When Reliance Foundry decided to hold a Pedals for Professionals contest in support of Bike to Work Week in April, 2014, we didn’t realize the winner would use a significant part of the prize money to help expand a bike to work program at his company. The contest called for entrants to submit a presentation about why cycling to work was important to them, and the winner would walk away with $5,000 in new cycling gear of their choice. We were amazed at the extent of the response, and found ourselves flooded with photos, videos and essays.
What the Winner of Pedals for Professionals Bought for Himself
Kevin's new ride: A Marin Cortina commuter bike!
In the video he submitted, winner Kevin Neidorf talked about the big picture importance of biking to work, but also his personal reasons, saying "My demons… disappear with every pedal stroke." With some of his prize money, Kevin bought a Marin Cortina commuter bike to replace his old ride, which he described as having "three cracks in the rear wheel, mismatched components on their last legs and a hefty frame from the early ’90s that is essentially glued together." He wrote us recently to tell us how the new bike he bought with the Pedals for Professionals prize money has motivated him. "Since I’ve got the new bike, I can say that I’ve easily ridden into work more often than I’ve driven," Kevin says.
What the Winner of Pedals for Professionals Did for His Community
Pedals for Professionals Winner, Kevin Neidorf, testing out his new gear
The winner could have used all the prize money to just buy more gear, but Kevin contributed a big part of his winnings to an incentivized bike to work program where he works at Hawley LLC in Lexington, South Carolina. Kevin’s gift has helped the company to make needed changes including raising the money amount of incentives. The company is also currently planning their first bike-to-work raffle in which a gift certificate will be awarded in front of the entire company at the upcoming monthly meeting. This is certainly good psychology, as studies show publically awarding incentives for an activity help to encourage it. The person awarded often becomes an evangelist, and others who attend the ceremony discuss the program among themselves, their friends and their families. To help track bike to work activity, Kevin’s company has now set up a bike to work team through a website called greenlightride.
Kevin thinks increasing the number of people who bike to work and the number of times they do it per month is more important than it first appears. In his winning submission, he said "We are so caught up with this talk of sustainable resources that it seems we too often overlook one of the greatest ones that we’ve got: ourselves. We spend billions of dollars masterminding ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our modes of transportation, but we seem to rule out our own two legs as a means to get places. We buy gym memberships, weight loss supplements and invest in fad diets yet the idea of riding a bicycle to work seldom crosses the majority of our minds."
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Pedals for Professionals Will be an Annual Reliance Foundry Event
Pedals for Professionals contest
"Pedals for Professionals is a new initiative. We really didn't know what kind of result to expect" says Reliance Foundry Vice-President, Brad Done. "We are thrilled to know that Kevin’s new bike is inspiring him to bike to work more often, and even more pleased that Kevin has used some of his prize money to encourage his coworkers to do the same. It’s exciting to learn that the contest can have this kind of reach, and Pedals for Professionals will be back for its second year in February 2015."
Why Bike to Work Anyway?
In the U.S. alone, about 730,000 people bike to work as their primary means of transportation, a 50% increase from year 2000. Here are just a few reasons.
- Environmental sustainability: For every one mile pedaled rather than driven, about one pound of CO2 is saved.
- Health: Three hours of biking per week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%.
- Finances: On a round-trip commute of 10 miles, bicyclists save about $10 daily.