Is this contest inherently flawed?
Before reading please note: I am posting this topic only as a point of interest, and not as a serious criticism. I understand that the Team Bike Challenge is just a fun way for people to get involved in the bike to work month festivities with a little bit of friendly competition.
That being said, isn't the milage-based scoring system skewed to favor folks who live out in boonies and the suburbs, and have a long way to commute in to work, and aren't those long distances between work and home some of the main contributing factors which turn people off to regular, long-term bike commuting in the first place? I have made conscientious decisions to choose a home and workplace in very close vicinity to one another, and have a very short, 1.5 mile bike ride to work each morning. I also do almost all my shopping locally, and use my bike or my feet to take me absolutely everywhere I travel, but at the end of the day I almost never put in more than 15 miles on average.
For the purposes of this contest I have started taking a VERY scenic route to almost every place I go, but still find it difficult to fit more than 20 miles into my day. On the weekends I like to go on longer rides in the hills for sight-seeing/recreation, but since these are classified as 'exercise' they don't count toward my total.
It seems that a better way to score this contest would to just count each 'trip' (including biking for the sake of biking), and disregard the milage. This would encourage people to become better acquainted with their own neighborhoods and visit some local businesses, instead of going 20+ miles out of their way to the same store or restaurant they normally drive to. This connection to one's own neighborhood would make it much more likely for new bikers to stick with it well after bike to work month is over.