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BTA staff heads to the bridges to boost ‘Bike Commute Challenge’

Posted by on September 18th, 2014 at 9:38 am

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-1

BTA staffers Amanda Lee Harrison (yellow cap) and Sarah Newsum offering cookies and encouragement to bike commuters in the rain this morning on the Broadway Bridge.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’re more than half way through the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Commute Challenge and the organization is pulling out all the stops to encourage riders to sign up and log their trips.

The Challenge is a friendly competition where workplaces sign up and compete against each other to see who can log the most trips. So far this year over 9,000 riders from 1,126 teams are taking part. As of this morning they’ve logged a total 623,179 miles.

To get even more people involved, BTA Communications Assistant Sarah Newsum and Bike Commute Challenge Program Assistant Amanda Lee Harrison were out on the Broadway Bridge this morning (despite the light rain) holding signs and passing out cookies and bike bells. As dozens of riders backed up at the bike signal on the west end of the bridge at the Lovejoy ramp, Newsum and Lee Harrison offered their gifts while reminding/encouraging everyone to log into the Challenge website.

BTA staff promoting Bike Commute Challenge-2

Lee Harrison trudged through bike traffic to get the point across.

The Bike Commute Challenge has become a very successful program for the BTA. It not only encourages more people to ride bikes more often, but it also introduces the organization to new potential corporate and individual supporters. To help make this the largest event ever, Newsum says they plan to continue the “Meet the BTA staff on the bridges” promotion next week.

Is your workplace taking part in this competition? We’ve noticed lots of full bike racks downtown and there’s a noticeable uptick in bike traffic around the central city.

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bryan
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bryan

Bank of the Cascades doubled the number of riders this year, and have riders in Bend, Portland and Eugene.

F.W. de Klerk
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F.W. de Klerk

Ohhh look at those awful bright headlights a couple of those riders are using.

Jeff
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Jeff

I personally hope they are both extra bright and extra blinky.

dan
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dan

LOL, my coworker told off these two nice ladies because he hates to share the bike lanes with the 15 day a year riders that come out for Bike Commute Challenge. He said they looked rather crestfallen.

VTRC
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VTRC

There’s some reasons to be critical of the BTA and the Commute Challenge. Still, it’s a pretty neat event that gets my workplace excited and gets some new people on the road. If we do our jobs right as captains those new people have a good first experience with the support of the experienced riders around them, and hopefully come to see bike commuting as a viable way to get to work.

At least that’s how I feel as a workplace captain.

Karl Dickman
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Your coworker does not sound like a nice person. The opposite, in fact.

Lenny Anderson
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Lenny Anderson

Daimler riders are shooting for “around the world” 25K miles!

Matt
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Matt

Dang it, I missed cookies? : I ride that bridge every morning. I have to get my timing down better for these events. I am at 100% Challenge participation and 340 miles. I deserve a cookie.

Dan
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Dan

I was too early, going by around 6:30am. 🙁

Jason Brune
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Jason Brune

I was going to say the same thing. Nobody is ever around with cookies, coffee, or bells at 6am.

Frank
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Frank

I support any effort to encourage bike commuting, but imagine that you are out of shape and haven’t ridden a bike since high school. Is this the kind of thing that would get you to try bike commuting? I started riding four or five years ago because one summer day I was riding the bus. We were packed in like cattle, it was hot and someone’s armpit was in my face. I looked out the window and saw some pudgy guy like me in street clothes on a bike. It looked SO much more pleasant. I bought a bike and have never looked back: I now commute year-round by bike.

Things that did NOT encourage me, and turned me off from trying it? Gear-heads in Lycra, looking like they are sponsored on the way to work. Expensive bikes and bike clothes. Total jocks on bikes. Hipsters. Riders running red lights (when I was driving).

Just my opinion, but it seems to me that rather than be challenged, maybe whats needed is a campaign that points out: its for everybody. Its easy. Its fun. Its relaxing. You can wear normal clothes if you want. It beats the hell out of any other transportation method. Its actually pleasant in the rain. Overweight people like me can do it (and in short order no longer overweight).

Dan
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Dan

Frank
Gear-heads in Lycra, looking like they are sponsored on the way to work. Expensive bikes and bike clothes. Total jocks on bikes.

Judgy much?

VTRC
Guest
VTRC

There seems to be a group of people that show up every Summer using MUPs for training without the patience or understanding of the other, slower, users of it.

Just one of the frustrations of Summer riding as the infrastructure we have gets used more.

Frank
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Frank

No, not judgy. If you want to increase bike commuting (as opposed to racing or organized rides) you have to appeal to the every-person. The lycra-clad jock (some of of whom I count among my friends) do not accomplish this, and besides, they are already a captive audience.

If you wanted to try ANY new sport, you would likely be discouraged if the only people you saw doing it looked like they were semi-pro. Don’t get me wrong; wear lycra. And if you are sponsored on the way to work, then lucky you. But if organizations like the BTA want new people to try bike commuting (not racing mind you, commuting) they might want to try appealing to a broader audience. As has been said before in these forums, look at Europe. Plenty o’ lycra over there… but also plenty of folks in wool street clothes, just getting around. And not because they are being “challenged”.

It is human nature to be far more willing to try something if you can identify with those doing it.

F.W. de Klerk
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F.W. de Klerk

Can we get any softer?

Frank
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Frank

Portland cyclists certainly can’t get much more arrogant looking. Nonriders hate us.

jeff
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jeff

wow, Franky, bitter much as you speak in completely vapid generalizations?

VTRC
Guest
VTRC

There are many many barriers to bike commuting. There are countless places where the BTA could focus their time and effort to help that number. I think there are some culture issues with bike commuting that could make it more approachable, just look at the conflict that happens any time we have post criticizing any particular behavior, or face melting lights. There are infrastructure issues. Training issues.

But honestly, complaining about the clothes that road riders wear is at the absolutely bottom of the list of what the BTA or anyone else should worry about.

And bike commuting isn’t a sport.

John Liu
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John Liu

I’m always baffled why there is such a fixation on, or hostility to, or insecurity about, Lycra here. Why do we care what other riders wear?

Personally, I don’t judge people for wearing what they like, and <5% of the bike commuters I see are in full Lycra.

Frank
Guest
Frank

Wearing a full Lycra suit with sponsor logos on it for a short commute is like wearing a full Lycra ski race suit on the bumble bee beginner run. Think: pedestrian wearing shoulder pads.

It certainly makes an impression. But maybe not the one intended.

jeff
Guest
jeff

you are a angry little guy. do you always make it a habit to judge huge groups of individuals based on what they wear?

jeff
Guest
jeff

ever stop to think why some of those people are wearing kits? maybe its’ all they have or have spent $$ on? maybe they’re on their way to a training ride? a race? lunch time exercise?

better question, why do you feel so intimidated by it all?

Frank
Guest
Frank

Ah here we go. Because I point out that many people think Lycra as standard commute wear looks ridiculous I’m “little” and “angry”.

Hey feel free to make me the punching bag. That’s fine. When I hear non-riders complain and read O-Live comments, I hear two things: running red lights and Lycra. again and again and again. But I guess I must have imagined it.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Your mistake is reading Oregon Live comments. A cesspool of dumbness there.

People should wear whatever they want to. It is none of anyone else’s business. If someone is intimidated by what other people wear, that’s entirely his own problem.

VTRC
Guest
VTRC

They’re pants, they work well for riding, and they don’t hurt anybody.

Besides, given our race scene and our country roads maybe the people that wear them have good reasons to.

Wear what you like and try not to read Oregon Live Comments. I don’t and I’m happiest that way.

Dan
Guest
Dan

If people want to put on the race kit for a short ride, who cares? But here’s my MO: <1 mile = skateboard. 5 miles = kit. But honestly, I rarely get on a bike for less than 10 miles, including my commutes.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Should say “less than 5 miles = street clothes, greater than 5 miles = kit”.