For the past three years Daylight has participated in the September Bike Challenge, a one month competition put on by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that sets workplace against workplace to determine who can bike to work more often. As Daylight’s team is comprised of many bikers and because Daylight strives to engage in environmentally-friendly events around Portland as much as possible, the September Bike Challenge is a natural fit as through this campaign the BTA seeks to shed light on the many advantages of bike commuting over car commuting, not only for the individual, but for our city too. A team can have a general standing or compete with other teams directly. This year our friends at Conveyor threw down the gauntlet and we were more than happy to rise to the challenge. Although it was a tight race to the finish, Daylight came out victorious with over 60% commutes done by bike and 700+ miles logged!
Although half of Daylight already bikes to work regularly, there were those that really rose to the challenge of ditching the convenience of the car and pedaled to work instead, no small feat. I, however, did not participate this year (something a certain Digital Producer named Anna gave me quite a bit of grief about), but I did ask Daylight participants to answer a simple question – what motivated you to participate in the September Bike Challenge? Check out what they had to say.
“The majority of our team are already daily commuters, but the addition of less frequent and new riders brings the larger group together around a common goal—which this year included the extra incentive of trying to top our longtime content partner Conveyor. More than anything, I enjoyed hearing Dan and Tyler discuss the true definition of what a “work commute” is and if one commuted by way of say, Salem, whether or not that could be counted in their total miles.”
“I like to commute by bike as much as possible and encourage others to leave their cars behind and try biking when they can. It’s a great opportunity to clear your head, get daily exercise, and (if you’re the competitive type) see how many people you can pass. I love that the September Bike Challenge draws attention to this form of earth-friendly transportation and challenges people to give it a try. One month is a solid amount of time to acclimate and adapt to the challenge. Additionally, biking in September, with the scent of fall and the sounds of crunching leaves beneath your tires, simply can’t be beat!”
“My motivation for doing the Bike Challenge is participating in a friendly competition with my coworkers. The participants in the challenge are regular commuters so it’s unfair to call it a “challenge” seeing that it’s already a normal behavior. Some metrics, like “distance” for example, cannot be readily changed so for me the competition was in the percentage of days ridden. In the face of some challenges like being injured [editor’s note: Dan is playing modest - this should read ‘breaking my hand’] and having a slew of appointments to deal with, the challenge came in forcing myself to ride when I would have much rather preferred to find some other way in.”
“I bike to work every day, regardless of whether or not there is a bike challenge. However, it’s always fun to see new or infrequent riders up their game.”
“I already bike to work almost every day, so it does less to get me on the bike in the morning but does provide less obvious rewards. It’s a conversation starter, an office bonding agent, and an additional reason to put rain gear on in September when it’s supposed to be dry. The event also helps brings awareness to our city’s traffic issue. I think the Bike Commute Challenge is a great social service that promotes bike commuting by leveraging the active participants Portland is known for.”
“I’ve bike commuted since I moved here in 2007 until a couple months ago when I found myself with a car and a desire to change the routine. So my motivation this year for the Bike Commute Challenge was to see if getting back on the bike was exciting again. I had a great time getting back on the bike. I like how free it feels, being outside in the elements, and how it’s lighter on the environment, even if my body is still figuring out how to make friends with the bike seat again.”
It was a solid effort from everyone involved, and just like Isaac from Conveyor said, it’s a win for all. And in my guilt for not participating this year I vowed to do so next year. Anna made sure to capture a screenshot of my written promise for her records and will gladly throw it in my face if I make any excuses. Plus, I’m sure Conveyor will be ready for some payback, so I better get ready.