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Ecampus, OSU staff are up for the challenge

Annual cycling contest a healthy, competitive outlet for employees

Oregon State University employees do two things very well:

2013 Bike Commute Challenge team

OSU employees from Ecampus and six other units on campus made up this year’s Bike Commute Challenge team. Some of the group’s 29 riders gather here for a photo outside The Valley Library on campus.

1. Create enriching learning experiences for students.
2. Ride bikes. A lot.

Proof of the latter was on display last month during Oregon’s annual Bike Commute Challenge (BCC), a friendly, statewide competition to see which organization or department biked to work the most during September.

Oregon State Ecampus staff members and other colleagues on campus threw their collective hat in the ring as part of a 29-person team that racked up an impressive number of miles – 1,656.

OSU is known nationwide for its affinity for cycling, and the BCC gives staffers added reason to pedal to work rather than hop in the car.

“A big part of it is the team aspect, the social aspect, because you post your miles online and everyone can see what whole team is doing,” said team captain Cub Kahn, an instructional designer for Ecampus at OSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

“Sometimes there’s a friendly competition among people as to who bikes the most days or rides the most miles. For some people, it’s simply a health thing or a break from driving and parking.”

The team consisted of 12 Ecampus employees and workers from six additional OSU units: Technology Across the Curriculum, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Summer Session, Professional and Noncredit Education, the Department of Chemistry, and Extension and Experiment Station Communications.

The challenge’s health and environmental benefits are vast and fall in line with OSU’s mission to create healthier people and a healthier planet. The BCC website estimates that participating cyclists collectively burned more than 30 million calories this month and saved nearly one million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the air.

Kahn says interest in joining the Ecampus team has grown substantially since 2011, when only four employees participated. Last year’s group of 12 riders placed 10th among 121 comparably sized public agencies in Oregon.

“It’s just one more thing for Ecampus to excel in,” Kahn said.