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The National Bike Challenge is a nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists—and encouraging countless new riders. In its simplest form it is a logging center for users to record miles ridden and be part of the national community of bicyclists. It is a free and easy way to challenge yourself, colleagues and the greater community to ride more. Users compete on a local, state and national level. This program is a successful partnership between People For Bikes and Kimberly-Clark’s Scott Natural Brand. The Challenge, which ran from May 1 to September 30th, united 92,352 riders pedaling over 37 million miles in the five month period.
Within the National Bike Challenge individuals compete and there is also the opportunity to form teams and have local challenges as well. Bike Hutto participated as a team for the first time ever in 2015. It had 23 active bicyclists and was part of the Bike Austin Local Challenge. The Bike Austin Local Challenge encompassed 16 communities and 26 teams throughout the Central Texas region. The Bike Hutto Team ranked number one within Central Teas. Hutto was second only to Austin amongst those 16 communities. Bike Hutto also faired very well within the state of Texas. The team ranked 9th out of 104 teams participating in Texas.
Individuals are awarded at different levels of the challenge based on points and mileage. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels can be achieved. Four Bike Hutto riders (Leigh Ann Ganzar, James Jumonville, Brian Grubbs, and Camille Baptiste) were awarded Platinum Status based on having over 2,500 points. Eighteen of the participating riders reached at least one award level during the challenge.
“We are very proud of what Bike Hutto accomplished its first year competing in the Bike Challenge,” says Bike Hutto Director, Jessica Romigh. “With that, we are already looking at ways to do even better next year! No reason we can’t go from the top ten to the top five in Texas!”
In addition to the National Bike Challenge being a fun way to encourage bicycling throughout the summer months, there is also an opportunity to gather data such as recreation verses transportation miles. Bike Hutto will be utilizing this data in the coming months as it addresses infrastructure and programming needs for bicyclists in the Hutto, Texas area.
Bike Hutto’s mission is to encourage and foster a community environment within Hutto in which bicyclists of all ages can socialize, receive safety education, and voice their needs for building better bicycle friendly infrastructure. Bike Hutto values the importance of creating a bicycle friendly community within the City of Hutto focusing on the benefits (Transportation, Health, Economics, Recreation, and Environment) that bicycling provides.
Bike Hutto is launching the ‘Community of Cyclists Campaign’ in January 2015. The campaign was inspired by similar campaigns launched by People For Bikes and Bike Pittsburgh, which emphasize the humanization of bicyclists to promote bike safety.
The Community of Cyclists Campaign is an effort by Bike Hutto to show the wide variety of people in Hutto that bike. The term, “Cyclist” can sometimes give off a certain type of image. The campaign will promote the fact that there is no one “type” of person who rides a bicycle. They are our friends, our neighbors, our students, and our colleagues.
Profiles will be done on a variety of Hutto bicyclists. Each profile will include the “Hello My Name Is….And I Ride” logo, a picture of the cyclist, 3 descriptive words that the person being profiled feels represents them, and answers to a brief interview. The process will take part via email and will not take up much of the individual’s time. The Community of Cyclists profiles will be promoted both on the Bike Hutto website, as well as on all social media channels.
It is always best to put a face to the name, whether you’re talking about bike safety, future bike infrastructure, or social events. Hutto is about community. If you are a bicyclist, it is important to know your fellow riders. If you don’t ride, it is an important to remember that the needs and safety of the person you see bicycling could be your neighbor.