This year is shaping up to be a strong year for biking in Santa Cruz County. After seeing our biggest bike challenge turnout and overall riding impact during our May Bike Month, we saw a near repeat of that historic level of riders, with a small uptick of participating workplaces and one more person riding than our historic 1260 participants in May, for a total of 1261 for Biketober.
Biketober Challenge 2022 by the numbers:
- Workplaces who participated: 144
- Riders: 1,261
- Miles ridden overall – 164,507
- Miles ridden for transport – 40,968 (~25% of miles overall)
- Trips taken overall – 15,765
- Trips for transport – 7,809 (~50% of trips overall)
- CO2 (lbs) – 36,456
As we close out 2022, our collective impact of biking, as measured on our Santa Cruz Love to Ride platform, over two separate month-long bike challenges and riding logged in the months between add up to some impressive results!
Overall riding impact in 2022 by the numbers:
- 67 new workplaces, bringing our grand total to 280 Santa Cruz County workplaces
- Riders this year – 1,820
- Miles ridden overall – 1,181,041
- Miles ridden for transport – 164,336 (~14% of miles overall, we estimate the actual number is a bit higher due to rides not being logged as transport)
- Trips taken overall – 90,396
- Trips for transport – 32,360 (~36% of trips overall)
- CO2 (lbs) – 146,237
Beyond the numbers, a major shakeup occurred during Biketober!
The undefeated champion in the 200-499 staff company size category, Santa Cruz Bikes, was finally bested by strong up and comer local company Joby Aviation. While Santa Cruz Bikes has reshaped the mountain bike industry, Joby Aviation is looking to reshape the aviation industry. Both companies had impressive turnouts, but Joby managed to nearly double their staff participation and ridership across the board, landing them in first place in their company size category.
When I asked Joby what transpired to have such an impressive showing, their team offered this insight:
Our secret sauce is a combination of the same special ingredient that is in everything that Joby Aviation does: our team! We have so many people with this amazing energy, drive, passion, and appreciation for nature who live and breathe efficient and clean transportation and do what we do every day by putting in the effort and time on behalf of the team! We had the highest percentage of participation we’ve ever had, and of course, when we participate, we really show up and put the effort in! We live in a spectacular natural wonder, and it’s a joy to spend time in it, and getting to do that while reducing congestion, our carbon footprint, and reaping the physical benefits, it’s just a win-win all the way around! We love you Santa Cruz Bikes! Till next year!
Our individual grand prize winner, Kelly M., stumbled across Biketober while buying a bike at a local shop, Bicycle Trip. As Kelly said, “I was intrigued and thought it would be a fun and inspiring way to get involved in the local cycling community, track my rides and to participate in a really positive event.”
When I asked Kelly what she would like to see happen in Santa Cruz County around bicycling she noted,
I really want the rail/trail path to get completed all the way up to Davenport. And I would love to see a trail that connected North Santa Cruz all the way down to the Coastal Trail in Monterey. I would also love to see a bike lane for cyclists all along Highway 9. That would be a dream! I would like to see more attention paid to helping cyclists find safer paved, and off-road routes for commuting to work. I think this is a big factor that keeps would-be bike commuters, like myself, in our cars. Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. We are heading into perilous times due to global warming. Governments around the world should incentivize riding bikes, taking public transportation, and driving electric vehicles to work to reduce the use of fossil fuels…
As for Dominican Hospital, a major health care provider here in Santa Cruz County, who has been participating in the bike challenge since the initial pilot in 2018 and has been a local leader in supporting their staff to bike to work, they saw a healthy turnout of 44 staff members, including 3 new to riding! Their team rode 1,811 commute miles and came into first place for the big workplace prize.
When I caught up with the Dominican team about Biketober they offered some insight from one of their team members, Sarah.
I participated in the event because I love biking to work, and I hope to encourage others to do so. I bike every day (not just October) and I really believe it is an easy and attainable way to help reduce our carbon footprint, reduce emissions from cars, and work towards preserving this beautiful place we live. I really enjoy how much my morning bike ride helps me wake up and gets blood flowing around my brain and body before I start my workday.
From one of their workplace champions, Eric, he had this to share about Biketober: “Dominican Hospital is so grateful to be part of this always inspiring and fun campaign. Our participation in Biketober improves the health of employees, renews our commitment to the environment and fosters morale among our departments.”
As we wrap up a strong year of biking across Santa Cruz County in 2022, we are already looking ahead to 2023 to keep the momentum going and help get more people on bikes more often. A big thank you to all the participating community members, workplaces, and business sponsors who helped bring our Biketober to life and together achieve positive outcomes for our community and planet!