Rethink Your Ride: Lacing Up for the Commuter Challenge

By Julia Prinselaar, EcoSuperior Environmental Programs

Do you take the same route to work each morning? Most of us would probably answer “yes.”

Now ask yourself how much you remember of today’s ride to work: do you recall how many traffic lights you stopped at, the colour of a pedestrian’s jacket, or the direction you were facing as you left your house? Often our daily habits become so ingrained in routine that we lose track of the details that connect us to our surroundings. Lack of awareness leads to a loss of meaning, and each day risks feeling the same.

So here’s a solution: switch it up a bit. Step out of your old routine and rethink your ride. If you drive to work, try a different way of getting there. Leaving your vehicle at home and opting for sustainable transportation is one of the easiest ways to save cash, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and boost your physical and emotional sense of wellbeing.

Into it? Then why not win prizes along the way! From May 31 to June 6, workplaces and their employees across the country are being challenged to use alternatives to driving alone for at least one day of the Commuter Challenge week. The goal is to make at least one trip to work by walking, cycling, taking public transit, carpooling, or telecommuting, then tracking your commute on the national website commuterchallenge.ca.

Last year, nearly 800 people registered locally for the event, collectively tracking more than 4,300 kilometres, saving 2,700 litres of fuel, burning nearly 500,000 calories, and avoiding 6,253 kg of greenhouse gases. Thunder Bay achieved amazing results as the number one participating city in the 100,000 population range across the country.

Right, so prizes—let’s get to those. We’ll have active gear, sporting goods, food, and entertainment prizes for participants with the highest achievement, workplaces that conserve the most CO2, early registration, most epic commute, and several raffles simply for joining in.

If you would like to participate as an individual—or, even better, coordinate something at your workplace—contact Julia Prinselaar through EcoSuperior at 624-2144 or email julia@ecosuperior.org.