What’s the best way to be an ambassador for bicycling? Simply go out and ride your bike.
That’s what I’ve been doing for all but one of the “30 Days of Biking” this past month, and that’s what I plan to do for the National Bike Challenge, which starts Tuesday and last through the end of August.
The idea, unveiled in March at the National Bike Summit 2012 in Washington DC, seeks to sign up 50,000 people as individuals or team members to ride their bicycles 10 million miles from May 1 to Aug. 31..
When I signed up Sunday night, I was No. 12,048, so they have a way to go until they hit their goal.
As the word “Challenge” is in the name, expect to log your miles at the National Bike Challenge website and then compete with other individuals or teams for points.
You accumulate 1 point for every mile and 20 bonus points for every day you ride. Is it all worth it? Well, there will be prizes.
The bike challenge idea was sparked by Kimberly-Clark researcher Rob Gusky. The company liked the idea and, together with Endomondo and the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, the challenge was launched to K-C employees worldwide and Wisconsin residents.
Now it’s going nationwide.
This just one of countless schemes designed to get people back on their bicycles. I say “back” because most everyone has ridden a bicycle, they just need to start using it again.
There’s the People for Bikes, sponsored by Bikes Belong and SRAM. So far, nearly 500,000 people have signed a pledge to support a bike-friendly future.
There’s the 2-mile Challenge, sponsored by CLIF Bar. Participants sign a pledge to ride their bike on short trips under 2 miles.
There’s also Bike to Work Day (it’s May 18 in Seattle this year) and the corporate challenges associated with that.
The website is set up by Endomondo, a social network for cyclists, runners and other part-time athletes to share their training goals. The mileage logs of the early birds will be reset on May 1.
The video tells how to sign up and how the website works.
As you accumulate your “points” in the Challenge, keep in mind something that I remember when I ride to try and be a good ambassador for bicycling:
Follow the rules of the road. Be courteous. Be safe.
And for heavens sake, smile when you ride that thing. My wife always comments that most cyclists don’t look like they’re having any fun when they ride.