Over 450 Cache Valley residents traded the horsepower of their vehicles for the pedal power of their bicycles Friday in recognition of the Bear River Health Department’s Bike to Work Day, almost double the number of last year’s participants.
BRHD Director Lloyd Berentzen said this year’s Bike to Work Day is the largest positive response for registration the department has seen yet. Last year’s event had around 250 participants, with over 200 more individuals signing up to participate this for this year.
“Seeing this kind of response from the community is kind of what we’ve been hoping for all along,” Berentzen said. “We wanted to make an annual activity that could really catch on with people, and it looks like it’s really doing well. The word of mouth among everyone who signs up has helped it become what it is now.”
Bike to Work day was created as a way to promote healthy exercise habits and as a method to help improve air quality, Berentzen said.
In addition to encouraging healthy habits, Bike to Work Day is also a friendly competition among Cache Valley’s businesses, with the business that has the most employees registered to participate receiving a free lunch courtesy of the BRHD. This year, participants represented over 80 local workplaces, including Cache County government, Bear River Mental Health, Campbell Scientific, Panda Express, Logan Regional Hospital and more.
Individuals who have registered for the event also have the opportunity to earn raffle prizes, from gift cards to local restaurants to bike tuneups and Fitbits.
“The friendly competition aspect has been good to attract more people,” Berentzen said. “I think that might be a big reason why we’ve seen our numbers double for this time around.”
Bike to Work Day has become a favorite day among employees at Malouf Sleep, a Logan-based bedding and bed-frame company that has actively participated in the day since its inception. Malouf Marketing Manager Jake Neeley said nearly half of Malouf’s roughly 100 employees signed up to participate in Bike to Work Day, enough to try and defend the championship Malouf has won for the past two years running.
“Fitness and health is part of our culture here,” Neeley said. “Our new office has a full basketball court and a weight room, and last year our company was the champion of Logan’s softball league. Our focus is on the sleep side of health, but we enjoy being able to promote other forms of health as well.”
Malouf’s employees participated in Bike to Work Day events above and beyond BRHD’s event Friday, including a bike decoration competition, a bike race around the office and individual raffle events, with prizes for winners.
“It’s our own fun way of sweetening the pot,” Neeley said.
Berentzen said the competition aspect is fun, but ultimately the purpose of the event should remain focused on the health benefits associated with biking to work.
“From a public health standpoint, the more fit you can keep yourself, the less likely you are to get sick,” Berentzen said. “You’re not just saving money on fuel and eliminating emissions when you’re biking to work. If you can turn it into a habit, you can enjoy a natural, energized, de-stressing way to begin your morning and keep yourself active.”