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Challenge: Positive Work Culture
The National Bike Challenge is full of instant success stories because of its ability to help motivate people to give bicycling a try. We asked Benjamin Lindorf at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) a few questions about their participation in the Challenge. He had some very inspirational stories to share.
What is the most exciting thing about the National Bike Challenge?
The most exciting thing about the Challenge is following the progress of the riders it brings out of the woodwork. We finally convinced our company CEO to participate last year, but he made clear he only intended to bike a few miles during his summer vacation. On a lark, he tried biking around his neighborhood before work one morning early in the Challenge period, and enjoyed it so much that he began biking every morning -– 7 days a week. He ended the Challenge as one of our strongest riders, despite not having ridden a bike for years beforehand. We had another employee who, as a novice biker, discovered that she enjoyed biking so much that she biked on a daily basis through the third trimester of her pregnancy, and even commuted to work on her bike on the day she went into labor. Another employee convinced her non-biking husband to ride with her so that she could log miles for the Challenge. He ended up enjoying biking so much that he has taken it up as a regular activity, and the two of them have entered races together. The list of fun stories goes on, but the basic theme is the same: Once we give people a reason to ride, they love it and do more of it.
Photo by Jhi Scott
What do you see as some of the benefits of participating in the National Bike Challenge to the IDA workplace?
We have found that a number of IDA employees have experienced significant benefits in terms of quality of life as they have picked up cycling. Our employees have lost weight, managed injuries, strengthened their relationships, and had a lot of fun –- all through increasing the regularity of their biking. The genius of the Challenge is that it gives employees direct and measurable accountability to a team and workplace -– with instant feedback using the website. As a Challenge administrator for the workplace, we have reports and other information provided by the Challenge to cheer our teams and riders on to setting and meeting their cycling goals.
Why does the IDA participate in the National Bike Challenge?
IDA originally agreed to participate in the National Bike Challenge at the request of a handful of employees who have been active bike commuters for a number of years. These employees formed the kernel of a bike community that ballooned during the first two years of the challenge, participation in the challenge has now spread to nearly 10% of IDA employees.
As a corporation, IDA appreciates the camaraderie generated by the Challenge. During both years, we have held an informal competition among the various IDA teams, participated in “biker brown bag” lunches to discuss commuting routes and other bike-related topics, and organized company rides for interested employees. We even held a “farthest from IDA” contest, where people submitted pictures of themselves riding a bike in remote areas of the world (our winning rider submitted a biking selfie from Tel Aviv, Israel). In addition, given that most of our facilities are located in areas with high traffic congestion, we appreciate that the Challenge incentivizes employees to ride to work and reduce some of that congestion.
Not riding yet? Register for the Challenge at www.nationalbikechallenge.org.