If you saw an unusual number of people zooming around the Lloyd District on electric bicycles (e-bikes) in June, you were probably witnessing the Lloyd EcoDistrict E-Bike Challenge. This collaboration between Lloyd EcoDistrict and electric vehicle manufacturer, GenZe, promoted the use of the e-bike as a zero-emissions office fleet vehicle.
Participating companies were given an e-bike to ride for a week. They experienced how office life might be different with a shared form of active transport for going to meetings and running office errands. This trial week doubled as a friendly district competition with a scavenger hunt in which companies were asked to document themselves completing tasks on the bike. Tasks included taking the bike across the river, on the Max, to mail a package, and doing stunts such as riding with no feet, doing figure eights in a parking lot, and using the bike’s full throttle—a feature that allows the biker to hit speeds up to 19mph without pedaling.
Joining the competition were Lloyd District companies ORANGEWALLstudios, East West College, K12 Inc., the Rose Quarter, the Oregon Convention Center, Metro, Hassalo on Eighth, Parametrix, DoubleTree Hotel, Life’s Work Physical Therapy, Alpine Mortgage, and PNGC Power.
Participants really brought their all to the Challenge—East West College advertised that they “have massage on the brain” by decorating their complimentary helmet with plastic vertebrae; the Rose Quarter got the Trailblazer’s mascot, Blaze, to ride the bike full throttle; ORANGEWALLstudios attached a GoPro to their bike and collected footage of the 100 miles they traveled over the course of the week.
Riding an e-bike was a new experience for most of our competitors, so naturally there was some initial hesitation. Judging from the videos and photos posted on Facebook, those who tried the bike were very enthusiastic about having one in their office and had a lot of fun riding it and completing the challenge tasks. According to Kristi Weyrens from ORANGEWALLstudios, the e-bike was a great way to commute to far-away meetings without breaking a sweat. She also found that it was the fastest way to run nearby errands because it allowed her to skip traffic and parking issues.
The most surprising result from the Challenge was the community building. The scavenger hunt required participants to interact with one another by meeting each other for lunch on the bikes. It also sent people to other Lloyd District businesses like Great Wine Buys and Elmer’s Flag and Banner. Numerous E-bike Challenge staff advocates reported that having a shared e-bike in their office brought their employees closer together. “We’ve had a lot more people get involved than I thought would,” said Monica Pea, marketing director for the DoubleTree Hotel. “It’s a good team building exercise for our office.”
The winner of the scavenger hunt will be announced at Plaza Palooza on July 23rd. We can’t wait to see who walks away with a free GenZe e-bike!