This year, 281 riders in Houghton and Keweenaw counties logged over 119,000 miles during the challenge, which ran from May 1 to September 30. Nationally, 92,419 riders covered more than 37 million miles in all. Local challenges are ranked in points per capita, which makes it possible for less populated areas to compete with big cities.
Bike Initiative Keweenaw, a local advocacy group focused on empowering people to ride more often, hosted the local challenge again this year. Each month the group organized a casual ride to celebrate points logged and to share experiences.
Local businesses also stepped in to support the local challenge. Cross Country Sports, Michigan House Cafe & Brew Pub, and Rhythm Bike & Board Co. contributed resources as well as enthusiastic challenge participants.
"Our workplace enjoys a good challenge," said Kristin Schmitt of Hancock. "The National Bike Challenge gives us a nice opportunity to positively affect our own personal wellness goals, while also sprinkling in a little friendly inter-office competition too."
Lorri Oikarinen of Calumet said, "Joining the National Bike Challenge and our local challenge was one of the most fun things I did this summer. It was a great way to get out there and ride every day!"
Curt Webb of Atlantic Mine pointed out another benefit of the challenge. "It's a fun way to encourage people to ride more, and the more people who ride, the safer it is."
Bike Initiative Keweenaw plans to continue hosting the yearly local challenge, and welcomes involvement by individuals and groups. BIKE! can be reached at bikeinitiativekeweenaw.org, Facebook, or Twitter. Find out more about the National Bike Challenge at nationalbikechallenge.org.