — logged a total of 1,372,619 miles during the month of September. For perspective, that many miles burns roughly as many calories as are in 95,537 Big Macs. It’s also the equivalent distance as traveling from here to the moon nearly six times, or from Seattle to Portland 7,888 times.

But the big question is, which local teams and companies had the highest percentage of trips taken by bike? Check out the results below:

And there were two other big awards handed out to the best team captains and the person who rides the most miles…

Brad Buchanan Team Captain Award, presented by Emerita:
Winners: Frank Charron and Derwyn Harris of Jama Software Inc.

Frank and Derwyn motivated and supported riders with a photo contest, group rides, homemade smoothies, and mechanical support. They created lasting institutional change to support biking at their company with the installation of a new custom bike rack and the acquisition of office bikes for employee use.

Brian Reynolds Distance Award to commuter with highest mileage:
Winner: Dave Weber of NW Natural with 1096 miles in 20 days of commuting.

Dave commutes from his home near Mulino, OR to the NW Natural office in Portland.

To celebrate, the BTA toasted participants with all the Hotlips pizza, Hopworks beer, and groovy beats from DJ Amanda Sundvor they could handle.

BTA staffer Gerik Kransky shaves his boss’s beard.

Along with the competitions between workplaces and commute teams, one more challenge was thrown down this year: Rob Sadowsky, the BTA’s Executive Director, agreed to have his beard shaved off at the Awards Party if the BTA signed up 50 new members last night.

As you can see by the above, they did. The BTA quickly hit the goal and Sadoswky found himself without facial hair for the first time in six years.

This year’s Bike Commute Challenge was another success for the BTA, topping last year’s numbers and approaching the level of participation we see at the Bridge Pedal or World Naked Bike Ride. The event is another example of the exciting and fun direction the BTA has taken under Sadowsky’s direction.

Congrats to all the participants… Now let’s keep the riding going!

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    9watts October 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Mulino to NW Portland and back every day. Wow! Can we hear a bit more about that?

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      Lance P. October 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      Agree. Can you interview him and write up a blog about his epic commute?

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      Will Vanlue (Contributor) October 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      I’m working on getting in touch with Mr. Weber. Just like you, I’m excited to hear more about how he logged nearly 1100 miles commuting on his bike in September!

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    Madeye October 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

    It was well organized, but the pizza kept disappearing 🙂 Go OHSU AllStars – 29,633 miles!

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    roger noehren October 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    When a company’s ridership is 100%, does that mean that every employee rode to work and back every workday or that the employees participating in the challenge did?

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      JRB October 10, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Should be the former. Every employee rode every day to work and back.

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      Will Vanlue (Contributor) October 10, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      Here’s the wording on how the scores were calculated, straight from

      This is how we calculate that number for each workplace:

      Participants tell us how many days in September they worked and how many of those days they biked. We assume that all the non-participating employees at the workplace work the same average number of days in September.

      We multiply the total number of employees at that workplace by the assumed average number of workdays per employee in the month to get the total number of commutes at that workplace in September. We then divide the number of bike commutes logged through the BCC by that workplace by the total commutes at that workplace to get the percent of commutes taken by bike.

      Bike commutes taken by employees who are not participating in the BCC are not counted. A deviation between the average work schedule of BCC participants and that of their non-participating coworkers cannot be counteracted (this is a good reason to get a variety of employees to participate).

      team commute rate = sum(team_member_rates) / total_number_of_employees

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    Steph Noll October 10, 2011 at 7:26 am

    100% in the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge means 100% of all possible trips made by bike by all employees.

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    Owen Spencer October 10, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Thanks again for all the riders who came out to celebrate. It was blast working with the BTA on this years Challenge!

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