The Pittsburgh Region in the National Bike Challenge, that’s what!
This past Friday the National Bike Challenge concluded. Over 30,000 people signed up and rode over 12,000,000 miles nationwide. Pittsburgh’s numbers were solid. In the end we logged enough commuting miles to keep nearly 350,000 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere. Combined with our recreational miles we burned almost 8,000,000 calories and rode well over 350,000 miles. All told we placed 36th of hundreds of cities nationwide, and the largest metro area in the top 40.
People who haven’t ridden in years or are new to bicycling were inspired to ride. This was especially true for people who joined teams. Teams were comprised of up to 10 people made up of friends, colleagues, or even strangers who all share a passion for riding, well in theory anyways. Some people were not very consistent about logging their miles, but the one’s who were, did it religiously. It was often easy to spot Challenge participants too. They had a smart phone in hand at the start and end of their ride automatically tracking their progress with an easy to use app. Lucia Aguirre from team Velomuse, a women’s Mountain Biking club, noted “it was quite funny when going out riding with people, at the end/beginning of the ride we would pull our smartphones and make sure that we recorded all the miles.” What she liked best about the Challenge is the way it brought recreational riders and commuters together as a community.
The National Bike Challenge was also a way for local companies to encourage their employees to bicycle more. According to Phyllis Barber, Sustainability Coordinator at Highmark, “The Bike Challenge [allowed] our employees, both bike commuters and recreational cyclists, in all locations to participate. It [created] awareness regarding the collective positive effects of biking on individual health and the environment.”
Wrap Party tomorrow evening
To celebrate the Pittsburgh region’s efforts in the National Bike Challenge this year BikePGH will host a Wrap Party at OTB on the South Side tomorrow evening Friday September 7th. Trophies will be awarded to the top team, TAG-O-RAMA-GETTERS, and the region’s lead mile getter Yale Cohen. Originally top employers were going to receive awards too, but it was impossible to make fair comparisons based on the numbers made available to BikePGH.
As far as Lucia’s “second great motivator” to participate in the Challenge, well, it was Pedal for Pints of course, OTB’s gift of a beer to riders who reached key milestones through the duration of the competition. The Wrap Party is the last chance for riders to redeem their 2012 points for a pint. Way to Go Pittsburgh, Way to Go!
Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! We need you to add your voice! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect cyclist’s rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out: www.bike-pgh.org/membership