At our advocacy meeting last night, someone in attendance asked “why should I participate in the National Bike Challenge?” It’s a simple question and one many people have certainly asked themselves. If you already commute by bike, then why bother? Here are some points to think about:
- Participation in the National Bike Challenge gives advocacy groups, like ourselves, a better understanding of how many people are biking and how much they are biking. We aren’t fooling ourselves, only a fraction of the people who are out and about on bikes each day are likely to ever participate in the challenge, but it is a gauge. At the end of the challenge, we can compare participation last year to this year and it provides us with one metric of whether more people are out on bikes.
- Challenges like this are a perfect way to challenge newcomers and help them become bicycle commuters. It gives people a sense of community and provides motivation to push themselves a bit harder than they would on their own. If you are a seasoned bike commuter, then you can sign up for the challenge, become familiar with the interface and then become an ambassador to cycling by encouraging friends, co-workers, etc. to join the challenge.
- It’s fun! Even if you are a seasoned bike commuter, there is likely to be someone else involved with the challenge who is pushing themselves harder and putting more miles on their bike than you are. Maybe there is some speed daemon you just can’t best on the road… well perhaps you can squash them when it comes to consistency 😉 Just be careful, it has been known to become addictive.
- Prizes. The more you ride, the better your chances to win a prize.