Green Bike™ Project: transforming commutes and transforming lives

Triumphant Green Bikers gather at the finish line to celebrate with City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Back in May, 36 drive-alone commuters took a deep breath and pledged to convert at least half of their drive-alone commute trips to bicycle trips. In return, Cascade Bicycle Club pledged to provide them with all the essential elements to try out bike commuting, including their very own bicycle. We're thrilled to report that three months later, an impressive 86 percent of participants reached their goal, fulfilled their pledge and have earned sole ownership of their Green Bikes.

We celebrated this remarkable achievement and  officially handed over the ownership of the Green Bikes at a festive finish line gathering attended by Green Bikers, their friends and family, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen (chair of the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee and an occasional bike commuter himself), and the local bicycle papparazzi. "This is an incredible result. In only three months, we’ve helped transform 30 people into comfortable, confident, and competent cyclists. I don’t know of many other programs that can boast an 86 percent success rate,” said Chuck Ayers, executive director of the Cascade Bicycle Club.

The Green Bike Project does more than transform participants’ commutes; it transforms lives. “I love riding my bike to work,” said Alex, of the Odyssey School. “I plan to keep it up for the rest of my life.”

Alex beams as she receives her certificate of ownership from City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.

“I was really amazed with how quickly my body adapted to riding," said Heather of Darigold. "I was really sore the first time I did it, and noticed huge improvements in how well I was able to go.”   Heather also shared that prior to the Green Bike™ Project, she was a self-described “Move out of the way, bicyclists!!!” type of driver. Her commute from Bellevue to Southeast Seattle has given her a bicyclist-eye perspective on sharing the road that she will carry with her when she is behind the wheel.

In fact, the Green Bike™ Project has also helped transform the commuting habits of participants’ friends and family. Laura of Wellspring Family Services reported that her husband was inspired to purchase a bike for himself and rides nearly everywhere. It’s been so long since they used their car that Laura admitted “I’m afraid the battery of our car may have gone dead!” Similarly, Laura’s coworker Carmel (whose story delighted a visiting reporter from San Antonio) shared that her girlfriend also bought a bike so that they could ride to places together.

Congratulations to our 2010 Green Bikers and thanks to their employers  Case Design, Committee for Children, Darigold, Iron Bow Technologies, Outdoor Research, Odyssey School, and Wellspring Family Services.