New features include badges, regional competition, automatic ride logging via apps and more
Riding on the cycling road.
See the green trees passing by.
Sun is shining down on me.
I don't have to wonder why.
−“Cycling is Fun,” Shonen Knife
Last year’s friendly competition to encourage more bike riding – no matter what skill level – worked so well it’s back. The West Houston Bike Challenge 2016 kicks off October 1 with chances to win prizes like a trip to Croatia or Vancouver just for riding a bike.
“It’s all about showing how easy and fun cycling can be,” explains Kelly Rector, TDM program manager for The Energy Corridor District, which is sponsoring the West Houston Bike Challenge, along with the Westchase District and Memorial District.
Last year, nearly 800 people from more than 70 companies got on their bikes to ride during the Houston Bike Challenge. Twenty-two percent of those said they were new riders, while two-thirds of Challenge participants surveyed after the event said they planned to ride more regularly.
“Anyone from beginning bicyclists to seasoned ones can compete for prizes,” Rector says. “And best of all, it’s a great excuse to get on your bike and ride whether for recreation, fitness or commuting.”
The challenge – organized by Love to Ride, a social enterprise dedicated to getting more people to bicycle – is set up to make it easy to log rides for chances to win prizes.
Simply register online at Love to Ride’s West Houston Bike Challenge site, then ride for at least 10 minutes during the month of October and record it on the site or in one of several fitness apps available for free in the Apple iOS or Google Android stores. Riders can win prizes just by encouraging others to join the challenge and log a ride.
Prizes for individuals and teams are being added every week. Already, rewards for riding include chances to win dream vacations, B-Cycle memberships, Massage Heights gift card, free yoga classes, Salata restaurant gift cards, a membership to Memorial Athletic Club, a BikeHouston jersey and a Whole Foods gift basket with a gift card.
Online leaderboards allow riders to set up friendly competition among co-workers or friends. Last year, Energy Corridor companies set up their own leaderboards to encourage riding with some friendly competition and a chance to win prizes.
“You can climb the leaderboard, win prizes, and help improve cycling literally just by riding your bike,” says Johann Weber, project manager, West Houston Bike Challenge.
Rides can be logged automatically using various mobile apps that sync with the West Houston Bike Challenge online site.
In the Apple iOS mobile app store, Ride Report and Moves are available for free. In the Google Android store, Moves is available for free, while Ride Report is expected to be available sometime in September. For those already logging bike rides using a fitness app, West Houston Bike Challenge rides can also be synched with the Strava, MapMyRide and Endomondo apps.
Anyone in Houston can take part and compete, but only participants from West Houston partner areas (The Energy Corridor, Westchase and Memorial Districts) are eligible for prizes.