Bike Anchorage & AIA-Alaska 2014 Summer Bike, Walk & Bus Commuter Challenge
Wraps up Summer of Car-free Commuting
Bike Anchorage and AIA-Alaska’s fifth annual Summer Bike, Walk & Bus Commuter Challenge concluded at the end of August with huge success. This fun, free and friendly challenge between businesses, agencies, organizations, any and all places of employment, marked huge success this year by doubling the number of teams and participants competing. Over 120 teams competed with just shy of 1000 participants. A total of 138,990 miles were biked and walked. Add in the bus riders with 59,841 miles and the total comes to just under 200,000 miles commuted in Anchorage without using one’s car. And that’s just the people who signed up and logged their trips each day they commuted by bike, bus or foot.
The annual contest, sponsored by Bike Anchorage and the American Institute of Architects, is a good-natured competition to
encourage transportation choices that promote better health, save money, are good for the environment, reduce traffic congestion in our city and are more fun than sitting in one’s car in traffic. Through this friendly but competitive challenge, participants are encouraged to leave the car at home. “It’s a great and fun way to encourage people to go by bike, foot or the bus. Sometimes we all need just a little extra incentive and that is what the challenge offers.” said Brian Litmans, President of Bike Anchorage (formerly Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage). This challenge looks at what percentage of each office, business, agency, or department goes by bike, foot or bus. To make the challenge competitive, we pit businesses of similar size against one another and let them try to outdo one another through the summer.
Going by bike, foot or bus – or a combination of those – saves money. Based on the 138,990 miles biked or walked, participants saved a total of 6949 gallons of gas for a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon. That alone adds up to $26,755 saved collectively. Add in the costs to maintain and insure a car (the federal government compensates private vehicle owners at a rate of $.565 per mile) and the miles logged by Anchorage biking and walking commuters netted a collective savings of $78,529 over the summer.
Cash isn’t the only reason to leave the car behind. Biking or walking to and from work might be the only exercise you have time for some days, but it can sure help you stay fit and happy. Approximately 7,223,100 calories were burned by Anchorage bike commuters this summer – or in metrics most of us understand - 37,041 donuts. Our top walker logged over 360 miles over the course of the summer, while our top bicyclist rode over 2480 miles.
The environment also benefits. By not burning approximately 7000 gallons of gas, the biking and walking commuters saved the equivalent of 135,505 lbs of CO2 from being emitted and helped keep our air clean from smog.
This year’s winners were:
• X-Small category (1-4 employees):
Rim QC-ALTA with 100% of trips by bike, foot or bus.
• Small category (5-15 employees):
Trek Store of Anchorage with 71% of trips by bike, foot or bus.
• Medium category (16-50 employees):
Kinney Engineering with 40% of trips by bike, foot or bus.
• Large category (51-200 employees):
The Anchorage Museum with 11% of trips by bike, foot or bus.
• X-Large category (More than 200 employees):
The Alaska Department of Fish & Game – Fin and Fur Commuters with 5% of trips by bike, foot or bus.
* On average, 1.1% of Anchorage commutes by bike (Bike Anchorage does not have commute statistics for walking or bicycling). For more on bicycle commuting statistics in cities across the U.S. visit:http://bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/ACS_report_final_forweb_2.pdf
You can learn more about the challenge here: http://commuterchallenge.bicycleanchorage.org/
None of this would have been possible without the incredible work of RDI, Inc. who has designed and helped maintain the commuter challenge website and interface. Chris Thorn at RDI deserves huge thanks for the countless hours he has put into the challenge's website program.
A big thanks also goes out to the Challenge's steering committee -- Catherine Call, Sara Pfau and Brian Litmans --for their work to keep the challenge running. Bike Anchorage also would like to thank Clark Yerrington for designing this year's poster.
And the challenge award's party would lack the fun and festivity without all the incredible donations. A huge thanks to all our amazing sponsors who provided us with great prizes for this year's winners and the lucky ones who won a door prize.
- The Alaska Railroad
- Blue Sky Studio
- The Alaska Club
- Bear Tooth & Moose’s Tooth
- The Bicycle Shop Dimond
- Trek Store of Anchorage
- City Diner
- Fire Island Bakery
- Great Harvest Bread Co.
- RDI, Inc.
- Spenard Roadhouse
- Steamdot Coffee
We were very excited to be able to partner with the Tap Root to host the Awards Party this year. It was a great location and made the event all the more fun. Thanks to everyone at the Tap Root for letting us use the space.
And finally, a round of applause and thanks to the almost 1000 participants. Thanks for participating and making the Challenge such a great success.
Sincerely, the Challenge Steering Committee and everyone at Bike Anchorage and AIA-Alaska.