Posted by: Jack | June 28, 2007

Bicycle Commuter Contest

Today Anna and I received our rewards for participating in the InterCity Transit Bicycle Commuter Contest for the month of May. Most of the rewards come in the form of coupons for various local businesses and collectively they make up a pretty sweet deal.

Along with the coupons was a letter of thanks and congratulations which detailed some of the resulting benefits from the contest. Some of the more significant items are:

  • Over 1000 participants (1 out of every 200 people in Thurston County)
  • 87,500+ miles commuted on bicycles, ~25 miles commuted on unicycle (not actually mentioned in the letter but probably should have been)
  • Prevention of 80,000 lbs. of CO2 being released into the environment
  • Saved over 200 barrels of oil or approximately 5000 gallons of gasoline

One fact I find especially significant about this contest is that participants have to pay ($7.50) to enter and be eligible for the prizes. Given the fairly small monetary value of the rewards, it’s apparent that a majority of participants entered based on other motivations. I personally entered just for the fun of participating in a sort of group activity. What I didn’t consider were the effects that the month of riding would have on my awareness. Having biked from the far West side of Olympia to the East side of Lacey, and back again, a number of times I’ve come to realize how reasonable and fairly efficient it is to bike from any point to any other point within the cities. And with the ever-so-small encouragement of the contest I was able to slide the fulcrum on the scale between biking and driving a little further away from the biking side. Despite the lack of a contest this month I find that I’m biking quite a bit more than I did during May and far more than I ever have in my life.

I’ve been seriously considering trading in my mountain bike for a speedy road bike and possibly even a single speed. And if I were to do a single speed I think I would opt for a fixed gear (No freewheel mechanism: if the rear wheel rotates then the pedals rotate, just like on a unicycle). A bike like mine is generally about half as efficient as a well maintained road bike due to rolling friction, air resistance and to a lesser extent, weight (depending on speed). With a nice road bike I could undoubtedly get around faster and likely do so with less effort. This would certainly have an even greater effect on the tipping point between biking and driving.

I think I may go to a bike shop right now and take a few test rides.



  1. Good for you and Anna and the thousand plus others who participated! Am sending you some information on an educational site called “Ideal Bite” via email from which I receive daily eco tips. It’s enlightening and fun!


  2. Hi Jack…I coordinated the BCC last year and am starting the planning for the 2008 contest. I googled BCC to see what would come up and voila…I found your entry. I have to say that I was very pleased after reading it and this is precisely what the BCC is all about. It is NOT about winning the prizes or receiving the coupons (although they are nice incentives), it is about realizing how feasible bicycle commuting really is, providing awareness (the more people register, the more visibility we bike commuters get) and the impact it makes on our community. Send me an email if you’d like and maybe I could interview you for an entry in the BCC blog?! Did you find a road bike/fixie? Hope you and Anna sign up again this year! kerry

  3. Good reading cool blog!

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