Sometimes the shortest conversations end up being the bloggfodder that inspires a post.
I was down this morning putting away some of my sweaty gear from the ride into work when another rider came in to park his bike. I don’t know his name but I have seen him around. He mentioned that there were more bikes parked here lately. I commented that it’s probably the combination of the nicer weather and the bike commuter challenge going on for April and May.
He just gave me a weird look, and said, “Yeah, I did that challenge last year. I logged all my miles, and expected to get something at the end. Nothing happened; I didn’t get anything, so I won’t do it this year.”
First some back ground. I am referring to the Adobe Commute Challenge presented by F5. Simply put, May is bike month. The challenge is a simple way to either start or continue to use your bike to commute back and forth to work. All you do is sign up, start or join a team, enter your distance on a bike from your house to work, and then log your trips.
The purpose behind the challenge is simple: Encouraging those people who have been considering, but just haven’t pulled the trigger, to saddle up and ride to work. April is a “warm up month” to get used to both commuting and using the tool. The hope, of course, is that in April you will start, then find our how much you enjoy it, and then come May, it will be a habit and you will do even more miles.
Last May: (from the website) riders logged 1.7 million miles (equivalent to taking 1700 cars off the road for a month) and offset 1.6 million pounds -or 86,000 gallons of gasoline worth- of carbon emissions. 3400 of these riders, one of them being myself, bike commuted for the first time. I don’t know how many of these first timers tried it once and decided it was NOT for them, but I am pretty darn sure I can’t be the only one who has continued to commute ever since.
This year, when April hit, I stepped up to the plate and started the team for the Mighty P. Thus far, 4 people have signed up with me, and others are considering it. Its fun, its simple and our local bike club has events and way stops all month-long. (I am going to miss the big event this month, the bike to work day, it’s the only day of the year I ate more calories than I got rid of on my commute to work! Michelle and I are on vacation that day)
Which brings me back to the comment from the person today. I honestly did not understand the need to ‘get something’ out of it. He already bike commutes, so I am going to assume he enjoys it. Signing up for the team, and logging the miles encourages others to do so as well. Having your name on the team also makes you a potential resource for questions.
I’ve had 2 people (one who is now on the team and one who is giving it serious consideration) approach me for tips and info. One just needed to know where the secure bike area was. The other, though, was concerned about the route he would have to take. His wife didn’t want him (nor would mine) to have to deal with Mercer St. (It’s ugly even for cars). I gave him a simple alternate route that adds about 1.5 miles but is VERY bike friendly.
And that, to me, is purpose of this challenge. I love cycling; anyone who has read my blog or seen my pics knows this. When I like something, I am excited to have others try it as well. I tried to explain that this was the goal of challenge. The more who ride, the healthier we are and the fewer cars that are road. The air quality gets better, people are in better moods, and over all life is better. I reveived another perplexed look.
But as we know, different people are motivated by different things. I am just happy I rode in this morning. It was hard, but a crappy bike commute beats an easy car commute anyday!