Back-to-Work Bike-to-Work Challenge in Tucson, Arizona

Event Date:

The first event was held on consecutive Wednesdays throughout January 2011.

Event Location:

Spoke6 — a bike-friendly, flexible-use work space in downtown Tucson — provided the location for the bike breakfast.

Sponsors:

The event was jointly sponsored by Spoke6 (http://spoke6.com) flexible work space, Creative Slice (http://creativeslice.com), and the There & Back Bicycles (http://thereandbackbikes.com). Spoke6 provided the space for the bike breakfast, while Creative Slice managed the Web tool for logging trips. There & Back Bicycles provided the prizes for the event.

Event Summary:

The Back-to-Work Bike-to-Work Challenge encouraged Tucson residents kick off the New Year by biking to work. The event utilized a bike breakfast, user-generated trip logs, and giveaways to generate interest and increase publicity. By providing a free breakfast, the event served both as a form of encouragement for bicycle commuters, and a way to draw attention to the services offered at Spoke6 and There & Back Bicycles. Creative Slice, a group specializing in Web design, created an online Web tool to facilitate easy trip recording and trip tracking. Even those commuters who didn't participate in the Spoke6 breakfast were encouraged to log their trips using the online tool. Those commuters who logged trips were eligible to win prizes from There & Back Bicycles and Spoke 6 following the conclusion of the January events. The bike breakfast, as one of the first events held at Spoke6, drew media attention from local news (http://www.kvoa.com/news/2-wheelin-2-work-in-january/) and also was attended by Matt Zoll, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator for Pima County, which provided an extra boost to the event.

Background:

This is the first cycling event at Spoke6, which reflects the growing interest in creating Bike to Work events in Arizona. The City of Tucson has also been involved in organizing Bike to Work Events. According to anecdotal evidence, bicycling in Tucson has increased recently and more people are becoming interested in biking to work. The Tucson Velo blog (http://tucsonvelo.com/), a well maintained local resource with active participation from the community, is a testament to the popularity of bicycling and provides a helpful forum for bicyclists in and around Tucson. In addition, the blog is updated daily with Tucson cycling news.

Partners:

As mentioned previously, Spoke6, Creative Slice, and There & Back Bicycles were the primary organizers for this event, while the Pima County Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator leant his support by attending the events.

Turnout:

As a relatively new event, the organizers considered the Back-to-Work Bike-to-Work Challenge to be quite successful. The online trip tracking system yielded 60 commutes during the month of January, while between 10 and 20 cyclists showed up to each event. With increased publicity and marketing, the next events are likely to solicit more participants and will draw attention to cycling in the City of Tucson. In particular, the local news interviews could build support and will hopefully increase the number of Challenge participants.

Lessons Learned:

This event was a great success and connected Spoke6 to the cycling community of Tucson. For the next event, organizers from Spoke6 and There & Back Bicycles will provide more bike parking at the bike breakfast and include a paper sign-in sheet to facilitate better tracking, especially for those participants not captured by the online trip-logging tool.