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Congratulations to the top riders in the Team Challenge!
The National Bike Challenge is still going strong, so we wanted to share stories from some of the riders that came out on top in the May Team Challenge. It’s quite an achievement when you’re competing against 42,935 other riders!
Thanks to our presenting sponsor 3M for making the Challenge possible. Speaking of work, we will start with Mike Engstrom’s story. He finished as number one on the national commuter leaderboard after riding to work every day and logging more than 1,000 miles in May.
Mike Engstrom rides in Oregon, and he began cycling again last year. He used to ride to work but that was over a decade ago and his bike had been collecting dust in the garage since then. Several of his colleagues encouraged him to join the 2017 Challenge in May and it wasn’t long before he dusted off his bike and set a goal to ride every day of the month. As the miles piled up Mike aimed to break the 1,000-mile mark, which he achieved!
In 2018 Mike was no longer a new rider and was determined to challenge himself: “My goals were now to 1) ride every day in May and 2) include work in my rides every day. My commute round-trip is over 36 miles, so by commuting every weekday and putting in shorter weekend rides I just topped 1,000 miles again this year. Several times my rides were just before or after midnight so I could get each commuter day logged.”
Mike’s workplace and coworkers show how encouragement and support can really help you achieve your riding goals: “Our Steelcase bicycle culture has a focus on encouraging new and casual riders. There are bicycle racks at our entrances with loaner bikes, locks and helmets available for quick trips around the downtown neighborhood. With company and coworker support it is easier to commute every day.”
There’s also space to ride for fun: “We organize various rides for different distances and effort levels. The last group ride included a stop at a local Brewery as there are many local options here in Portland."
With a cycle-friendly culture like that, Mike’s workplace is well prepared for the last month of the National Bike Challenge, where workplaces will compete to see who can get most of their staff riding!
Ride for Water
Julia Wygant came on top of the new female rider leaderboard in May. She grew up cycling with her dad in Longview, WA, but she wasn’t a regular rider and only began riding again in May. She had never tried riding more than 30 miles in one trip but this was all about to change when she got together with 11 other riders to embark on a 3,220 mile journey across the country to raise money for charity: water.
Julia and her women’s team began their ride in Newport, Oregon with a plan to climb the steep Cascades, cross the flat midwest and then finally arrive at the charity:water headquarters in New York City. They finished their epic ride a few days ago and celebrated raising $85,000 so far! Well done guys!
Finishing in NYC - rideforwater.com
On two wheels
Dan Marsh was at the top of the national Male New Rider leaderboard in May. All it took for Dan to sign up for the Challenge was an email and hearing about an ambitious goal set by a coworker:
“I received a email at my work encouraging employees to represent the company in the National Bike Challenge during the month of May. I heard a guy had posted a personal goal of 2,000 miles. I thought that sounded ridiculous, but I couldn't help wonder what it might take to achieve 2,000 miles in a month. I did a quick calculation, and realized that if I shifted my work hours to 5am to 1pm, and sort-of rode myself into shape during May, it was possible.”
Dan skipping rocks on Kentucky River
Dan was mostly able to ride his daily miles target but on the 27th he realized he couldn’t reach his initial 2000 mile goal: “I wondered what alternative goal I could achieve to ride out the remaining days, and quickly realized that I had a shot at the 3,000 km plateau. I used a conversion factor of 1.6km per mile which equated to 1875 miles. Over the next few days, I figured I could cover the miles needed.”
It turned out to be bigger challenge than anticipated: “I was within striking range of obtaining my 3000km goal as I left work on May 31 to ride home but the skies were volatile from the remnants of Subtropical Storm Alberto and they opened on me just before I returned home.”
Coming home, Dan had a feeling he hadn’t reached his 1875 miles goal: “When I totaled my mileage, it came to 1,866 miles, or nine miles short. I thought that after everyone left the party, and I had finished the retirement plaque, I would grab a different bike out of the garage, and ride around the neighborhood to finish off the nine miles still required.
Before I did that, I thought that I would double-check my kilometers-to-miles conversion. By using the precise meters-to-feet conversion factors (39.37 inches per meter), I found that 3000 km is actually only 1864.1 miles! I had already reached 3000 km, plus almost two miles beyond, so I didn't need to go back out there. I was done. Over the course of the challenge, I had six flat tires, two broken spokes and a bent seat post.”
Enjoying a well-deserved pizza!
We'd like to offer a huge thanks to Mike, Julia and Dan for sharing your wonderful stories and photos.
The National Bike Challenge continues until the end of September. The final month is Cycle September, where workplaces will compete about who can get most of their staff riding. Sign up and log your rides for a chance to win: www.nationalbikechallenge.org.