Group Health Commute Challenge

 

Help/FAQ

Many common questions are addressed below. Topics are listed to the right for convenience. Still stumped? Please email commutechallenge@cascadebicycleclub.org.  We're eager to help!

 

WHAT'S NEW THIS YEAR?

We are thrilled to report that this year features useful enhancements rather than an overhaul. A special note of thanks to our long-time participants for bearing with us through the transition to this awesome new platform. Here's what's new:

  • You can share the joy of bike commuting with Facebook and Twitter features.
  • The trip log calendar now shows Bike Month events so you can track your trips and your social calendar. 
  • Rider rankings can be filtered by new commuters, solo riders, captains, and by gender.
  • Captains can log trips for their team members.
  • Captains have more information on the status of rider invitations.
  • You can specify your gender and filter your ranking accordingly.
  • We are offering a new member special exclusively to commute challenge participants: $1 for a 3-month test ride of Cascade Bicycle Club.
  • Local companies are donating $1/mile for every commtue trip logged by their employees.

The fun and great prizes haven't changed though!

 

What is with the sticker souvenir?
Every year we give away an fee souvenir item to all participants in the Group Health Commute Challenge, usually something that adds a little safety and bling. This year, we are giving away a sheet of fun and reflective bike-themed stickers.

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. This year, w We are deploying our resources as in the form of Energizer Stations, where we’ll be doling out services to all bicyclists rather than schwag 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 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 sticker….
The souvenir itself returns to its original role as safety-oriented token of our appreciation for your participation. This means you may place your sticker(s) wherever you want, and nowhere you DON’T want. You can wrap a sticker around your seat post, stick one on a spoke, or affix one to your fender. You can also embellish accessories such as your helmet, your jacket, or your bag. You could even put a bike sticker to on your (gasp) car!

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REGISTRATION
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 Group Health Commute Challenge. Please join us!

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.

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.

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 (2011), 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's not there, your captain may have typed the wrong 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).

NEW! I heard that there are weekly members-only prizes. How do I know if I am a Cascade Member? Yes  they do. There are some mighty fine members-only Ortleib bags at stake, not to mention the opportunity to join us 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/

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LOGGING TRIPS 

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 pm for the previous work week (Sunday thru Saturday). So be sure you log your trips AT LEAST EVERY WEDNESDAY.

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 contenst focuses on commute trips. Those extended miles will certainly add to the fun, but pease subtract those miles when updating your trip log.

NEW! I work at two worksites, with different distances from home. Hiow 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.

NEW! 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.

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SOLO 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.

NEW! Can solo riders win prizes? Yes! Please pick up one of the reflective stickers at any of the captain's pickups 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 drawing throughout the month including the weekly members-only drawings.

NEW! Can solo riders attend the Bike Month Wrap Up Party? Yes! ALL Group Health COmmute Challenge participants are welcome to join us at the Pyramid Brewery for the June 7 Bike Month celebration.

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CHALLENGES

How do I challenge another rider?

You may challenge any participant. To initiate a challenge, go to the other rder'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.

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STANDINGS AND STATS

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 Tuesday, June 7 just in time for the Awards Celebration at Pyramid Brewing.

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.

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CONTEST ADMIN & PRIVACY

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 User Name 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 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.

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CAPTAINS

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.

How can I Email my team?

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.

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SUPPORTED BROWSERS and TECHNOLOGY

Web browsers
The Commute Challenge is designed to work on all modern browsers: Internet Explorer v.6, v.7 and v.8; Firefox; Google Chrome; Safari v.2 and v.3; and Camino, both Mac and PC. If you're getting strange results, and you have javascript turned on (see below), you may want to upgrade the version of your browser.

Is javascript required?
Javascript is required. The site will probably work without it, but your experience will be dramatically improved if you turn it on.

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CONTACT US

If these resources don't help you, contact the GHCC web team: commutechallenge@cascadebicycleclub.org.

If, after contacting us, you resolve your problem independently, you can email us again and say "problem solved" to retract your request.