WBEZ | bike commuting http://www.wbez.org/tags/bike-commuting Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Bike to Work Week smackdown: Jerome McDonnell lays down the gauntlet http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/bike-work-week-smackdown-jerome-mcdonnell-lays-down-gauntlet-99902 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bikes%20good.jpg" title="WBEZ, the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Center for Neighborhood Technology are three of the organizations participating in the annual Chicago Bike Commuter Challenge. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" /></div><p><em>Editor&rsquo;s Note: Bike to Work Week starts this Saturday June 8. The week-long cycling celebration offers city-wide programming and culminates in the Bike to Work Rally, a high octane gathering of thousands of bike enthusiasts in the heart of downtown Chicago at Daley Plaza. </em><em>WBEZ team leader Jerome McDonnell </em><em>blogs about the competition all week and starts by laying down the gauntlet:</em></p><p>Bike to Work Week starts Saturday, and once again WBEZ will join the <a href="http://bikecommuterchallenge.org/">Chicago Bike Commuter Challenge</a>. The CNT won our division last time. But now I wonder.</p><p>Last year, WBEZ waged an on-air battle against our nemesis, The <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/">Old Town School of Folk Music</a>. &lsquo;BEZ triumphed in 2009, and as team leader, I believed we were a shoe-in to repeat in 2010. But Old Town swooped in out of nowhere and beat us that year. So last year, we devoted ourselves to crushing the &ldquo;Sweet Folkies,&rdquo; led by team leader Sarah Dandelles.</p><p>After a <a href="../../episode-segments/2011-06-13/bike-commuter-challenge-prompts-cycling-smackdown-87763">confrontation</a> on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> last year, it became apparent Dandelles was a better team leader than I. She got loaner bikes, put on a raffle and was basically a whole lot nicer about it. My main contribution was guerrilla comics I put up in our bathroom stalls that looked something like this:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WBEZ%20Bike%20to%20Work%20Sign_0.JPG" style="float: right; height: 168px; width: 300px;" title="WBEZ calls its employees to battlestations for ‘Bike to Work Week.’ (Photo by Jerome McDonnell)" /></div><p>So Raul Gonzales from <a href="http://workingbikes.org/">Working Bikes</a> was kind enough to help us out with a fleet of loaner bikes. I put together a raffle package in a furious effort to be as good as Dandelles. The group with the highest percentage of employer riders wins, and we stomped on Old Town&rsquo;s throats.</p><p>Last year we got 39 percent of our employees to ride; they got 32 percent. The loaner bikes made a big difference for us. The problem is The Center for Neighborhood Technology snuck into our division.</p><p>They claimed 92 percent of their employees rode. Where are their infirmed? Where are their sedentary? I&rsquo;ve seen the pictures of their leadership online. I&rsquo;m not sure they all ride. I consider Jackie Grimshaw a friend. She&rsquo;s very nice, and a force for good, but I don&rsquo;t see her riding to work. Was she one of the only seven people there who <em>didn&rsquo;t</em> ride? Or is the pride of these greenie do-gooders so great that they hide her? Hmmmm.....</p><p>Has anybody checked the trunk of their I-Go cars? I mean really&hellip;92 percent...really? They&rsquo;re hiding people somewhere.</p><p>Actually, WBEZ and the Old Town have nothing to be ashamed of. According to the <a href="http://www.activetrans.org/">Active Transportation Alliance</a> (they run Bike to Work Week) just over 1 percent of people commute to work by bike in the Chicago area. Who does better? The best biking town in the U.S. is Minneapolis. They have over 4 percent, with weather that actually worse than ours. We&rsquo;ve got some work to do.</p><p>The whole point of Bike to Work Week is to get people to imagine their commutes with a bike involved. Along the way, some people might just find biking to work is just plain fun.</p><p>This year, WBEZ has instituted a &ldquo;ride with the scared&rdquo; escort service for people who would like to ride, but are a little afraid doing it. It&rsquo;s the effort of <a href="http://www.vocalo.org/">Vocalo</a> producer Sarah Lu, an extreme bike commuter.</p><p>I don&rsquo;t know if all of this will us to 93 percent, but at least we care about our fellow employees.</p><p>Lu and I will cook up another option in our efforts to retake our division. We plan to get The Center for Neighborhood Technology thrown out of our division on a technicality. We&rsquo;ll confront them today on our on air &ldquo;smackdown.&rdquo; It will be a rumble!</p></p> Thu, 07 Jun 2012 10:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/bike-work-week-smackdown-jerome-mcdonnell-lays-down-gauntlet-99902