Lake Tahoe Bike Challenge racks up 17,051 miles |

Lake Tahoe Bike Challenge racks up 17,051 miles

Tom Lotshaw

Leaving their cars behind, 323 participants in the Lake Tahoe Bike Challenge racked up 17,051 miles on their bikes in two weeks, saving an estimated 18,391 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and $3,790 in gas money.

Participants also burned an estimated 733,193 calories pedaling around the Tahoe Basin, event organizers said.

“And just think, we have the rest of the summer to keep it up,” said Karen Hauser, a member of the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition that spearheaded the ninth annual event.

The Lake Tahoe Bike Challenge saw individuals, families, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies all joining in a friendly competition to see who could put the most miles on their bikes and the fewest on their cars.

The challenge started June 7 and ended with a community Cycle Celebration at Heavenly Village June 25.

For a fifth consecutive year, Sierra Nevada Alliance took first place in the most trips per employee category, with 24.8 trips per employee. Tahoe Mountain Sports finished second with 23 trips per employee, followed by the League to Save Lake Tahoe with 15.3 trips per employee.

In the most overall trips category, Lake Tahoe Community College finished first with 500 trips. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency finished second with 422 trips, followed by South Tahoe Refuse with 422 trips.

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency created the challenge as an internal competition for employees to reduce vehicle use and emissions and later invited others in the community to participate.

The agency held a car-free workday event June 20 to close out the challenge, with more than 60 employees biking, walking or using transit to get to work. But that wasn’t enough to put it over the top in the total mileage category.

Lake Tahoe Community College took first with 1,459 miles. TRPA finished in second with 1,346 miles. Heavenly Mountain Resort racked up 1,181 miles, followed by Barton Health with 841 miles.

Jeff Cowen, spokesman for TRPA, thanked the community college for an “amazing bike challenge.”

“It is humbling to lose, but rewarding to know that the Tahoe Bike Challenge is getting our community healthier,” Cowen said. “And we collectively reduced more than nine tons of greenhouse gases together by riding versus driving.”

Amy Fish, at TRPA, was recognized for most individual trips, with 65; Jennifer Capistran, at the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, was recognized for most miles, with 430; and Francis Dixon, at Kirkwood, was recognized for most play miles, with 353, and most elevation gained, at 36,469 feet.

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