Cycling challenge provides more than competition

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By Kelsey Stewart, Assistant News Editor

Cycling is becoming more and more popular. People are cycling for fun and even to commute.
The Get Up and Ride Challenge is taking advantage of cycling’s popularity. The national challenge encourages cyclists to track and post all of the miles they have ridden. It can be broken down by city, workplace, team or individual.
Activate Omaha has put on a local commuter challenge for the past six years. This year’s Get Up and Ride Challenge lets them compete nationally too.
“In a sense, we’re killing two birds with one stone,”  Madison Haugland of Activate Omaha said. “Omaha, its riders and businesses get to compete on a national stage and we still get to do our local commuter challenge. And the mile logging system gets a face lift.”
UNO is one of many organizations registered with the challenge. Over 60 individuals are registered with UNO. It’s more than just friendly competition for UNO. It will eventually help when asking for cycling-friendly improvements on campus.
“It shows the local administration just how much cycling is going on at UNO,” Michael Grube, IT Specialist at UNO said.
It also helps Omaha see how many people are riding bikes and for what purposes.
“It’s a fun way to show that Omaha and UNO supports cycling,”  Haugland said.
Participants in the challenge are also eligible to win prizes through both the Get Up and Ride Challenge and the Activate Omaha Commuter Challenge.
The challenge gives riders friendly competition.
“There are a number of folks in the city that have a lot further commutes than I do, so as time goes on they start to bury me on the boards,” Grube said. “I have to push myself to put in long miles on the weekends if I want to keep up with them.”
The Get Up and Ride Challenge runs through August 31 and the local challenge runs through October 1.     
Both challenges encourage cycling for fun and for transportation by using prizes as incentives and friendly competition. In addition to encouraging cycling, they provide the city and UNO with data to make improvements for cyclists.
“Bicycling for transportation doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ thing,” Haugland said.
“Try it once a week, or once every other week. Drive or take the bus part way and ride the rest. You can start with small steps.”

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