Many common questions are addressed below. Topics are listed to the right for convenience. Still stumped? Please email email@example.com. We're eager to help!
We are thrilled to report that this year's challenge features some handy upgrades that we hope will improve your user experience. Every year we try to improve the site to make the site fun and easy to use. Here's what's new:
And these features are back by popular demand:
What's with the souvenir?
Every year we give away a fee souvenir item to all participants in the Commute Challenge, usually something that adds a little safety and bling. This year we are giving away a laminated placard that can be used as a spoke card, bike license plate or bag tag. Write your name or team name on the placard and show your Commute Challenge spirit!
What about prize patrol?
In years past, we had a roving prize patrol that would give out prizes to folks displaying the souvenir. This year we have evolved the prize patrol to a higher calling. We are deploying our resources as in the form of Energizer Stations, where we’ll be doling out services to all bicyclists rather than swag to just a few.
What’s an Energizer Station anyway?
Energizer Stations provide services to the entire community of bicyclists. Our bike ambassadors will be out there pumping up tires, lubing chains, offering light snacks, and answering all your bicycling questions. We’re hearing rave reviews, so be sure to check the Bike Month calendar and stop by one!
But are there prizes?
Of course! We still have prizes to hand out when we are in the community, but we will be doing so on a somewhat random and subjective basis. For example, we might reward law-abiding behavior, recognize an especially fetching ensemble, or help equip a new commuter. We also have a healthy supply of prizes EXCLUSIVELY for Commute Challenge participants that we will be doling out throughout the month via weekly drawings. We will have some special drawings for new commuters, 100% club riders with perfect participation rates, and Cascade members, but as long as you are logging trips, you’re eligible. Individual and team prizes will be awarded at the end of the month for outstanding performance.
So about that souvenir...
The souvenir itself returns to its original role as a safety-oriented token of our appreciation for your participation. This means you may place your placard wherever you'd like, as long as your wear it proudly and show your Commute Challenge spirit! Write your name or team name on the card, and place the card in your spokes, attach it to your bag or jacket as a fun piece of flare or affix it to your bike as a bike license plate.
Do I have to be a member of Cascade Bicycle Club to participate?
Nope- anyone can join the Commute Challenge. That said, Cascade Bicycle Club is working for you every single day of the year, advocating for safer streets and bike-friendly workplaces, educating cyclists of all ages and abilities, and coordinating great programs like the Commute Challenge. Please join us!
NEW! What does it mean to choose my participation level?
This year participants can choose their level of participation in the Commute Challenge during registration. Riders can either make a charitable gift to the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation, become a Cascade member, or participate for free.
How do I join a team?
To join a team, you must be invited by a team captain. Once you receive an invite from a captain, simply follow the directions in that email to complete the registration process and start logging trips.
How many people can be on a team?
To be considered a complete team (which makes you eligible for a captains T-shirt), your team needs to have four or more people. You can have a maximum of ten riders on your team. If you have more than ten who want to join, you can split into two or more teams.
Can I join the contest if I am unemployed or work from home?
Yes! Even if you don't work outside the home, you can use your bicycle as a primary transportation means. Riders can log trips and mileage spent attending meetings, job hunting, interviewing, or networking. Riders can sign up solo or form a team. If you are unemployed, select "Bike For Work" as your workplace. If you are self-employed, list your business name as your workplace.
I use an electric assist bike. Can I participate?
Yes! The Commute Challenge recognizes E-bike riders the same as others. We encourage any and all biking for transportation, with power-assist or without. Electric assist can overcome barriers like hills or distance for people who might otherwise never commute by bike. Be proud of your miles!
It's mid-May and the commute challenge is already in full swing; can I still participate?
Yep. Register anytime during the month, so long as you can log the minimum of four trips before May 31.
I have coworkers based out-of-state who want to participate.
Because this event is about building community, teams may include out-of-state participants. However, only participants who live or work in Washington State will be eligible for prizes.
Can I ride on more than one team at once?
No- riders can only register for one team (or as a solo rider)
What defines a "new" commuter?
A new commuter is someone who is new to bicycle commuting this calendar year (2013), or someone who has not commuted for five or more years.
My captain invited me. Why am I not getting an email?
First check your junk mail folder. If the invite is not there, your captain may have submitted an incorrect email address. Have your captain send you another email from the "Invite a co-worker" section of "Manage my team."
How can I change my default work schedule?
We make it easy for people to log trips by choosing the default work schedule during registration. But we realize that schedules change. If yours does, you can go in and change specific days from non-work to work days (or visa versa).
I heard that there are weekly members-only prizes. How do I know if I am a Cascade Member? Yes, there are. There are some mighty fine members-only prizes at stake, not to mention the opportunity to join 14,000 of your friends and neighbors in creating better communities through bicycling. Cascade members receive our monthly newspaper in the mail, the Cascade Courier. If you want to renew or join, go to http://commutechallenge.cascade.org/join/
When should I log my trips?
At LEAST once a week. Frequent updates ensure that your data is accurate and the competition is fierce. To encourage both accuracy and competition (of the friendly variety), we LOCK the trip log each Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. for the previous work week (Sunday thru Saturday). So be sure you log your trips AT LEAST EVERY WEDNESDAY.
What is the minimum number of trips required for participation?
Riders need to log a minimum of four trips during May to be considered full participants of the Commute Challenge. Don't let the fun stop there, though! This is your chance to outride your friends, coworkers and family in a contest for prizes and eternal bragging rights.
What if I bus/carpool/vanpool, etc?
That's great! For some, combining the bike with other modes such as busing or carpooling is the best way to work in a bike commute. You may not be able to ride 27 miles one-way (though some do), but why not ride 3 miles to the Park and Ride? For reporting mileage, only count the bike portion of your commute. Please do not report any extra mileage for trips that are extra or recreational.
I sometimes bike the long way home, ride to mid-day meetings, and do errands by bike on the way home. Can I include these miles/trips in the contest?
While we applaud you for riding more (and more and more), this contest focuses on commute trips. Those extended miles will certainly add to the fun, but pease subtract those miles when updating your trip log.
I work at two worksites, with different distances from home. How do I handle that? Set up your base commute with the distance for one of the worksites. When you commute to the other, you can update the mileage in your trip log.
How many days per week may I log trips? As many as you work. In previous years, riders could enter 5 days maximum. This year, you may enter up to 7 days. That said, we discourage gratuitous overtime for nefarious purposes.
I made a mistake entering my mileage and need to correct it.
You can correct entries back to the previous Wednesday of the week in question. We cannot and will not retroactively enter mileage for teams.
Can I ride solo if I don't have enough workmates to form a team?
Yes! You can participate as a solo participant in the challenge; simply register as a solo rider on the home page. Sorry, but only team captains of teams with 4 or more riders earn a free captain's shirt and attend the free Captain's Bash.
Can solo riders win prizes? Yes! Please pick up one of the free souvenirs at any of the captain's pick-ups listed in the schedule of events or at the Cascade Bicycle Club offices. Energizer station hosts will be out there looking for you. Solo riders are also eligible for drawings throughout the month including the weekly members-only drawings.
What is a challenge?
Challenges are for those competitive types out there who want to tell their friends, 'You think you can ride more than me this month? Prove it!' Increase the friendly competition and inspiration by issuing a challenge to an individual rider or a team, and keep track of their progress throughout the month.
How do I challenge another rider?
You may challenge any participant. To initiate a challenge, go to the other rider's profile (you can search riders by searching rider or team rankings). Click the "Issue Challenge" button above the rider's name.
How do I accept a Challenge?
A challenge will be issued to you via email. To accept, click the link in the email. All active challenges will appear below your trip calendar.
How do I reject a Challenge?
Simply ignore (or delete) the challenge email. The person who challenged you does not have access to your email address through the website.
What is a league and how do I join?
Leagues provide an easy way for teams to group themselves by industry, geography, or some other category, and see each others stats in one place. Team captains can create leagues and join their team to one or more leagues.
Do leagues have special prizes or events?
Members of a league can create league-specific incentives, contests, or events for members. Plan a happy hour for members of your neighborhood league, offer a pizza party for the team with the most trips, or organize a bike buddy system. The sky is the limit!
Can I communicate with other league members?
Yes! Any league members can post in league message boards at the bottom each league page.
What's with all of this "commute rate" and "trips?" What about good ol' fashioned miles?
This year, you have three ways to stack up against the competition. On the rankings pages, all you need to do is click the top header (e.g., "trips") and it will rank the teams or organizations from high to low or low to high. And you long-distance commuters, don't worry: we'll be giving out awards for miles again this year. But we also want to recognize more than miles like frequency of commuting for those who happen to live a little closer to where they work (which, we think, is a good thing).
What's an incomplete team?
An incomplete team is a team with less than 4 members (including the captain). You'll show up as incomplete in the rankings until you have at least 4 members. Note that it takes our system an hour or so to update this, so check back to see if the "incomplete" status disappears.
When will the final standings be posted?
The final standings will be posted the first week of June. You'll get a notice in our weekly e-newsletter Crosstown Traffic.
How do we calculate CO2?
As you might imagine, this figure would vary depending on a number of factors, but on average, according to the EPA and the Energy Information Administration, for a person driving alone in a vehicle getting 20 miles per gallon under commuting (city) conditions:
Pounds of avoided CO2 emissions = X miles * 0.98 lbs/mile
How do we calculate calories?
Obviously, the number of calories you burn depends on a host of factors unique to each person and ride, so this is definitely an approximation. But based on averages from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here's how we do it:
Miles X 49 calories = total calories burned while cycling
The average person weighing 154 lbs bicycling at 12 mph will burn about 49 calories per mile (extrapolated from an approximate rate of 590 cal/hr). Calories burned per hour will be higher for persons weighing more than 154 lbs and lower for persons who weigh less.This does not take into account hills, the weight of your bicycle, strength or gender variations. This also does not account for calories burned while not cycling due to increased overall health or metabolic rate.
Who polices this contest?
You do! We depend on the integrity of participants to honor the spirit of the contest, and abide by the letter of the laws, such as they are.
How can I stop receiving the weekly Crosstown Traffic newsletter?
There is an unsubscribe option at the bottom of the email. However, let us encourage you to stay with us just for a few weeks. Crosstown Traffic is an important tool for challenge information, inspiration, safety tips, and bike love. We keep it short and sweet, too.
Is my email address available to my teammates?
Your email address is available ONLY to your team captain, not any other participants including your teammates. The rider-to-rider messaging function does not display email addresses. That said, if you respond to a message your email WILL display.
Is my username visible to others?
Your username will be visible to captains to enable them to delete duplicate registrations (which would have the same names and email addresses, but unique user names). All other participants will see only your name, or the nickname you chose to display. We do not recommend using as your user name or nickname something that functions as a password in other areas of your life.
Is the system encrypted?
No. Because there is no secure personal information or financial information involved in the challenge, data sent to and from the website is not encrypted.
How will Cascade use my email address?
We will use your email address to keep you informed about the current commute challenge, to send you the weekly Crosstown Traffic e-news during May, and to announce the beginning of next year's challenge. We will not sell your email address.
Why are you asking for my address and phone number?
We may use your address or phone number to contact you regarding awards and prizes, inform you of transportation plans that affect your neighborhood or to share other opportunites to get involved with Cascade. Address and phone number are optional fields. However, we do require that all participants provide a home and work zip code, which may be used to map where folks are biking to help us identify infrastructure priorities.
Can the team captain change?
Yes. The current team captain can appoint another team member to captain status among registered riders on their team on the Manage My Team page.
How do I change my Organization name?
The captain must log in then select Manage My Team in the top left corner of your Team page. Change your Organization using the auto-filled text box.
NEW! How can I message my team?
You can communicate with your team in two ways: posting to the message board on your 'My Team' page or email. To email your team, use the button in the Team Admin area of your team page that says "Send a message to your team."
How can I delete a rider?
To delete a rider, go to "Manage My Team" button.You can then view a list of team members and delete as needed. If you need to delete a profile for one rider who has duplicate profiles, you can view their last log-in date in order to judge which is the out-of-date profile.
Exporting team data
Captains can export team data using a link available on the Manage My Team page. The export tool is at the bottom of the page.
If these resources don't help you, contact the Commute Challenge web team: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If, after contacting us, you resolve your problem independently, you can email us again and say "problem solved" to retract your request.