Fall is coming, and in Oregon, unlike in the many places that foolishly declare May to be their official bike month, that means it’s time for the annual Bike Commute Challenge.
A major annual project of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, it’s grown into one of the most popular and successful bike-to-work challenges anywhere, spawning fun rivalries like the Intel-vs-Nike matchup highlighted at right. (More on that in a moment.) In the last two years, the friendly workplace-to-workplace competition has attracted 12,000 Oregonians on about 1,400 teams logging their trips by both frequency and distance.
“Per-capita participation in our program is bigger than in any other program I’m aware of,” BTA Deputy Director Steph Noll said Wednesday.
This year, Noll’s team is making it easier for blue-collar workers to participate by offering cards with radio-frequency chips in selected workplaces.
“They’ll be able to enter a commute just by scanning a card as opposed to logging on to a computer,” Noll said. “That’ll make the whole thing more accessible if you’re not in a computer-based workplace.”
They’ve also hired coordinator Aaron Brown, a Washington County native, and looped in community outreach coordinator Elizabeth Quiroz, a Spanish speaker, to power up involvement at more suburban and East Portland employers.
Brown described the challenge as “the gamification of bike commuting,” an excuse for bike-curious workers to learn their commutes and for regular bike commuters to get support from their managers.
“The Bike Commute Challenge kind of creates the legitimacy avenues for that one bike geek in the office to say, hey, it would be really cool if we had showers,” Brown said.
Brown said 88 local bike shops are participating too, offering 10 percent discounts to challenge participants.
This morning, the Challenge scored some fun exposure when Intel’s official Twitter account sent this clever in-house concept to its 1.9 million followers:
Nerds & Jocks square off! Intel battles @Nike for bike lane supremacy. Pick a side and show your support. #bikemore pic.twitter.com/19ms6oovxg
— Intel (@intel) August 28, 2013
Brown said he’d pitched some contacts at Intel’s big Hillsboro facility on an idea Noll often likes to emphasize to participants: It’s easy for any workplace, team or group of friends to use the “league” system on the BCC website to pit themselves against any other set of teams.
“I was thinking they would challenge one building versus another,” Brown said. “They were like, ‘No man, we’ve got to go after Nike.'”
We’re eager to see if the celebrated marketing team at Beaverton-based Nike will have the guts to respond.
You can sign up for the challenge electronically, join a team or become the first member of a new team at BikeCommuteChallenge.com.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.
a ton of bike shops already offer this 10% discount to BTA members. This can make membership a worthwhile investment for many commuters
They should up the ante, and do the Bike Commute Challenge in February!
I feel bad for my former co-workers who are now at Nike. They’re nerds, not jocks – how do their miles count? 😉
not sure what’s wrong with the bikecommutechallenge.com web site but once I log in I can only go to the Donate page no matter which browser I’m using… every link I click on their site redirects to the Donate page…
Hey Spiffy, mind sending me an email with your problem? I’ll do my best to walk you through it and figure out why the website is hiccuping. (This goes for anyone else reading the article and having trouble with the website, by the way. Feel free to send me an email at help at btaoregon dot org.
Nate Young’s suggestion worked… but the web site could be clearer…
I had the same problem yesterday. Once I put in $0 in the last “Choose your own amount” box, it let me through.
Still, not conducive to newbies or marginally interested peeps.
THANKS! that worked… I entered in 0 and now I can access the rest of the site… got myself updated and ready to log miles…
yeah, I suppose if I was really paying attention I would have read the part that says I could choose $0… not very intuitive… it should really tell you in red somewhere what you’re doing wrong…
In past years, Nike has had a long team list, but maybe a third of them do any actual riding, says the former Nike contractor who was a 100% participant for them. Intel gets my commute miles this time.
Clydesdale Fred – Jock or nerd?
…and Washingtonians participate in the BCC.
Why’s the nerd have to be an Asian guy?
Why does the jock have to be white?
Yeah, and how come they’re both men?
Maybe one or both of them are gay?
I think canines are extremely under-represented in this advert. Shame on you, BTA.
I’ve got skin in this game.