With her polka-dot pinwheel spinning in the wind, Amy Schiebel propelled the National Bike Challenge past 10 million miles last week.
Riding three miles to work on her Electra cruiser, the Denver resident logged the trip that pushed the national initiative past its goal three weeks before the end of the online competition.
Running through Aug. 31, the National Bike Challenge is a nationwide initiative to inspire Americans to ride their bikes for transportation, recreation and better health.
Since the kickoff in May, the online competition has engaged nearly 30,000 bicyclists to log their miles, connect with fellow riders and compete for prizes.
Encouraged by her father, an avid cyclist, Schiebel started riding three years ago. Rather than racing or long-distance riding, she fell in love with biking because of the laid-back style and camaraderie of cruiser rides.
It only took one time to get me hooked, Schiebel said. Now, I try to ride every day. I live about three miles from my job, so riding to work is a must.
Biking, though, also is daily joy, she said. Each of her seven bikes is outfit with eye-catching accessories, such as LED lighting and giant pinwheels.
I love how biking makes me feel, Schiebel said. Getting on a bike in the morning not only wakes me up, but puts me in a better mood. Then, riding home after work, it relaxes me to feel the wind through my hair and on my skin.
Losing close to 40 pounds over the past few years most of it due to biking motivates me to keep going, she said.
Being part of the National Bike Challenge has been a major incentive, as well.
Thus far, participants from all 50 states collectively have burned more than 250 million calories.
More than 300 riders have won prizes in the monthly drawings, including new bikes from Trek and Specialized, and countless new friendships have developed on the social networks provided by the challenge.
I always like a friendly bike competition and love that Endomondo tracks everything for me, Schiebel said. Im excited by how many people are involved and how many miles have been completed in such a short time.
Said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists, one of the events sponsors: We knew 10 million miles was ambitious goal, but with riders like Amy in communities across the country, we knew it was possible. Reaching this milestone is a true testament to the many benefits of biking and the growing number of American who are riding their bikes for fun, fitness and transportation.
In addition to the league, the challenge is sponsored by Bikes Belong, Endomondo and Kimberly-Clark Corp.