Shaun Ralston biked 1,363.8 miles during TBC 2012
Mai Le —

As part of a series highlighting riders that biked an incredible amount of miles during Team Bike Challenge and National Bike Month, we are publishing a series of questions from top riders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

A diabetes diagnosis was a wake-up call for Shaun Raston. He decided that insulin was not an option, got rid of his car and became a bike commuter. Along the way he also lost 90 lbs and is insulin free. Biking every day, Ralston added to his team's points by 82 and handily surpassed every bicyclist is Sonoma County by riding 1,363.8 miles during May and earning the top mileage slot for his county. Not surprisingly, his team placed 2 overall in Sonoma County.

Where do you work or what is your line of work?
 
I work at Sutter Health as the Marketing/Communications Manager for four hospitals and a medical group.
 
Is this the first time you've participated in the Challenge, or something similar? (Please elaborate.)
 
This is the second year I participated, after being invited by my cycling buddy, Pauli Frey. 
 
What type of bike do you ride?
 
I commute to work on a Kona Mountain Bike, adapted for urban terrain (with street friendly tires, fenders for rain, and panniers for hauling gear/groceries). During the weekend, I ride a Trek Madone road bike for club rides and races.
 
Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?
 
Yes, "enjoy every mile!"
 
We are so fortunate to live in beautiful Northern California and each ride is like a mini get-a-way. Not only do you get the fitness benefits of cycling, but the scenic views, new route discovery and friends made along the way are incredible added benefits ~ not to mention the gas savings.
 
What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?
 
Strangely enough it was a diabetes diagnosis that pushed me into cycling. After discussing options with my doctor, he insisted that I lose weight and begin an exercise regimen (or face the prospect of chronic medication, possibly insulin). So, I got rid of my car, became an exclusive bike commuter and lost nearly 90 pounds in the process. Now, if I want to treat myself to a fresh baked sticky bun, I simply cycle to the bakery, without consequence. The continuing health and wellness benefits keep me cycling.
 
How did you keep up your motivation this month?
 
The Team Bike Challenge internet mileage tracking, online leader boards, virtual award medals and team camaraderie kept me motivated throughout May's Bike Month. Our team developed a special kinship as we posted our progress on each others' Facebook pages.
 
What is the best thing about being #1 in your county?
 
The best thing about cycling all these miles has been the influence on others. Whether meeting a stranger at the store, an office colleague at work or encountering a newbie commuter on the street, it's great to share best practices on how to bike commute, tell stories about a new discovery on the road or discuss cost/ecological savings.
 
Thank you Shaun! You're an example of people taking their health into their own hands and making a difference through cycling. As a bonus; taking a car off the road, you're contributing to the environment as well!
Jeff Knowles biked 665.7 miles during Team Bike Challenge 2012
Mai Le —

As part of a series highlighting riders that biked an incredible amount of miles during Team Bike Challenge and National Bike Month, we are publishing a series of questions from top riders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jeff Knowles of Vacaville made Team Bike Challenge a family affair by biking with his son, Michael, and daughter, Amanda, as part of the Vaca 5 team. With the Knowles family more than half of the team; Vaca 5 took first place in Solano County's TBC with 291 points and 1,952.3 miles. They almost doubled the mileage of their closest competitor.

Knowles personally put in 665.7 miles during the Challenge, burning 28,626 calories, and racking up an impressive 81 individual points in Team Bike Challenge.

Is this the first time you've participated in the Challenge, or something similar? (Please elaborate.)

Before last year, I had ridden to work only once. But as City Traffic Engineer I decided to participate in the Bike Team Challenge and formed Vaca 5 when I found that the City and School District had no team for me to join and contribute point to. Our team formed during the first week of the competition and we ended up Solano County’s overall point leader (not most miles, but most points), and I ended up being the County’s leading individual point scorer. I had second thoughts about competing again, but my two kids (9 year old Michael and 11 year old Amanda) and my co-worker Marc, who formed the core of our team last year were anxious to compete again with or without me, so I joined in again expecting even more competition than last year from the riders in Team Budweiser. But it seems like our strategy to have a very strong first week worked as planned and all of our competition faded away.
 
What type of bike do you ride?
 
A Bottecchia I bought on EBay last year after my bike from last year’s competition was stolen (later recovered by PD). Nothing too fancy, but a nice bike for under $600.
 
Did you bike every day?  
 
My teammate Marc York led our team in miles and points most of the month and he was working so hard, and had contributed so much more to the team than I excepted last year and this year that I told him I would let him win on points if he kept up the hard work. So I intentionally skipped riding that day we drove to Nevada for the Annular Eclipse and had one other 2 point day so I would not be able to compete against Marc for miles if we were tied for points at the end of the year. (I know how competitive I can become.)  I let him know the win was his for the taking and I skipped another day when I had all-day meetings in Sacramento.  But then Marc missed a few days and I felt that although I had set him up to win, I was not going to just give it away, and so I started riding extra miles in case we did end up in a tie for points. What was the question again… yes, I skipped two days but would not have, and neither would my kids if there had been bonus points for riding every day as there were last year. This year all of Vaca 5 rode on day 1 because we were all set to earn every bonus point available, and were disappointed to learn that all bonus points had been eliminated from the competition.
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Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?  
 
My motto transitioned over time along these lines, “Man my butt hurts, was it this bad last year, another flat, I hate this, I can’t let my team down, (to my kids: If you can think of a way to win a bike competition sitting on the couch, please let me know, but until then, we need to do another 10-mile ride), I can put up with anything for a month, we’ve come too far to quit now, I’ll double my miles and if he lets up just a little I’ve got him beat, good-luck Marc, I won’t  know who won until midnight.
 
It should be noted that at the beginning of the 4th week my daughter and I decided we would not compete in 2013. My mottos can definitely be firmly in place, but with a predetermined expiration date.
 
What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?  
 
Not getting hit by a car? My competitive nature, my refusal to grow old (I may be fat and 53, but not OLD), and my desire to show my kids how to compete with good sportsmanship to the end. They’d ask why I still wanted to ride when we had twice the points of the 2nd place team and no one could catch us, and I’d tell them we should finish with style.
 
Plus it was our last year competing, so what the heck!!!
 
How did you keep up your motivation this month?  
 
First Day, flat tire coming home from work with no spare.  Just got walked into bike shop before closing. It was a sign to quit right then.  Walked a bit that week during rides because my seat hurt so bad. Hadn’t been on a bike in 10 months and started the competition riding more than 20 miles a day. Rode to school with kids each day and then on to work. Most days rode with kids for their 10+ miles after riding home from work. 9 flat tires on 3 bikes during month, but lots of quality family time riding to parks, movies, McDonalds and the City faire.  Kept sending out emails encouraging the rest of the team and leading weekend 20+ mile rides with the three younger cyclists.   
 
No one fully understands their subconscious. Motivation: stupid, stubborn, competitive, something to prove? Great family adventure, learning experience and good exercise? Who knows?
 
What is the best thing about being #1 in your county?  
 
It’s over!!!!! I would have preferred to see Marc score a perfect 93 for himself and the team. Now that it’s over, do I go for 93 points next year plus every bonus point available? Can I make my kid’s schools more competitive in the Company competitions? I know that was not the question, but when you win and know you could have done better, you wonder who will be the competition next year, and can you do it all again and then some…
 
Congratulations on racking up the most individual miles in Solano County, as well as winning Team Bike Challenge Jeff! We hope you'll reconsider participating in TBC before 2013 rolls around.
Monica Stafford biked 1,002.1 miles during Team Bike Challenge 2012
Mai Le —

As part of a series highlighting riders that biked an incredible amount of miles during Team Bike Challenge and National Bike Month, we are publishing a series of questions from top riders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Monica Stafford bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge from her home in Marin County to her office in Fort Mason at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, a non-profit that supports our local national parks.  In her position with the Park Stewardship Program, she helps run programs that restore ecologically important sites, and involve volunteers from all walks of life in this hands-on work. While she does this important work for the rest of us in the Bay Area, she feels her most important role is that of a mom to two young kids.

Stafford easily biked the most miles of anyone in Marin County during the month of May by riding 1,002.1 miles, burning 43,090 calories, and racking up an impressive 72 points in Team Bike Challenge.

Is this the first time you've participated in the Challenge, or something similar? (Please elaborate.)

Yes! I’ve never participated in anything resembling an athletic challengeor competition. I was not particularly athletic as a kid. Though my bike was my primary means of transport in my 20’s, I stopped biking after I had kids and full-time work. I started biking again just over a year ago, and gradually began to incorporate it into my commute to work. At first I biked a few miles to the bus stop. After a few months -- with the opening of the Cal Park Hill Tunnel -- I started biking to the Larkspur ferry. I then challenged myself to bike from San Rafael to the Fort Mason, taking the bus or ferry back in the afternoon. It was only this month, because of this challenge, that I began to bike-commute both ways. I became a bit obsessed… I didn’t realize I had it in me to become so competitive.

What type of bike do you ride?

For commuting I ride a Cannondale Super Six roadbike, a 40th birthday present from just a few months ago. It was a significant upgrade, one of the nicest things I’ve owned. I also have an older Gary Fisher Sugar mountain bike.

Did you bike every day?

I bike into work M-F, and if I’m lucky, I go for a recreational ride on the weekend, usually in China Camp or west of Fairfax. I was pretty tired on the evening of May 31, so I’ve given myself a week off to recover, but I’ll be back in the saddle come second week of June, when I will continue bike-commuting for the rest of the year.

Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?

No motto just yet.

What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?

A supportive husband who held down the fort when I got home late; my boss who let me make up for the occasional shorter workday; and all my friends at work who got just as swept up in the challenge, making the month a lot of fun. It got many in our office bike-commuting more, several for the first time. One co-worker was new to biking – he bought his bike just in mid-April – yet managed to rack up well over 500 miles, becoming the top point-winner for the Conservancy.

How did you keep up your motivation this month?

There’s something satisfying about logging in the miles and watching them add up. Halfway through the month, I realized that if I just stepped it up a notch, I could make it to 1,000 miles, so that became my new motivation: I really wanted to see if I could break 1,000.

What is the best thing about being #1 in your county?

I’ve never come in first place before, so I’m pretty excited. I’m happy to be a cyclist in Marin. The beauty and bike-commutability of this area is what inspired me to get on the bike in the first place. To anyone that has been part of improving Marin bike paths over the years: THANK YOU. The opening of the Cal Park Hill Tunnel was what originally motivated me to bike to work. It’s allowed our family to survive without a second car, and it changed my life!

Thank you Monica and congratulations for surpassing all your fellow Marin County denizens in mileage. Your story will doubtless inspire others to bike more.

Peter Chang biked 2,055 miles during Team Bike Challenge 2012
Mai Le —

As part of a series highlighting riders that biked an incredible amount of miles during Team Bike Challenge and National Bike Month, we are publishing a series of questions and answers from top riders throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Peter Chang biked a mind blowing 2,055 miles during the month of May earning him the first place slot in miles biked in SF County. Working as an engineer at Google, he is active in SF2G. Team mate Scott Crosby writes: “We also have a verb we use around these parts, always in the past-participle: "Chang'd." it means to be crushed and dropped on a group ride.” 

During the month, Chang managed to burn 88,367 calories and rack up an impressive 92 points. This is the second year he’s participated in Team Bike Challenge; his team, partycar.com, (not surprisingly) took third place in regional with an unheard of 5,490.1 miles traversed and first place in San Francisco.

What type of bike do you ride?

Mostly a road bike for commuting, I mostly rode the geared one this year, but did a couple fixed rides to mix it up. [Team Mate Scott Crosby adds: “To add some color, he rides a custom Seven titanium track bike (fixed gear) and a Ritte Van Vlaanderen carbon road bike."]

Did you bike every day?

Yes. Although there was that day without three points because I can't add so well.

Do you have a fitness/cycling motto?

Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius.

What do you attribute your success in the Challenge to?

partycar.com

How did you keep up your motivation this month?

Knowing that partycar.com would be there for me next month.

What is the best thing about being #1 in your county?

Basking in the glow of the westerly winds and chilly, morning fog?

 

Thank you Peter and congratulations for an impressive feat of miles. See you (passing me) in the bike lane.

Team Bike Challenge Encourages Month Long Cycling

Mai Le —

[Press Release 06.06.12] - May 31st marked the last day to log miles for Bike to Work Day’s Team Bike Challenge and Company Bike Challenge. The month long challenge had Bay Area bike commuters logging road miles throughout May.

The Challenge broke participant records with 4,425 individuals registered (compared to 2,800 in 2011) on 664 teams and an additional 245 companies participating in Company Bike Challenge. A total of 701,710 miles were biked, more than doubling the distance of 2011’s 316,359 miles. The distance ridden was enough miles to circle the world 28.2 times while saving 351 tons of CO2 and burning 43,155,179 calories.

Winners came from every walk of life, representing the wide range of bicycling enthusiasts in the Bay Area. Taking first place in the regional contest, Santa Clara County’s KTCC1 won with 399 points and 4,461.5 miles. Following close behind, San Mateo County’s Honey Badgers racked up 395 points; while bronze place went to San Francisco’s Partycar.com with 375 points.

Company Bike Challenge’s competition ran extremely hot this year with Apple unbelievably taking the top slot with 38,222.7 miles and 4,803 points, followed by KLA-Tencor, whose awe-inspiring 27,542.1 miles and 2,745 points put them in second place, and Tesla Motors impressively took third with 21,969.9 miles and 2,632 points.

Team Bike Challenge's success was bolstered by Chipotle's support. "Chipotle is committed to sustainability, serving ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers. We look for ways to support our customers' healthy living choices, so it was a natural fit to get involved with Team Bike Challenge and Bike to Work Day. As the presenting sponsor of TBC, we've encouraged people to leave their cars at home, and have encouraged and rewarded participants with prizes and Chipotle meals to fuel their biking throughout the month," says Marketing Specialist, Erica Cheung.

Team Bike Challenge, a program of Bike to Work Day is made possible through the generous support of: 511.org, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Kaiser Permanente. Chipotle and BikeMS have provided additional support for team bike challenge with prizes provided by Chipotle, Peak Racks, and REI.

For information visit teambikechallenge.com, youcanbikethere.com, 511.org, and Chipotle.com.