Here at Planet Bike we’ve been participating in the local Madison Love to Ride Challenge. The Love to Ride Challenge is a movement that has been spreading across the world and aims to encourage more people to try riding a bike to see how much fun and beneficial cycling can be. The program creates a sense of community and competition through local workplace teams and members can give encouraging messages and “high fives” to other members via the online interface. Rides can be measured in miles or minutes and the emphasis is more on just taking a trip by bike rather than racking up the mileage. What really sets Love to Ride apart from other programs is its roots in behavior change theory and a short survey given to participants when they register to find out what prevents them from riding more often and what motivates them to ride. Based on the answers, the program aims to help support new and old riders alike with personalized messages and encouragement. According to the Love to Ride Challenge website, the program has encouraged over 29,000 new cyclists to get out and go for a ride. We think it’s a fantastic program and the social aspect of connecting new and experienced riders together is a great way to encourage people to give cycling a try. In Madison our B-Cycle bike share has also joined the project and has given a free ride code to all registered members of the challenge so that even folks without a bike can be part of the movement. There are lots of prizes and incentives up for grabs in the program as well.
All seven of us at Planet Bike already ride our bikes a fair amount and don’t need a lot of external encouragement to get on our bikes, but we’ve found it really fun to be a part of this program and it’s gotten many of us to ride more than usual. You can easily check in on other local workplaces (they’re separated into groups based on number of employees) and encourage riders with the click of a button. We’re just about halfway through the 64 day challenge and we’re proud to say that we are currently leading the organizations with a staff of 7-19. We’re hoping that this program spreads across many communities throughout the nation and world and encourages traditional non-cyclists to see why riding a bike is so awesome. Even if you’re not part of a local Love to Ride challenge we urge you to encourage someone to go for a bike ride and discover the power of the bicycle!