Bike-to-work competition at halfway point, with 22,000 miles biked so far

Author: Gene Stowe

Meredith Rowland, Katerina Lichtenwalter, Ryan Lichtenwalter, College of Science Bike-to-work competition Meredith Rowland (L), Katerina and Ryan Lichtenwalter

When the University of Notre Dame team logged nearly 4,000 miles to lead this year’s Michiana Bike to Work Week Corporate Challenge, Katerina Lichtenwalter decided to keep it rolling.

Lichtenwalter, senior administrative assistant in the College of Science dean’s office—and captain of the college’s sub-team that led the community event—suggested a campus competition through the summer, and Erin Hafner and Meredith Rowland in the Office of Sustainability quickly agreed.

“I was impressed and inspired by the enthusiasm of my colleagues for using their bikes as a means of transportation, and I thought that we could use that momentum coming off the Bike to Work Week to continue with the competition in-house through the summer,” says Lichtenwalter, who last year captained the College’s 90-member Michiana Bike to Work Week team, the event’s largest.
Rowland says the project advances the Office of Sustainability’s goals.

“We were really interested in the competition because it gets people excited about using alternative transportation,” she says. “Biking instead of driving to work is an awesome way to get exercise while at the same time reducing your carbon footprint.”

The Notre Dame Bike-to-Work competition started on June 1 and ends August 15. Lichtenwalter’s husband Ryan, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Notre Dame, constructed a website where participants log miles to keep track of progress.

At the midpoint, 164 people on 25 teams had pedaled 22,000 miles. Teams may have up to 10 members, and scoring favors larger groups. Members of the top three teams will win prizes from local bike shops and Jamba Juice in Eddy Street Commons.

“Any miles count—riding to work, grocery store, post office, or for leisure and exercise,” Lichtenwalter says. “The goal is to build a sense of community among the many Notre Dame employees, faculty and students who choose to ride their bikes instead of driving, whether they are motivated by reducing their carbon footprint, saving on fuel or parking costs, staying fit, or all of the above.

“With so many of us on the roads, we are also raising more awareness for cycling as a legitimate alternative to driving and getting motorists better accustomed to sharing the road with us.”

Pictured (from left) Meredith Rowland, intern and project coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, Katerina Lichtenwalter, senior administrative assistant in the College of Science Dean’s Office, and Ryan Lichtenwalter, graduate student in computer science. Photo: Carol C. Bradley