Bike 2 Benefits, a Metro Transit Program

While I was working on yesterday’s roundup, I came across Metro Transit’s Bike2Benefits program.

Since I live four miles from where I work, I decided that it would probably not be nearly as bad as I imagined to commute to work on my bike. I did that for the first time today and it didn’t suck! So I was all proud of myself, but then I noticed that there are prizes involved in Bike2Benefits, so I went ahead and signed up for that.

Choose any eight-week period before Dec. 31 to start commuting by bicycle. Track your trips and mileage at this website. When you complete the program, you will automatically be entered in our year-end prize drawing. You’ll also receive a Twin Cities Bike Map (while supplies last). Once your eight weeks are over, continue tracking your commutes and you’ll be eligible for even more incentives!

Bike2Benefits is open to anyone 18 or older who lives and works in these counties: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott or Washington. There is no fee to participate.

When you sign up, you give them your home address and work address (your workplace might already be on their list of employers), the length of your commute (one way), why you joined the program (weight loss, maintain fitness, reduce your carbon footprint, and a couple other options), and you can optionally have them send you a personalized commute route. I’ve got my route down already, so I skipped that part.

Right away they send you your personalized route map (if you chose one), a booklet with tips on bicycle commuting, information on safe and lawful biking, and a reflective ankle strap. I just signed up today, so I expect I’ll get mine early next week. Metro Transit also has info on their website on the basics of bike commuting: logistics, benefits, etc. Good place to get started.

Once you’ve registered, they take you to a calendar page. You enter your commutes in the calendar, and it automatically tallies your miles and calculates your estimated cost savings, carbon dioxide emission reduction, and air pollution reduction. They count one way as a commute, not a round trip. I already input my ride home today, even though I haven’t ridden home yet, and it counted it as two commutes.

Bike2Benefits log page
(click to embiggen)

If you’re motivated by numbers and charts and things that measure your progress, as I am, this is pretty fricking cool. Simple, but effective. And there’s prizes! I can’t find now where I saw what the prizes are, but I believe one of them is a brand new Trek bicycle.

RELATED: The Freewheel Midtown Bike Station’s grand opening is tomorrow (Friday, May 16). There are festivities there throughout the day and the weekend. It’s located on the Midtown Greenway, between Chicago and 10th Ave. I haven’t been through there in a while, but I did see a glimpse of the results of the buildout from street level a couple weeks ago. Should be pretty cool.

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