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Commuters Conquer the Cold

February 24 2020

Late last fall CommuteSMART Seacoast challenged local residents to “conquer the cold” and commute to work by bicycle, bus, or on foot.  One hundred and eighteen Seacoast area commuters took the challenge and logged their sustainable trips online from November 1 through January 31st.

During the Conquer the Cold Challenge, commuters logged 3,021 trips totaling 33,500 miles, which would stretch around the equator 1.4 times.  Additionally, over 15.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions were saved.

Friendly competition was encouraged as participants moved through four achievement levels based on the number of trips logged.  Participants received small incentive prizes as they logged more trips.  Three smart commuters won raffle prizes worth $200.

“We are delighted that the Challenge is encouraging more people to try or increase their biking, walking or taking the bus in the winter “, comments  Anne Rugg, Manager of CommuteSMART Seacoast.  “Participants tell us they do it to challenge themselves and to their part in reducing climate change”, Rugg adds.

Participants came from a wide variety of the employers,  including software, education, health care, food service, and architecture. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, UNH, and Heinemann Publishing had the highest percentage of participants.

Ann Poubeau, who started riding COAST to Bottomline Technologies said, “This was a real life changer and I’ll continue to ride the bus after the Challenge ends.”  Tom Cundiff who works at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard commented, “This was a good motivation to keep riding to work.  Seeing the leaderboard and realizing I wasn’t the only one out there pedaling totally helped me to realize winter bike commuting was feasible.”

Three time winner, James Lapsley of Dover, came in first place again with 77 trips for a total of 154 miles walking to Terra Cotta Pasta in Dover. Veronica Pruett of Dover who rides transit came in second and Karen Hunter of Rochester, another transit rider came in third.  Jon Mullen, a mechanical engineer who bikes from Nottingham to Dover, had the highest score of 1,343 miles for bike commuting.

CommuteSMART is already planning its 6th annual May B2B Commuter Challenge. Staff are gearing up for this free, fun team building event that had over 1,000 participants and 50 teams last year.