AUSTIN, TX (BRAIN)—It’s true when they say that everything’s bigger in Texas. Starting in May, the Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin is promoting a grandios city-wide challenge to encourage its citizens to bike instead of drive.
The competition, open to all Austin residents as individuals or teams, runs from May 4–31 and will be facilitated by Greenlight, a free online application developed by Civia to encourage friendly competition among bike commuters. Inspiration for the commuter challenge came to Chris Carter, marketing and promotions manager at Bicycle Sport Shop, was inspired to create the event after setting up a commuting challenge among the two Bicycle Sport Shop locations.
“Our employees really got into it. The competition got them riding more and developed a greater sense of camaraderie among all of us,” said Carter, who wondered how to pose a similar challenge to all of Austin without creating an administrative nightmare.
Enter the Civia Greenlight web application. By setting up a Greenlight profile at greenlightride.com, individuals can track their cycling miles, create commuting teams and
leagues, and challenge others. Austin’s residents will use Greenlight to track their miles and receive real-time scoring feedback on the challenge.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first competitive city-wide bike challenge run by a bike retailer,” said Civia brand manager Scott Thayer. “This is exactly the sort of thing Greenlight was designed for. Greenlight is scalable, so the Bicycle Sport Shop’s example shows that Greenlight can be used for competition, Bike to Work Week, and challenges like this anywhere, with minimal administrative effort on the part of the shop or organizers.”
An added benefit to the challenge is the unique information it will provide. The trip tracking will give Carter a good idea of how many of Austin’s residents ride their bikes and how often.
“If we provide documentation to city officials that shows significant ridership numbers, it’s possible we’ll be able to leverage that data for increased funding for infrastructure and advocacy," Thayer said.
The Bicycle Sport Shop has set up a website for Austin residents to link to Greenlight as well as mapping tools at www.austincommuterchallenge.com (click on link). Other shops interested in setting up their own competition can contact Scott Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.