MIT Lincoln Laboratory and its 2011 Bike Week Challenge team garnered first-place awards in the annual MassCommuter Challenge. The team of 117 bicyclists pledged 6,965 miles during the Bay State Bike Week, held from May 14-20 to encourage people to ride their bicycles to work, school or other activities. The laboratory team's mileage not only earned them first place in the class for organizations of 3,000 to 4,999 employees, it was the highest mileage of all 197 participating organizations, outdistancing the runner-up team (which happened to be MIT's main campus team) by 969 miles for the honor of grand prize winner.
"Our consistently high achievement in the MassCommuter Challenge results from a strong commitment at the laboratory to corporate social responsibility, manifested through long-term support of bicycle commuting by the senior management," says Jeff Roth, a long-time member of the Bike-to-Work team and Bike LL, the lab's employee bicycling community.
Lincoln Laboratory was also honored with a first-place award for outstanding participation and corporate bicycle services. This award reflects the ongoing commitment the laboratory has made to promoting bicycling as a commuting option and fitness activity. Services supported by the laboratory include sheltered bicycle parking, a free bike-share program, a bike repair stand and tools, and shower facilities. The award also recognizes the lab's involvement in the MIT reimbursement program for bicycle commuting expenses and in other transportation initiatives aimed at reducing the use of single-occupancy vehicles.
In collaboration with Bike LL, the Lab this year offered bike safety checks, a bike-commuting "how-to" seminar, and four breakfasts during May for bicycle commuters. "There are so many tangible personal benefits from cycling to work, whether it be the fun, fitness or independence gained, yet there are also wider benefits to the laboratory, for example, freeing up car parking spaces for visitors and enhancing health and wellness of employees," Roth says.
This was the second consecutive, and third overall, year the Lincoln Laboratory team earned a first-place award in the MassCommuter Challenge for scoring highest in its size category. This is the first time the laboratory received the grand-prize award for highest mileage statewide.
The challenge is a large statewide event sponsored by MassCommute, a group of Transportation Management Associations promoting sustainable commuting options. The challenge event specifically helps MassCommute advocate for increased bicycling, which helps reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and foster healthier lifestyles. In 2010, the laboratory was also named a gold-level Bicycle-Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists, an organization that promotes bicycling for recreation and transportation.