Journey to the Bike Easy Challenge
Introduce more new riders and promote more ways for regular riders to connect - Join the Bike Easy Challenge!
Bike Easy Challenge will be back for a second year, April 1 – 30, and this year we’re aiming for over 1500 people to log rides in the region. Organizing various meet-ups, workshops, Blue Bikes sessions, and Challenge check-ins we will make certain participants have a reason to log rides. Register today!
My first exposure to a biking challenge was in April 2015, around when I started working at Bike Easy, with the Bicycle Commute Challenge. The intent was to challenge people around Greater New Orleans to bike to work for a week. During Bike to Work Week 2015, over 200 individuals logged their commute stats by emailing Bike Easy staff directly. Approximately 40 local businesses and organizations competed in the team Commute Challenge. When asked on the last day whether folks would keep riding to work after the Commute Challenge, one rider stated: “The Bicycle Commute Challenge has been useful to demonstrate to me that cycling to my job takes about the same time as my typical combination of driving and walking, and that I can easily adjust my clothing/food/gear to accommodate cycling. I will ride my bike more frequently to work now that I’ve made this clear to myself.”
The Commute Challenge ran similarly in 2016 with overall increased participation. More than 50 organizations competed in the weeklong Challenge and more than 350 riders logged their commutes.
Steadily increasing annual participation, Bike Easy’s Bike to Work activities, events, and celebrations draw more new riders to bicycle commuting and are much-anticipated gatherings for Bike Easy members, supporters and partners. However, we envisioned an even bigger platform for 2017. Quite often, prohibitive factors keep people from riding their bikes to work. We sought a competition that would be open to people who do all kinds of biking – riding with social rides, riding to the store, riding the levee or the Trace – allowing greater participation and interaction among riders across the region.
Partnering with Love to Ride, a platform used nationally and internationally to introduce more people to bike riding, with generous funding from Entergy, SOBI, Bike Law, & GE, we presented the region’s first month-long biking competition called the Bike Easy Challenge. In 2017, over 1,000 people throughout the region registered to participate and over 100 organizations registered teams. Hearing stories from team Champions and individual riders about how much they enjoyed logging their rides, earning badges, and competing against other riders, made it clear that the Bike Easy Challenge was very successful.
One self-identified ‘new rider’ said, “I looked at the stats for the other riders in the challenge to see how they were doing and realized I could actually be competitive!” She went on to log the second most miles in the Female New Rider category. We also heard about innovative tactics from a variety of individuals and organizations to get folks on bikes and to earn more points. One team organized a staff bike ride to a happy hour to get all staff to log a bike ride while another individual staked out a spot on the Tammany Trace and encouraged riders to register, log a ride, and indicate he was their encourager.
Bike Easy Challenge innovates information sharing among riders across our region and encourages riders at all stages to just keep riding. With events like Bike to Work Day, Bike to Worship weekend (new this year!), various happy hours and other gatherings filling up Bike Easy’s April calendar, we look forward to introducing more new riders to biking and promoting ways for regular riders to connect. We’ve come a long way since I started!
Ride a bike and log your rides for the Bike Easy Challenge – our region’s free biking competition, April 1 – 30, for individuals or teams to compete for points, badges, and possible prize giveaways. Register today!