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Money for Bike Commuting Four months after I started my new commute to FW Alliance Airport in April, I got the email above. It caught my attention because it announced a “Commuter Challenge” based on tryparkingit.com, which happens to be the site I use to log my commute.
I read the flyer, partly reproduced below, and saw there was CASH INVOLVED! I’m willing to be bribed for bike rides already logged. Call me weak – I went down the proverbial garden path with no prompting. A review confirmed I’m rolling up twice as many miles in 2009 as I recorded in 2008. I could see myself claiming to my wife that Buddy was getting amortized quicker than planned, opening up the way to guilt-free bike stuff purchases. My chances seemed strong, since we were well into the competition, My confidence was increased knowing that tryparkingit severely limits retroactive mileage logging; ensuring no carpetbagger could sneak in at the last minute.
Waiting for the Envelope I patiently waited for the invitation to the Awards Ceremony. I updated my profile. I thought about endorsement contracts and book deals. I scoped out eggbeater pedals. When the announcement came out about the Awards Luncheon, I bumped up the “proactive factor.” This prompted the email thread below:
Snookered and Snippy This is how it works? A steenkin' committee of suits evaluating nominations from people that probably wouldn't know a bike from roller skates? How the heck is someone on a bike supposed to compete with someone running 10 people in a vanpool up from Waco, much less a telecommuter? Why didn’t you just SAY “bogus?” And so I found out how Commuter Cyclist awards get made. Perhaps, in return, I helped the clean air folks make a little forward progress. I hope so.
• Awards aren’t always as they appear, especially when one's greed causes 1+1 to equal $250
• Try to be civil, even when in a snit. It's not really worth it to do otherwise
• My correspondent was polite, and note how quickly my emails were returned. Kudos!
What IS a “Best Bike Commuter?” Personally, I don’t think mileage should be the only criteria for such an award. I tip my hat to anyone riding every day, in all weather; lugging in clothes and equipment. I tip my hat to anyone that gets a major bike commuter effort going. CommuteOrlando comes to mind. Someone finally got bike racks put on DART buses. I’m sure each reader can think of other examples. Honestly, looking round the back of area restaurants, I’m not sure "Best Bike Commuter" makes more sense than “Best SUV Commuter.”
Still, those eggbeater pedals WOULD have been nice for cyclocross season. Sigh...