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Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition ditches cars to walk, ride or roll during sixth annual Active Commute Week

Challenge yourself to an active commute for this popular weeklong event June 12-16 to benefit your health, better the environment, save on gas money and win prizes.
Bike corral at Long Road Distillers for Handle Bar Happy Hour last year.

Bike corral at Long Road Distillers for Handle Bar Happy Hour last year. /The Rapid

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Biking downtown during Active Commute Week 2016.

Biking downtown during Active Commute Week 2016. /The Rapid

Bike to Work Day participants grabbing snacks and giveaway items at Rapid Central Station last year.

Bike to Work Day participants grabbing snacks and giveaway items at Rapid Central Station last year. /The Rapid

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to not start your engines.

The Greater Grand Rapids Bicycle Coalition’s (GGRBC) Active Commute Week takes place Monday, June 12 through Friday, June 16. Whether it’s cruising on a bicycle or hopping on the bus, The Rapid is urging riders to give active commuting a try for this weeklong challenge.

The goal of Active Commute Week is to raise awareness about the health, economic and environmental benefits of active travel. This week is a chance for individual participants and teams to earn points for using active transportation, including bicycling, walking, riding The Rapid, carpooling, running, longboarding or inline skating.

Currently, at least 25 employers have enrolled to participate in Grand Rapids' sixth annual Commute Week. The organization list includes The Rapid, Steelcase, Grand Valley State University, Kent District Library, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Mobile GR and the City of Grand Rapids, and many more.

"The Grand Rapids Public Museum is thrilled to participate in Active Commute Week again in 2017," said Kate Moore, VP of Marketing and PR. "The Museum is excited to take part in a community event that promotes an active lifestyle and sustainability to our visitors, employees and the community at large."

The Metro Health System and the City’s Mobile GR are entering teams for the first time in Active Commute Week. 

“Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is proud to support programs that are rooted in wellness,” said Michael Faas, chief executive officer of Metro Health. “Through our hospital, outpatient centers, and community clinic, we are proud to serve as a resource to the community and support programs like Active Commute Week which emphasize a healthy lifestyle and good stewardship of our environment.”

“This year, City workers are competing as a large organization; bring it on KDL! We’ll also be working (during the Challenge),” says Amanda Moore, a Mobile GR and Parking Services analyst. “For people unable to commit to the full work commute, we’re encouraging them to active commute to meetings or errands using the DASH, a free shuttle service that conveniently gets people around the downtown area.”

In 2016, 35 businesses and organizations registered for the event, setting new records for participation. The 314 individuals who logged at least one commute through an online tracking system administered by The Rapid also set a new enrollment record last year. In addition, the more than 17,000 travel miles logged by the individual commuters set a new Active Commute Week standard. In all, 1,935 active commutes were logged during the weeklong event last year.

“Active transportation is perfect for any age, fitness level, commute length or occupation,” says Amy Duggan, GGRBC board member and chair of the Active Commute Week committee.

“That’s why we’re happy to promote an event that improves our quality of life in Grand Rapids as well as to help build a more respectful culture between bicyclists, motorists and active commuters,” Duggan says.

It’s fast, easy and free to register by completing the individual form. Please note the organization when signing up if applicable. Participants will be notified by The Rapid when their account is ready. Participants can track active transportation trips on the West Michigan RideShare site.

The deadline for logging trips is at 12:00 p.m. Friday, June 16, so results can be tabulated. Participants also have the opportunity to log their intended evening trips by noon Friday as well.

There’s more to this week than simply logging trips. Don’t miss these awesome Active Commute Week events:

Bicycle Fever presentation at The Pyramid Scheme: June 14, 7:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Join Grand Rapids Public Library's Colleen Alles as she discusses the culture and climate of Furniture City's obsession with bicycles at the turn of the 19th Century. View historic, one-of-a-kind primary documents such as photographs, publications, and newspaper articles. This event is free and open to the public.

Bike to Work Day Pit Stops: June 16, 7 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Make your morning bike commute more enjoyable by visiting pit stops all over town welcoming featuring refreshments and giveaways. Check out the list of pit stops to visit for your Friday commute. Leave early enough and visit them all!

Handlebar Happy Hour: June 16, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Long Road Distillers
Meet up with other active commuters to wrap up West Michigan’s sixth annual Active Commute Week! Door prizes will be up for grabs and Active Commute Week Challenge and Pit Stop winners will be announced.

If the reward of physical fitness and a chance to get out and enjoy the spring weather doesn’t have you sold, we hope we can sweeten the deal with some awesome prizes. Individuals and employer teams will be awarded for their active commutes based on who logs the highest number of total trips and the highest number of total miles for walking, cycling, riding the bus and carpooling. Prizes include $100 Meijer gift cards, bus passes, bike helmets and more!

Register here as an individual or employer and starting planning your commutes now.

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