Health & Wellness

National Contest Aims to get More People Cycling

Bob Bayn commutes to USU by bicycle. (Photo by Scott Boyer)

Cyclists from Utah State University are on a quest to become national champions again, only this time they are going to have some competition from other riders in Cache Valley who also have their sights set on national recognition.

It’s all part of the National Bike Challenge (NBC), a free nationwide competition from May to September aimed at encouraging people to ride more often, according to Alexi Lamm, USU’s sustainability coordinator. The annual contest offers cyclists opportunities to compete on a local, state or national level by logging the miles online that they ride. Last year USU won the competition in the university category with more than 200 participants cycling more than 76,000 miles during the contest. While Cache Valley cyclists have always been invited, this is the first year the organization is looking to crown a Cache Valley champion.

To help promote the NBC, the USU Sustainability Council, Aggie Blue Bikes and the Employee Wellness Program are sponsoring the USU Bike to School and Work Week May 16-20, 2016. The weeklong event is designed to encourage students and employees to commute by bicycle as a healthy, low-carbon transportation option, Lamm said. Cycling stations will be set up at the Cache Valley Transit District and Aggie Blue Bikes offering free commuter breakfast treats, bicycle accessory giveaways and quick tune ups.

Last year, Bob Bayn led a team from Information Technology that took first place at USU, after logging nearly 11,000 miles. The NBC encourages people to cycle consistently by awarding them 20 points for each day they ride, plus one point for every mile they cycle. In the end, the points determine which team comes out on top, Bayn said.

“This contest is a great motivator to get me on my bike more often,” he said. “The 20-point daily enticement really makes me not want to skip a day of cycling.”

Bayn’s teammate, Lee Harris, said he loves to ride anyway but the competition got him moving on days when he might have otherwise stayed inside.

“It offered me extra incentive on those wet and cold days,” Harris said. “It’s good for me, keeping me in shape and it’s good for the environment. It gets me out on the bike on those days when the body doesn’t want to go. Being on a team gives me an extra push to ride, because I don’t want to let my team down. And because I’m competitive, it keeps me focused on my personal goals because I want to be one of the top riders.”

Lamm said encouraging people to explore the benefits of cycling is a key element of the NBC.

“It’s a fun and challenging way to develop some good habits,” she said. “We also hope to reach and inspire cyclists who are only occasional riders and some people who haven’t been on a bike in years.”

If you have already participated in the National Bike Challenge, you can use your login from last year.  New participants can easily join the challenge online:

  1. Sign up online. Click the “sign-up” button. For USU students and employees, choose Utah State University as your school.
  2. Join a team. Start a team or join as an individual.
  3. Ride for transportation, fitness or fun. All miles count as long as participants are on a bike and moving.
  4. Log miles. Riders may use a smartphone app to track the distance they cover, or they may just enter their miles online.

Each month there will be drawings for prizes, Lamm said. More information on bike events throughout the summer in Cache Valley is online.

About the USU Sustainability Council

The Utah State University Sustainability Council formed in 2007 after the university became a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The council seeks to reduce carbon emissions as well as conserve resources and enhance quality of life by promoting sustainability in USU’s academic and service missions.

About USU Aggie Blue Bikes

Aggie Blue Bikes’ (ABB) mission is to get more people on more bikes, more often. This is achieved through bicycle lending, education and advocacy. The organization believes that cycling promotes healthy and sustainable communities, better air quality in Cache Valley and a reduction of on-campus congestion and motor accidents.

About USU Employee Wellness Program

The goal of the Be Well Program is to support and enhance the health and wellness of employees and their families by building partnerships, programs and policies for the community.

Contact: Alexi Lamm, sustainability coordinator, 435.797.9299,

Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.

Next Story in Health & Wellness

See Also