LCOGT Santa Barbara Gets a Play Day for Pushing Pedals

Santa Barbara– August 2010

In April of this year, LCOGT mechanical engineer, John Hygelund, challenged fellow Santa Barbara staffers to participate in Traffic Solutions’ Bike Challenge bike commute competition that was part of a month-long series of bicycle-related events during May called CycleMAYnia.

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Hygelund enjoys his status as king of his (inflatable and therefore low-impact) mountain.

As a result of his efforts, 24 of 50 potential LCOGT employees participated, making a total of 449 commuter trips, avoiding over 1800 pounds of CO2 released through car trips and taking first place in their tier (companies with 11 to 50 employees). According to Traffic Solutions' Lori LaRiva, LCOGT staff members saved (avoided? eliminated?) over 2100 car miles.

On July 29th, Hygelund reaped the rewards for his efforts by bringing a massive bouncer race course and bar-b-que to LCOGT for a celebration. (The default prize was a set of bike racks, but LCOGT is already well-endowed in this area.)

The CycleMAYnia competition was kicked off for the first time this year. A Bike-to-Work Day started in 1999 expanded to Bike Week. In its inaugural year, 540 Santa Barbara County competitors rode 8,119 commuter bike days, avoiding 47,000 car miles as they competed in the challenge. This resulted in 1,000 fewer pounds of toxic air pollutants and 42,000 fewer pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Using the conservative 2010 Internal Revenue Service rate for vehicle business mileage of $0.50/mile, participants saved themselves some $23,000.

LCOGT has maintained a commitment to decreasing greenhouse gases since its inception in 2005. The employee manual provides for a Commuter Transportation Benefit that subsidizes employees for public transportation use and parking costs for vanpools, and a Bicycle Commuter Benefit, providing reimbursement for expenses related to commuting to work by bike.

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Maida Smith and Federica Bianco pitted against each other in the pit.

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Owen Barton plays sled for daughter Amy on the downslope.

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Nan Brooks finds peace between the races.