Ducks asked to ditch cars for the annual commute challenge

Bike share bicycles

It’s almost time to leave the car at home and join this year’s 10th annual Business Commute Challenge, which puts Eugene and Springfield commuters in a friendly competition to walk, bike, bus, carpool or telework from May 11 to 17.

Last year more than 300 ducks comprising 37 different teams went head-to-head in the commute challenge and cut car travel by 13,151 miles. So far, 227 Ducks have registered for this year, according to Lane Transit District transportation options specialist Cody Franz.

Registration is free, but workers must be in groups of two or more. Students who are not commuting for work are not eligible to participate in the commute challenge. Participants will track their travel throughout the week, noting how and when they commute.

Winners are logged by how many trips they make and will be announced at a closing party on Thursday, May 23, at Sweet Cheeks on 5th at the Fifth Street Public Market. The more days commuters get out of their cars, the more chances they will have to win prizes, LTD says.

Participants will have a chance to win prizes, including, gift cards, zipline tours and hotel stays.

However, the commute challenge does more than reduce emissions and distribute prizes. The challenge also serves as a great time to connect with co-workers, according to Kelsey Moore, University of Oregon Bike Program coordinator.

“I think sometimes if you’re trying something new on your own it can be kind of overwhelming, but having a supportive event and your co-workers doing it at the same time can create a more welcoming atmosphere,” Moore said.

Participating in this year’s event will be easier than before with the recent addition of a bike share program and free PeaceHealth Rides all month long, Moore said.

“It’s a nice way to bond with your coworkers,” Moore said. “You can challenge another team and say, ‘Hey we double dog dare you to ride this many times,’ so you can have some friendly rivalry with other departments on campus.”

As a part of the Lane County’s transportation options program, the event is sponsored by LTD through its Point2point commuter program, University of Oregon Transportation Services, the cities of Eugene and Springfield, Arriving by Bike, Burley, Bicycle Way of Life, Pacific Cascade Federal Credit Union, Track Town Pizza and Clif Bar & Co.

“The Business Commute Challenge promotes employee teambuilding, reducing commuter stress, saving money on parking, gas and other car-related expenses, and protects the environment because there are fewer vehicles on the streets and roads,” an LTD announcement says.

Interested UO staff and faculty members can register for the event, see different teams and compare prizes on the LTD website.

—By Bryan Dorn, University Communications