The Santa Monica Bike Center, which came in first place in its workplace category for the National Bike Challenge, rents bikes, as well as offers secure bike parking, showers, and lockers to members.
The Santa Monica Bike Center, which came in first place in its workplace category for the National Bike Challenge, rents bikes, as well as offers secure bike parking, showers, and lockers to members.

Santa Monica Bike Center employees took one of the top spots in the League of American Bicyclists’ third-annual National Bike Challenge, which challenges people throughout the country to swap their cars for bikes in their daily commute.

And in the category of Bike Shop/Bike Industry workplace, the Santa Monica Bike Center, whose employees collectively rode 17,000 miles during the five-month competition, took first place nationwide.

“I never added up the miles I would ride in a week until the bike challenge. It definitely makes me feel good to see the amount of miles I’ve ridden since the start of the challenge,” said Melissa Koepke, a Bike Center employee who participated in the challenge, which ran from May to the end of September. “It pushes me to want to do even more miles!” she said.

The Bike Center also joined forces with local activists and City employees to form a community-wide team called team Bike Santa Monica, which finished 14th out of the 11,000 teams competing nationwide.

“In 2011 City Council made a significant community investment via the bicycle action plan,” said City Manager Rod Gould, who commutes regularly to work on bike and an avid rider for team Bike Santa Monica.

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“Nearly three years later, our success in the National Bike Challenge demonstrates the positive impact bicycling has in Santa Monica. To pedal 97,000 miles in five months is an outstanding accomplishment,” he said.

The Bike Center, which offers bike rentals, valet, secure bike parking, and showers, was just one part of the City’s 200-page, award-winning Bike Action Plan, adopted unanimously by the City Council in 2011.

Francie Stefan, the City’s transportation and strategic planning manager, credited the Bike Action Plan with a major uptick in the number of people riding bikes around town.

“Santa Monica has seen an increase in bicycling by over 50% in only two years,” said Stefan, another regular bike commuter and competitor on team Bike Santa Monica.

For a complete list of award winners and team results see the League of American Bicyclists news page.

“Each year the challenge improves and gets more competitive with more participants,” Bike Center officials said. “We look forward to the 2015 Challenge! Pedal on and ride safe!”