Cascade Bicycle Club reported converting more than 30 drivers to the joys of bike commuting through its Green Bike project, which gave drivers a free bike if they did more than 50 percent of their commuting by bike over a three-month period.
We talked to one of the participants, Phyllis Rowland, HR assistant and recruiter for Wellspring Family Services. A “bike to the beach” kind of rider before the program, Phyllis has some words of advice to would-be bike commuters for making the transition a successful one. [By the way, if you commute via SODO, Cascade needs your input.]
From Cascade’s press release:
The Green Bike Project aims to convert drive-alone commuters to bicycle commuting by providing equipment, instruction, encouragement and incentives. Cascade Bicycle Club outfits each person with a bicycle, helmet and lock and gives them safety and mechanical training. In return, participants pledged to replace at least 50 percent of their drive-alone commutes with bike commutes by Aug. 1. Those who achieved the goal will be rewarded with ownership of the bike they’ve used throughout the program.
An impressive 86 percent of participants successfully achieved their goal this year.
“This is an incredible result. In only three months, we’ve helped more than 30 people new to bike commuting become comfortable, confident, and competent cyclists. I don’t know of many other programs that can boast an 86 percent success rate,” said Chuck Ayers, executive director of the Cascade Bicycle Club.
The program does more than transform participants’ commutes; it transforms lives.
“I love riding my bike to work,” said Alex, of the Odyssey School. “I plan to keep it up for the rest of my life.”
“I was really amazed with how quickly my body adapted to riding. I was really sore the first time I did it, and noticed huge improvements in how well I was able to go,” said Heather of Darigold. “I was one of those ‘move out of the way, bicyclists!’ type of drivers before this, but now have a lot more understanding for them.”
Participating companies in the 2010 program were: Case Design, Committee for Children, Darigold, Iron Bow Technologies, Outdoor Research, Odyssey School, and Wellspring Family Services.
The Green Bike Project demonstrates that with encouragement and support, people can dramatically change travel habits by trying bike commuting. That ultimately means fewer cars on the road, more money in peoples’ pockets, and improved health throughout the region.