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Smart Commuters Conquer the Cold

February 13 2017


               Ned Savoie                                           Ashleigh Cronshaw                                       Linda Kirk                                     Jon Mullen

Late fall commuteSMART Seacoast challenged local residents to “conquer the cold” and get to work by bicycle, bus, or on foot.  One hundred and six Seacoast area commuters took the challenge and logged their sustainable trips online during the three month period that ran from November 1 through January 31st.

During the Conquer the Cold Challenge, active commuters logged a total of 2,564 trips and 34,071 miles, which would stretch around the earth 1.3 times. Fourteen tons of carbon dioxide entering the air were avoided.

Friendly competition was encouraged as participants moved through four achievement levels based on the number of trips logged, starting with “Snowflake”, then progressing to “Icicle”, “Hot Chocolate”, and finally “Abominable Snowman”.  Participants received small incentive prizes as they logged more trips.

“We were pleased and surprised how many commuters responded to this first-ever winter commuter challenge ,” reports Anne Rugg, Manager of the commuteSMART Seacoast program.  CommuteSMART staff used gorilla marketing to get the word out – door to door calls to nearly every downtown Portsmouth business, postcards in coffee shops, and even a live Abominable Snowman, the Challenge mascot, handing out flyers in Market Square.

Participants came from a wide variety of area employers, including retail, food and lodging, marketing, and architecture.  UNH had the highest percentage of participation as staff, faculty and students logged trips on Wildcat Transit and biked to campus.

Kittery resident Ned Savoie, the creative director of Harbor Light Strategic Marketing, logged the most trips (151) during the Challenge.  Ned has chosen to use his electric  assist three-wheeled bicycle as his main form of transportation.  “It’s fun, keeps me active, is way cheaper than driving a car, and is the environmentally responsible thing to do.  Plus biking puts a huge smile on my face”, reports Savoie. 

Dover resident Ashleigh Cronshaw logged the most trips and most miles for a transit rider. “I take COAST because my fiancé and I only have one car and he tends to need it more for work’, Cronshaw comments.  “I took part in the challenge because I thought it would be nice to be able to compare how much I take the bus in comparison to others. Plus the prizes were a nice incentive.”

Portsmouth resident Linda Kirk logged the most trips and most miles in the walker category.   She walks to her job at the Hilton Garden Inn, as well as to meet friends and shop.  Linda has chosen not to own a car and moved to downtown Portsmouth so she could walk to work and to the store.  “Walking resets my brains and de-stresses me, even just five minutes”, comments Kirk.

Jon Mullen logged the most miles (1,359) bicycling every day from Nottingham to Sig Sauer at Pease.  “I ride because it’s just fun…and it’s the right thing to do.  The world’s got a carbon problem, America’s got an obesity problem, and the Seacoast has a traffic problem. The bicycle is a solution for all three,” observes Mullen.

Now that the Conquer the Cold Challenge is over, commuteSMART is looking forward to sponsoring its annual Business to Business Challenge during May. Staff are already gearing up for this great team building event, and have begun reaching out to area businesses who might be interested in participating for the first time this year. Don’t miss out on the fun!