HANCOCK -- Don’t let the lingering cool weather fool you -- it’s bike-commuting season and time for the 2014 National Bike Challenge. Organized by the League of American Bicyclists, the goal of the bike challenge is to encourage more people to bicycle. The challenge aims to encourage 50,000 Americans to bike a total of 30 million miles between May 1 and September 30. Registering for the challenge is a free and easy way to keep track of your riding and find encouragement to ride more.
Locally, the bike challenge is sponsored by Bike Initiative Keweenaw (BIKE!), a regional bike advocacy group. Last year, Copper Country cyclists who took the challenge logged nearly 70,000 miles, saved $8,000 in fuel costs and reduced CO2 emissions by 24,000 pounds. Three local communities -- Copper Harbor, Atlantic Mine and Painesdale -- ranked in the top ten nationally for per capita miles logged. Lorri Oikarinen of Calumet was the top-ranked local cyclist, and women formed a larger percentage of Copper Country riders than nationally.
This year, local organizers hope to have more than 150 people registered and 100,000 miles logged during the next five months. Register anytime at nationalbikechallenge.org and you will automatically enter the local challenge. Then, simply log all the miles you ride.
To learn more about BIKE!, visit bikeinitiativekeweenaw.org. There you’ll find route maps, news and events -- and links to the National Bike Challenge and Keweenaw Bike to Work Day, scheduled for Thursday, May 15.