Houston one of five U.S. cities selected for program designed to encourage bicycling for both recreation and transportation
Fantasy football is so passé. But challenging your co-workers to try riding their bikes for prizes, well that makes for a fun and rewarding fall rivalry. Oh, and it’s free to participate.
Workplaces in The Energy Corridor will soon have spirited team competition with prizes to see who can get the most staff to try riding a bike.
It’s all part of the new “Love to Ride The Energy Corridor” program – a partnership with The Energy Corridor District, Bike Houston and People for Bikes, a national bicycle industry coalition and charitable foundation that advocates for bicycling, ensuring safer places to ride for both adults and children.
Houston is one of five US cities selected for the program.
“Contrary to most cycling events, ‘Love to Ride The Energy Corridor’ is about encouraging people to simply hop on a bike so that they can experience the benefits of riding first hand,” explains Kelly Rector, transportation coordinator for The Energy Corridor District. “Love to Ride is an online platform that makes it easy and fun to get more people bicycling.”
Non-cyclists as well as regular cyclists are encouraged to participate, Rector says, for both recreation and transportation purposes. The program uses personalized messaging to help individuals overcome barriers they face when it comes to cycling in Houston.
People can cycle anywhere they like, anytime they like between November 1-30. And you only need to ride for 10 minutes to participate in the competition.
“That’s about the time it takes to bring on a big smile after rediscovering how easy and fun riding a bike can be,” says Rector.
A live league table on the “Love to Ride The Energy Corridor” challenge website will show which organizations are in the lead. Workplaces with the highest percentage of their staff participating (across seven size categories) will win team prizes at the end of the challenge.
“There are a whole host of prizes that people can win just by participating,” says Thomas Stokell, CEO for Love to Ride, a self-described social enterprise dedicated to cycling, is running the competition.
And the program works, according to Love to Ride. To date, Love to Ride says its friendly competition has helped 40 percent of non-cyclists start cycling weekly. About 30 percent of non-cyclists and non-commuting cyclists now bike to work once a week. For occasional cyclists, 43 percent now bike two or more days each week.
“That’s the sort of success we’d like to see in The Energy Corridor and throughout all of Houston,” Rector says. “Those are numbers that can lead to healthier lifestyle, as well as contributing to a reduction in traffic congestion.”
The District is providing a $5,000 local match with the goal of increasing the share and frequency of bicycle commuting from residences to workplaces both inside and outside The District. Plus, with more than 50 miles of nearby trails, The District hopes the program will promote recreational cycling by building confidence and helping riders become more willing to consider bicycle commuting.
“Once you’ve gotten the bicycling bug, then perhaps you’ll pedal for non-commuting activities as well, like running an errand,” explains Rector.
Registrations are open and it’s free to participate for prizes. For more information, travel over to the Love to Ride Houston website here.