As you remember, Wisconsin finished first in the National Bike Challenge. When we got the official award from the League of American Bicyclists I thought about keeping it in my office. It is a pretty handsome award!
I also thought about sending it up to Appleton for safe keeping by Rob Gusky, who works for Kimberly Clark, the national sponsor of the competition, and who was the personal force behind making us number one again.
But I finally decided that either of those things is just preaching to the choir. What’s needed is positive reenforcement. So, I took the award to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and presented it directly to Secretary Mark Gottlieb.
I learned that the department is really proud of this. Their own team had 143 riders, including the Secretary. Those riders put on 81,000 miles (twice last year’s number), they burned 4.4 million calories, avoided $73,000 in auto-related expenditures, saved 46,000 pounds in CO2 emissions and – they’re most proud of this – bested the Department of Natural Resources finishing #362 on the national list of workplaces while the DNR came in at #381.
Our hat’s off to Secretary Gottlieb and to Dan Tyler, who organized the DOT’s efforts.
There’s a growing recognition at the department that bikes are an important and valuable form of transportation. It’s one thing to know that or to say that; it’s another to get on a bike and ride. At the highest levels of the department that’s exactly what’s happening.
Now, DNR, are you just going to take this?