Bike to work challenge

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Monday, May 12, 2008
By Yokota Fritz

My employer's Eco Responsibility group and fitness center is offering incentives to those who can spend 2,000 minutes biking to work over the next 12 weeks to promote alternative transportation, environmental awareness and wellness. The human resources department sent an email to all USA employees promoting this program, and I've actually heard people who normally don't bike to work in the hallway talking about it.

2,000 minutes is a genuine challenge -- it'll take effort even for me to get those many hours in. I know the people who put this program together, but unfortunately I don't think it will do anything to encourage newbies to try bike commuting.


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Bit of a silly way to promote cycle commuting - by creating or reinforcing a perception that it takes time.

2000 minutes? That's 33 hours - and nobody has a spare 33 hours to "waste" riding a bike, regardless of the fact that they're probably already wasting most (or all) of this time sitting in a car.
This might be a little steep, but it's actually not that unreasonable. 12 weeks is 60 "work" days, so it comes out to 33 minutes per day (round trip) if you were commuting every work day. Which is only going to be, say, 6-7 miles (round-trip) for someone just getting started. Unless you're in a pretty urban center, most people likely live further away than that from work.

If you realistically go on the fact that people are more likely to do 2 or 3 days a week, it's comes out to a 33 minute trip each way at which point that 6-7 miles is each way. Still not much for a spread out area, but starting to be more plausible.
Maybe it's geared more toward gearheads?
"Incentive." Ha! Those that meet the challenge are eligible for a raffle that might get a jersey. Talk about incentive!
...fritz...i would guess the main point would be that your company is at least making a consideration...the next step is perhaps helping them set realistic goals for maybe two groups...the regulars like yourself that already bike commute & a program to encourage new &/or occasional commuters...

...a good idea, not particularly well conceived...
I'm with Jeremy.

This seems trivial to me. My commute is about 55 minutes each way by bike, 35-40 minutes average by car. So, 19 days over 12 weeks. That's less than twice a week.

Anybody who is commuting from the "suburbs" of Boston to either Boston or Cambridge probably can't be shorter than a 20 minute one way trip. And the shorter the commute, the more likely that driving takes a substantial fraction of that time that a bike commute would take.
Jennifer, it seems exactly like it's geared to gearheads.

Since the weather has gotten nice, I've been that gearhead.
It is a little bit intimidating to the newbie - but then, newbies do things like sign up for MS 150 rides all the time. They oughter have a 100-minute get-you-hooked mini-incentive (something free like getting your name somewhere)... and a 1000-minute lure... and then the addiction will happen.
For some people it's nothing, for me it would mean adding riding on top of having to do every day possible. My commute is at most 25 min a day, so hitting the 2000 min would take more than 12 weeks or additional time.
Not that I'm whining, but... The bike part of my commute is typically about 25 minutes, so I'll need to get creative and stretch things. I also work from home once a week, plus there's a week of vacation during that time period.

On the internal bicycling discussion list at work, a couple of people joked about doing laps around the parking lot. The parking lot circumference is right at one mile.
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