Bike Ready

May is National Bike Month, and even though winter was still in full force on the last day of April, May looks promising for some more spring-like weather, so if you haven’t already, this weekend could be a great time to knock the off-season dust of your family’s bikes and make sure they’re ready to roll!

Basic bicycle maintenance you can do at home

  • Get air in the tires and make sure they are holding air pressure.
  • Check tires for any wear or damage that would warrant replacing.
  • Clean the chain, gears, and derailleurs, and give them some fresh lube.
  • Check the seat and seat post to make sure they are tight and in the right position. Clean any dirt/dust from seat and seat post.
  • Test the brakes to make sure they are working properly, and that the brake pads aren’t rubbing on the rims of the wheels.
  • Just give your bike a general cleaning so it looks shiny and ready to roll!

If your bike is in need of a more major overhaul, you can always head to your local bike shop for a spring tuneup!

Bike month resources/events

  • National Bike to Work Week is May 13-17. National Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 17th. Check out your local community calendar for special events!
  • Bozeman is celebrating Bike to Work Week on June 3-7, Bozemanites, stay tuned for a list of coffee and brewery stops for that week. MUS Wellness will host a tent on the MSU Centennial Mall on Friday, June 7th for our MSU commuters!
  • Missoula has events all month long! Check them out here with this awesome Bike Month Calendar.
  • FVCC in Kalispell is starting weekly rides on Wednesdays from May 7 to August 21. The group will meet between 5:15 and 5:30. For more info contact
    dgrabowski@fvcc.edu

Have fun and be safe!

Happy Bike Month!

May is here, and it’s one of our favorite times of the year! There’s Star Wars Day, Cinco de Mayo, the end of school, Memorial Day weekend, and of course, National Bike Month!

Here’s a few links and news about Bike Month happenings in your community!

  • This week (May 7-11) is National Bike to School week. For those of you with children, check to see if your child’s school is doing special promotions or group rides this week.
  • Next week (May 14-18) is National Bike to Work week. Check your local community calendar for events. Here is some info for Missoula and Bozeman riders:
  • Bike Walk Montana is a great resource anytime to learn more about riding for transportation and riding safety.

On a personal note, I was able to kick off National Bike Month in a fun way last week, while visiting Kalispell and Flathead Valley Community College. On May 1st, a small group from FVCC braved the threat of rain and rode west on one of the Kalispell area’s fantastic Rails-to-Trails paths. The weather turned out to be fine, and we had a really enjoyable after-work ride in the early evening light. Thanks FVCC!

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Saddle Up!

—Neal

 

Brains and Bikes!

Happy May!

Many of us around the state are enjoying some much needed amazing warm weather, and getting outdoors more and more as a result.

As many of you know, May is National Bike Month, which includes some awesome festivities, especially in conjunction to National Bike to Work Week (May 15-19). But did you know that May is also Mental Health Awareness Month?

Our friends at the Montana Rural Health Initiative are running a photo contest this month to promote mental health awareness. They want you to share through your photos what you do to improve mental health! There’s even a $50 Amazon Gift card for the winner. You can tag your Instagram photos @morh_rhi (detailed instructions are shown below) or you can submit via email at montanaruralhealthinitiative@gmail.com

Also, if you’ve gotten the jump on riding your bike into work, don’t forget to sign up for the Montana Commuter Challenge, happening right now and throughout the rest of the month.

I love that May celebrates both of these special areas of Wellness, because one certainly supports the other. The simple act of going outside and riding a bike on a beautiful day certainly can do wonders for our mental health. Be a part of it by joining these challenges!

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Bike to Work Week!

It’s Bike to Work Week!  Check out what’s happening this week in your community to celebrate, as many local businesses will have perks for commuters. Here are some weblinks for events in Helena, Missoula, and Bozeman for events this week and all month long for National Bike Month. If you live in another community, check your local news or businesses for more events!

National Bike to Work Week 2015! from Montana University Sys. Wellness on Vimeo.

National Bike Challenge Starts Friday!

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Who’s ready to ride!? Spring came early this year, giving us a chance to air up the tires, knock the dust off the bike, and go for a ride.

For the third consecutive year, MUS Wellness invites you to participate in the National Bike Challenge from May 1st-September 30th. It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s great for your health.

How the West was Won.

Last year, MUS Wellness split our campuses, pitting East vs. West. The West Team eeked out a victory with only days left in the summer. Congrats to the West, our Montana State Champs! The West finished with 19,920 miles logged! The East put in 15,513 for a second place Team finish.

Dan Dobyns from Helena College was the top rider in Montana with 7710 miles, mostly by virtue of a daily commute to work. Way to go Dan!

Ride with us this year! Simply go to www.nationalbikechallenge.org, register an account, and start logging miles. You can log mileage manually, or through a supported app. If you rode last year, your account is still set up, and your team affiliation should be the same. If you’re a new rider, join one of our Wellness Teams after you sign-up:

  • MUS Wellness West: Kalispell, Missoula, Butte, Helena, Dillon
  • MUS Wellness East: Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Havre, Miles City, Glendive

Recruit for your Teams! Each day you ride, you and your team receive 20 points plus 1 point per mile, so riding often is more important than riding far. The daily commutes will really add up!

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May Bike Challenge Updates

With only a few more days of May, here’s a report on our challenges. Don’t forget to get those BINGO cards in by Monday, June 2nd, to be eligible for our Monthly Prize Drawing. You can email them or fax to 994-2391. Here’s how the office Bike BINGO sheets are looking.

bike bingo

Cristin has two BINGOs to my one. Don’t think I haven’t been hearing about it. But it’s not over yet, and it’s not over for you either! Even if you never downloaded a sheet, you could still get in on the action by retroactively filling out what you’ve done this month on your bike!

In the National Bike Challenge, which goes through September 30th, our two Wellness Teams are off to great starts! Here’s how we’re looking:

MUS Wellness West 

  • 19 riders
  • #3 Team in Montana (On the NBC website it shows the West in 5th, but two of the teams listed only have one rider from Montana, so we’re not sure why they’re showing up.)
  • 1335 miles logged (That’s a ride from Kalispell to L.A.)!
  • 50% of those miles are commuting or for transport.
  • This has prevented 1200 lbs. of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and saved $750 worth of gas!
  • The team has burned 72,000 calories, or 379 Krispy Kreme Donuts!

MUS Wellness East

  • 25 riders
  • Top team in Montana (130th nationally)!
  • 2392 miles logged (That’s a ride from Bozeman to Boston)!
  • 53% of those miles are commuting or for transport.
  • This has prevented over a ton of CO2 prevented from going into the atmosphere and saved $1350 worth of gas!
  • The team has burned 130,000 calories (That’s over two months worth of eating for the average adult!)

Here are a couple of standout individual performances:

  • From the WEST, Patty McIntire, a retiree from St. Ignatius, is currently on a cross-country ride.  Patty has logged 620 miles, which ranks her 5th in the state and 747th nationally (This is out of nearly 35,000 riders)!
  • From the EAST, Taylor Lonsdale from Bozeman has logged 424 miles, which ranks him 7th in the state and 1325th nationally.

Great work Patty, Taylor, and all of our riders!  Again, this challenge is just getting started, and it’s never too late to join! Just go to www.nationalbikechallenge.org to create an account, join one of our Wellness teams (MUS Wellness West or MUS Wellness East), and start logging your miles.

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Challenge of the Month: May!

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Montana Meals May Challenge: Fruitopia & Veggilicious!

MyPlate dietary guidelines recommend that half of our meal plates are filled with vegetables and/or fruit. With springtime here, it’s easier to make that guideline a reality as delicious, in-season, fresh produce is becoming more available.

The May Challenge of the Month is to eat 3 servings of fruit or 3 servings of vegetables each day. If it’s simple for you to get your recommended daily amount of fruit, but vegetables are a little tougher to include in your diet, challenge yourself and track your vegetable intake (or vice versa). Or, if you really want to go above and beyond this month, track both fruits and vegetables. You’ll earn two entries into the May prize drawing; plus your body will thank you for providing it with the fruits and vegetables it needs!

Download the Fruit Log and/or Veggie Log and get started tracking. Must meet 3 servings/day for 25 out of 31 days to be eligible for the drawing. And sorry, but juice won’t count for this challenge.

Email or fax in your logs by Monday, June 2nd to be eligible for our end of month drawing! Fax is 994-2391.

Montana Moves May Challenge: National Bike Month/Bike Bingo and National Bike Challenge

May is National Bike Month, and there are several ways to get involved!

First, play Bike Bingo from MUS Wellness—a great way to have fun while riding this month. Email, tweet, or fax your Bingo sheet back to us by Monday, June 2nd to be eligible for our end of month drawing.  Email to wellness@montana.edu, @montanamoves (Twitter), or 994-2391 (fax).

Second, Bike to Work Week is May 12-16.  Most communities have a plethora of events for commuters, most of which involve coffee. Free coffee every day!  It’s the best week of the year!

Bike Week or Bike Month not enough? Looking for a bigger challenge? Go to http://www.nationalbikechallenge.org and sign up to log your miles all summer log. Join one of our Wellness Teams and let the competition begin!  Once you register, search for your appropriate team, either MUS Wellness East or MUS Wellness West.  Here are how the teams break down:

  • MUS Wellness East: Billings, Bozeman, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Miles City (and any satellites associated with these locations).
  •  MUS Wellness West:  Butte, Dillon, Helena, Kalispell, Missoula (and any satellites associated with these locations).

Recruit for your side! Get your coworkers and family members involved!

Game On!
Game On!

 

You must be a Montana University System insured plan member  to participate.

National Bike Challenge Time!

National Bike Month is almost upon us (snow or no snow)! Last year, around 40 brave riders from around the state joined the MUS Wellness Team for the National Bike Challenge, a 5-month challenge to track your riding.  Competing against other organizations and businesses around Montana, MUS Wellness won the State Team Competition while logging more than 17,000 miles!  This year, we’re so confident that we can recruit even more riders to the Challenge, that we thought we’d make it interesting and have an East vs. West Montana Challenge! Interested? Following you’ll find information on 1) How to register, 2) What Team you’ll be riding for, and 3) How the Challenge is scored.

1.  Registration

Simply click the banner below to go to the National Bike Challenge Home site. There you will create a Login (free). Once you are logged in, you can join a Team. Go to the “My Account” Tab, or use a Search Icon to Search for your team, MUS Wellness East or MUS Wellness West. The Challenge begins May 1st and ends September 30th.  Each time you ride, you log miles using the website, or a choice of 3 Apps you can download to a smartphone (MapMyRide, Moves, or Endomondo).  Scoring is described below, but frequency is weighted more heavily than mileage, so don’t think that you have to ride some epic distances to participate.

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2.  Teams

MUS Wellness has two Teams this year, which will compete against each other as well as other teams from across Montana.  Our Teams are MUS Wellness East and MUS Wellness West. Search for the appropriate team name using the Search Icon on the website. The EAST will comprise of campuses affiliated with the following locations: Billings, Bozeman, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, and Miles City.  The WEST will comprise of campuses affiliated with the following locations: Butte, Dillon, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Based on employee counts on these campuses, it’s a pretty even split. We’ll see which side has the better recruiters!

3.  Scoring

Each day you log a ride, you’ll receive 20 points for logging plus 1 point per mile. So, for example, if you commute 2 miles to and from work one day, you receive 24 points.  Prizes are giving each month and at the end of the Challenge through drawings and awards for top riders.  For the complete Challenge Rules, click here.

We hope you ride with MUS Wellness this Summer. Stay tuned for more about National Bike Month as part of our “Montana Bikes” May Challenge of the Month! Happy Riding!

2014 NCB East vs West
Who will be crowned Montana Bike Challenge Champs?

A bike ride from Glacier to New Orleans? Yeah, we did that.

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National Bike Month is winding to a close, but biking season in Montana is just getting started, and our Wellness/Montana Bikes team is off to a stellar start as part of the National Bike Challenge.  Thus far, our 25 riders have logged 2249 miles since the challenge started at the beginning of May.  Collectively, that would be a ride from Glacier NP to New Orleans!  (By the way, we should really do that, it would be a blast!).

This just looks like a good time.
This just looks like a good time.

Our team is currently leading all Montana teams (by a slight margin), and is ranked 159th nationally out of nearly 2000 participating teams.  WooHoo!  The Challenge lasts through September 30th, so we still have many miles to ride, and room for many more on our team!  If you’d like to join the #1 Team in Montana, just go to www.nationalbikechallenge.org, sign-up (it’s free), join our team ‘Montana University System Wellness’, and start logging your miles.  For you readers that are on the Team—keep up the great work!  You’re amazing!

We're Number 1!
We’re Number 1!

Top 10 Reasons to Commute by Bike!

May is National Bicycle Month, and this week has been National Bike to Work Week.  Blessed with super-nice Montana May weather, Cristin and I are a perfect 4 for 4 in commuting to work via bicycle this week.  Going to go for five in a row tomorrow!  I was inspired this morning during my commute to come up with a “Top 10” list.  So here it is:

The Top 10 Reasons to Commute to Work via Bicycle.

10.  For one week a year, I get free coffee.

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Many local businesses participate in National Bike Month and National Bike to Work week. Here I am enjoying a free ‘Cup of Joe’ at the Sola Cafe.

9.  Time

  • In some cases, depending on how far you live from work, traffic patterns, and your parking situation, it’s often quicker to ride.  I love it when I get to bypass traffic, not  have to search for a parking spot, and roll right up to my building.

8.  Money

  • The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gasoline per year by increasing cycling from 1% to 1.5% of all trips (Source:  Trek Bicycles).  Multiply that by $3.40 per gallon.  That’s a lot of coin!  What will you do with all that money you’re not spending on gas?

7.  You get to be outside, in Montana

  • I don’t feel like I need to elaborate much on this one.  (At least from May-September!)

6.  Emissions

  • 60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively, and 40% of all automobile trips are within two miles of the home. (Source:  Trek Bicycles).  The only thing that bicycling burns is fat.  26,000 people across the country taking part in the National Bike Challenge have already saved 631,000 pounds of CO2 emissions in just two weeks of riding.  Our MUS Wellness Team is responsible for saving 455 pounds of auto emissions so far!  Way to go Team!

5.  It gives you a great excuse to roll your pant legs up to reveal your super cool socks

Rockin' my Space Invader socks for the morning commute.
Rockin’ my Space Invader socks for the morning commute.

4.  It’s good for your brain

  • More and more research links exercise to improved cognitive function.  If you want to think better, move more.  Case-in-point:  I thought of this blog post on my ride in.

3.  Weight Loss

  • The average person loses 13 pounds their first year of commuting by bike. Wow! (Source:  Trek Bicycles)  That’s because riding at a moderate pace burns around 500 calories per hour.

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2.  Better Overall Health/Reduced Health Risks

  • Just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%.  (Source:  Trek Bicycles).  Reminder:  Heart Disease is the Number 1 killer in the U.S.

And the Number 1 reason to commute by Bicycle:  It’s Fun!

  • Remember when you learned to ride as a kid?  Remember the thrill of movement and the freedom to go anywhere?  It’s still there!  Biking is Fun!

Montana Moves wishes you Happy Bike Month and safe travels!  Ride aware, wear your helmet, and have fun!

Happy riding,

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