Rising to the April Challenge
The Bike Easy April Challenge will go on! … with significant changes
By Dan Favre, Executive Director
I hope you and yours are hanging in there right now. I wanted to take a moment to tell you why I’m excited that we’re moving forward with the Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, and modifying it to adapt to this moment.
These are unsettling times, but for me, going on solo bike rides has helped me maintain balance, and only riding by myself helps protect me and everyone else from COVID-19.
At Bike Easy, we want to support and encourage everyone to bask in the stress-relieving, health- and immunity-boosting benefits of biking. That’s why we are moving forward with the Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, while limiting it to solo rides, or riding with members of your household only.
Unfortunately but necessarily, Bike to Work Day, Bike to Worship Weekend, and all the associated in-person events have been cancelled or postponed.
But you can still register for the fun, free Bike Easy April Challenge today!
We made this decision after consulting with local and state health officials, and all of us are excited about offering this fun, free competition as a safe and healthy way to get outside and stay active during this time.
The Challenge begins on April 1st, less than a week from when I’m writing this, so make sure to register today!
Most importantly, this year, only solo and family rides are allowed. Social distancing and staying home are crucial to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. Riding can only be done by yourself or with the family members that are hunkering down with you. When you’re out riding, make sure to maintain a safe social distance of at least 6 feet from anyone else you pass or come across.
For more general tips on riding during the COVID-19 crisis, check out our blog post and this great article from bicycling.com. For general information on staying healthy and protecting our community, check out the detailed resources at www.ready.nola.gov.
The Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, is a month-long, friendly competition that aims to get more people on bikes. You earn points for yourself and your team by riding your bike, you get even more points by encouraging other people to ride their bikes. And then you earn even more points if the people you inspire to join the Challenge are new to riding. It uses competition to build the biking community and help more people experience the joy of biking.
This year, while the competition still exists, we’ll be more focused on individual health and community-building via the online platform as our main motivations to participate. Register today and be entered into a prize drawing just for signing up!
Normally, the teams are workplace-based, but this year especially, we recognize that work is non-existent or uncertain for many, so teams can be formed by any “organization”. Maybe you’ll organize a team of the parents (who are now also playing teacher) at your kids’ school, or maybe you’ll create your team with fellow furloughed employees from a local bar, or maybe it’s just a big group of your friends.
And of course, workplaces are still great, and this can be a fantastic way for folks to continue building workplace culture with employees who are now working from home and for the essential service providers biking to work.
You can only be on one team (choose wisely!), and there are some no-go’s for teams (i.e. no bicycling club teams) in order to keep the competition fair and accessible to new riders. The whole point is to help get more people, and especially folks who don’t normally do so, to experience the joy of riding!
To keep the competition fair, organizations, even under this loose definition, need to be able to approximate how many people are part of the organization. This is different from the size of the team, which is how many people are registered for the Challenge, and it defines how many people are able to join the team. Since the focus is on bringing new people to biking, you’ve got to recruit people from your organization to join that organization’s Bike Easy April Challenge team. For example, Bike Easy has 7 staff, so we’re in the “6 – 10 Person Organization category”, and it’s up to our Champion, David, to ensure that we’ve all joined the Challenge team and are logging our rides to earn points.
Each team is led by a Champion that organizes, informs, and motivates their team members to log rides and participate, and we provide lots of resources and support for Champions. Please note: if you are the first person on a team to register, you’re automatically tagged as the Champion, but you can easily switch that later.
Through our partnership with LoveToRide, you can do a lot more than earn points for the competition. You can set personal goals and watch your progress towards them, learn tips and tricks for biking and bike maintenance, read other people’s stories & share your own, interact – with proper social distance! – with members of the bike community, earn special badges by completing certain tasks, discover great routes, and track your rides. And, of course, there is still the friendly competition, if that’s what motivates you. The full details and rules are available at http://www.lovetoride.net/bikeeasy.
These are extraordinary times, and we agonized over the decision to continue with the Bike Easy April Challenge – Powered by Entergy this year, especially as literally everything else we had planned for this spring has been cancelled or postponed. After consulting with local and state health officials and hearing from so many of you, we’re confident this is the right call. Of course, if anything changes, we’ll adapt quickly and accordingly.
Along with the incredible benefits to individuals from riding alone to make it through these strange days, this is about keeping up the incredible momentum that currently exists for better biking. The City of New Orleans just completed a new protected bike lane in Algiers that is kicking off a rapid expansion of the low-stress bikeway network, we’ve been pulling together regional stakeholders to develop a unified vision for the regional Bootlace Trail Network, more and more people are participating in safety education workshops – for biking and driving around people biking… and to keep a strong base of support for all that work, we want to help people keep riding (alone for now!).
Speaking of sustained momentum, Bike Easy wouldn’t be able to do this without our long-time sponsors and partners at Entergy, Bike Law Louisiana, and Blue Bikes. Huge props to them for continuing to support this important work despite all that’s happened in recent weeks.
This year, the Bike Easy April Challenge, powered by Entergy, is our opportunity to provide a little light in dark times and keep us moving towards a brighter future for Greater New Orleans.