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Ray LaHood Gets Behind 2 Mile Challenge

9:03 AM PDT on May 18, 2011

On his “Fast Lane” blog this week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood gave a shout-out to the 2 Mile Challenge, an initiative by the Clif Bar people to encourage people to bike instead of drive. LaHood started by saying that with gas at $4 a gallon, there’s no reason to use a car for the 40 percent of urban trips that are less than two miles, yet 90 percent of the time, that’s what people do.

Many of these trips could easily be taken by public transit, on foot or by bicycle–saving money, helping the environment, and even affording the chance to stay fit all at the same time. At the Department of Transportation, we know these are the kinds of alternatives people are looking for, and we’re working to provide transportation options that don’t require getting into the car.

That’s why I was pleased to hear about a new competition called the 2 Mile Challenge that demonstrates how many car trips could be replaced by bikes.

Here’s the upshot: between May 12 and October 31, you can log the miles you bike on the 2 Mile Challenge website. Those miles become points for the team of your choosing: either the Alliance for Biking and WalkingSafe Routes to School, or 350.org. The more you bike, the more points they get.

Each organization got a $15,000 grant from Clif Bar just to participate. (Last year, it was $20,000 but that was all they got unless they won first place – a $25,000 prize.) This year, each team wins. Third place gets $5,000, second place gets $10,000 and first place gets a cool $20,000. Clif Bar will give an additional $20,000 in “mini-grants” to other organizations nominated by participants.

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