Did You Know?

Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

Active Trans thanks its Team Leaders

Tuesday, July 12, marked the end of another hugely successful Bike Commuter Challenge at the Fairmont Hotel's posh Moulin Rouge Ballroom.  

Bike Commuter Challenge Team Leaders from all over Chicagoland came to celebrate their achievment of creating more bike commuters during Chicago's Bike to Work Week, June 11-17. Attendees were treated to a three course meal and a great door prize — a nifty valuables pouch courtesy of Coldwell Banker.

Active Trans Deputy Director Melody Geraci opened the event at 11a.m. with a few words of welcome and then handed the stage over to newly-appointed Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein.  

Klein has been a very vocal supporter of the Bike Commuter Challenge and bike commuting in general. Responsible for implementing the largest and most successful bike sharing program in the country, Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC, Klein held the audience rapt with his holistic vision for getting around in Chicago.

Emcee and Active Trans staffer Randy Warren then introduced Debbi Brooks of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, vice president of Enterprise Wellness. Brooks passed along her expertise on formulating strategies for successful workplace wellness programs, which have an extraordinary return on investment — by as much as $5 back for each $1 spent. For bike commuting encouragement, tactics such as incentives, simple policy changes, and minor infrastructure additions can more than double participation.

Next up, Katie Anson, program coordinator of University of Chicago Sustainability Office, showed how to put this into practice. Anson coordinated UC's effort that registered 23 separate teams and logged over 4,500 miles. She also managed a Bike to Work Week pit stop at Hyde Park's Cafe 57, giving bike commuters free coffee, snacks, and a water bottle. Moving forward, UC will be implementing a bike commuter programs, which will expand an existing bikeshare initiative, provide indoor bike storage, add bike lanes to campus, and open an on-campus bike shop.

The reason everyone came was to see who would take home the coveted prize given to the winners: A handmade cog-and-chain medal, courtesy of West Town Bikes/Ciclo Urbano, and a certificate of victory in the Bike Commuter Challenge. One by one the winners were called up to receive their prize and shake hands with Randy Warren.

Finally, three great raffle prizes were given away: a case of Clif Bar minis, a Build-a-Bike Class at West Town Bikes, and a 2011 Trek Allant, donated by Village Cycle Center.

Active Transportation Alliance would like to thank all the Commuter Challenge Team Leaders and all of the 2011 Bike Commuter Challenge participants for making this year such a great success and fun event.  

Stay tuned. Great things are coming to the Commuter Challenge programs at Active Trans; big changes that will make being car-free fun and easy, all year round.