Remember when I was nervous that no one would join Team Trust the Journey for our fourth year in the Atlanta Bike Challenge during Biketober? Well, now 10 days in, in a field of about 300 teams, we’re in 8th place overall (which includes number of days ridden and encourager points), and 6th place just for mileage. Out of more than 4,000 people participating, several of us are in the top ten in various categories.
My goal each year is to ride (or at least cross paths) with every team member. These are my friends and teammates, Caryn and Jeff (photo by Caryn Cohen). We rode in the rain to the farmers market yesterday morning. A third teammate, Bill, showed up, but we missed him. I passed a fourth one, Joe, on the way there. A quick glance at our team page every day shows that almost everyone is engaged and we continue to support yet not pressure. That strategy has put us on the leader board year after year, and this year appears to be no different.
Bottom line? You can win this thing called the Atlanta Bike Challenge (and maybe even life) simply by encouraging others
Here’s why. You and your team earn 50 points for every person who names you as their encourager. So, the question becomes (not just for the Atlanta Bike Challenge, but if I am named the Metro Atlanta Bicycle Mayor):
How do we encourage people more?
One year, the top encourager invited work colleagues outside at lunchtime every single day and had an adult tricycle they could ride around the parking lot for ten minutes each (which is all it takes to qualify for a chance to win great prizes). I loved that strategy, and have in fact been wanting a folding adult trike to use in my Pedal Power with Pattie classes ever since I taught seniors-on-trikes for a year in a nearby city (you can see my templated recommendations about that on my Bonus Resources tab, if that’s something you or your city is considering doing).
I’m researching and brainstorming about other practical and joy-based ways to invite more people into (and back to) bike riding. If you have ideas, please feel free to share them! After four years involved with the Atlanta Bike Challenge, I know one thing for sure:
A winning strategy can simply involve smiles, not miles.