Toole Design Group is always up for a challenge. So naturally, our team of planners, engineers, and landscape architecture professionals was game for the 2017 National Bike Challenge. As a regular challenger for the small workplace category, and a top-10 workplace nationwide in 2015, we’re riding our bikes and recording our rides from now through September 30. As we wrapped up May’s National Bike Month, we checked in with some of our intrepid National Bike Challengers to find out how and why they are riding.

Jennifer Toole, President, Silver Spring

1.How are you incorporating the National Bike Challenge into your daily routine?

It’s actually not that hard – I live about a mile and a half from the office, so I just make it a point to bike to work every day.  I also bike for various other errands around town, and I recently talked my daughter into biking to her soccer games with me.

2.Do you have a personal goal for riding during the competition?

I am trying to ride at least 6 out of 7 days every week.

3.What is one thing that you see along your ride that you would improve right now?

There is a really bad section a couple blocks from home where the lanes are narrow and full of potholes, and the drivers are impatient. No fun.

4.Tell us one fun thing about your bike.

I love riding my Linus, even though it’s a bit heavy.  It is an upright design – I bought it after a work/study trip to the Netherlands a few years ago.  I like it because I can ride it even when I’m wearing a skirt.

5.If you could ride anywhere, where would you ride?

My favorite bike ride is along Keuka Lake in NY.  Stunning views, cool breezes coming off the water, and a nice, slow, shared street where cars go about the same speed as bikes.  It’s heaven.

 

Sean Co, Senior Planner, Berkeley

1.How are you incorporating the National Bike Challenge into your daily routine?

I log all my bike miles and it has been interesting to see how the miles add up when you incorporate your bike rides into daily activities.

2.Do you have a personal goal for riding during the competition?

I am trying to bike for all my trips during the week, and to get longer rides in on the weekend.

3.What is one thing that you see along your ride that you would improve right now?

I would like to see the City of Berkeley continue to grow their network of protected bike facilities, so that my kids will feel more comfortable going places by bike.

4.Tell us one fun thing about your bike.

I have 7 bikes, but my daily ride is my Xtracycle cargo bike. I have fit 3 kids on it at the same time!

5.If you could ride anywhere, where would you ride?

I really enjoy the mountain bike trails between the redwoods in northern California.

Lydia Hausle, Planner, Boston

1.How are you incorporating the National Bike Challenge into your daily routine?

Biking is a part of my daily life as it is. I train and race in multiple disciplines year-round, and have been a bike commuter for many years. However, one thing I have changed during the National Bike Challenge is that I joined Hubway, our bike share system. On days when I take the subway into work, I hop on a Hubway for a portion of the trip home, and record what I like to call a “slacker mile” for the day. My competitive spirit just can’t walk away from those 20 points!

2.Do you have a personal goal for riding during the competition?

This was going to be the year that I uprooted long-time TDG National Bike Challenge champion, Ken Ray. Then he decided to race his bike across the country, and try as I might, I don’t think I’ll be able to pedal enough miles to take the company crown. So – instead, I’d like to make it onto the podium. Taking the second or third spot place by the end of the challenge will be A-OK with me.

3.What is one thing that you see along your ride that you would improve right now?

If I had a magic wand, the thing I would honestly change is behavior. I witness so much aggression between modes – and even within the same mode. More patience and courteousness from everyone would go a long way, in my opinion.

4.Tell us one fun thing about your bike.

It’s taken me for a wild ride of over 30,000 miles.

5.If you could ride anywhere, where would you ride?

I had a chance to ride a bit in the south of France a few years ago, and it was indescribably beautiful. I could spend a lifetime riding along the cliffs of the Mediterranean.

Ciara Schlichting, Office Director, Minneapolis

1.How are you incorporating the National Bike Challenge into your daily routine?

This year, I am working on choosing to ride for longer trips instead of taking transit– both for work and personal trips. I am now using my bike to go to Target, my kids’ softball games, and client meetings.

2.Do you have a personal goal for riding during the competition?

I am pushing myself to ride to work on rainy days, instead of taking the bus.

3.What is one thing that you see along your ride that you would improve right now?

The lighting along a trail that goes into the woods is concealed by vegetation – that’s a violation of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED).

4.Tell us one fun thing about your bike.

My previous employer purchased my bike for the project I was working on, so that I could bike 40-50 miles per day evaluating a US Bicycle Route.  They were concerned that my old bike wouldn’t make it and result in a breach of contract.  When I left that job, I bought it from them!

5.If you could ride anywhere, where would you ride?

Mississippi River Trail / US Bicycle Route 45.  It starts at the Mississippi River headwaters in Lake Itasca, MN and ends at the Gulf of Mexico.

Jennifer Hefferan, Senior Landscape Architect, Madison

1.How are you incorporating the National Bike Challenge into your daily routine?

During the National Bike Challenge, I switch from walking to biking for my one-mile commute. I don’t own a car, so I walk and bike for transportation all year long.

2.Do you have a personal goal for riding during the competition?

My goal is to ride every day I can. Last year I biked every day in the Bike Challenge, but this year I’ve got too many work trips for that to be possible.

3.What is one thing that you see along your ride that you would improve right now?

The bicycle boulevard between home and my office has a HAWK signal at the busiest street crossing. On my way home from work, I need to activate the signal, but the push button is on the other side of a queue of cars waiting to turn right at this intersection. I would love it if there were a safer way to activate the signal.

4.Tell us one fun thing about your bike.

I love my bike, but it’s a blindingly bright shade of orange. I’m an introvert and I’m not always comfortable with the amount of attention it gets me.

5.If you could ride anywhere, where would you ride?

I would love to experience bicycling in the Netherlands.

Sean Corcoran, Project Engineer, DC

1.How are you incorporating the National Bike Challenge into your daily routine?

Turning on that Strava! I already make most of my trips by bike, but it’s a fun excuse to figure out ways to take trips I might not normally make by bike, whether that’s grabbing panniers or a backpack or bungee cords to go to the store, or using bikeshare to go at least one-way. And I’m not above making my presence at certain social engagements contingent on at least one other person biking there with me.

2.Do you have a personal goal for riding during the competition?

I’m trying to ride as many days as possible and having that 20-point incentive has been helpful with all this rainy weather.

3.What is one thing that you see along your ride that you would improve right now?

Oh the things I would do for a protected bike facility. I’m pretty lucky that about 50% of my ride to work has a bike lane, but none of it is protected. When I talk to people about the NBC, most people say they’d like to bike to work at least some of the time but they don’t feel like it’s safe for them to do so.

4.Tell us one fun thing about your bike.

I rode it across the country, so there’s some sentimental attachment. And right now my front brakes are really squeaky, so that’s fun.

5.If you could ride anywhere, where would you ride?

What could be better than biking to work?!? Biking the Pan-American Highway sounds pretty epic, but some tours in Europe or a fall foliage ride in Vermont seems a bit more realistic.

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