Saturday, August 02, 2008
Hey Convention Delegates - -Sign Up for Freewheelin!
Going to Denver or the Twin Cities for the conventions? If you are not your Congressman, Mayor or Ward Leader probably will. Tell them to sign up for the Freewheelin bike-share program.
Members of Congress Lead ''Bike-Partisan'' Campaign to Support Bike-Sharing at Conventions
U.S. Representatives Deliver Bike-Sharing Challenge to Delegates: 10,000 rides and 25,000 miles! Host City Mayors Hickenlooper (Denver), Coleman (St. Paul) and Rybak (Minneapolis) among First to Register for Convention Bike-Sharing Program at freewheelinwaytogo.com
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--What’s good for the environment is often what’s good for the body and the spirit, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican. And today, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3), James Oberstar (D-MN-8), Thomas Petri (R-WI-6), and Zach Wamp (R-TN-3) issued a spirited challenge to attendees of the forthcoming political conventions: join together in a bike-sharing initiative to ride 25,000 miles at the conventions. The goal is to show that bikes are a great solution for short trips and recreation, and at the same time will reduce both conventions’ carbon footprints, traffic, parking congestion and transportation costs, not to mention reducing calories.
The challenge represented the kick-off of a national effort to register convention attendees for Freewheelin, an innovative bike-sharing program developed by Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) and the cycling advocacy organization Bikes Belong. The program will bring 1,000 bikes to Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul for anyone 18 or over to use during the Democratic and Republican political conventions.
Humana pioneered the bike-sharing program in 2007 in its corporate hometown of Louisville, Ky. The initiative focuses on fun as well as health by encouraging people to get on a bike and ride with friends, just like when they were kids. Twenty-one percent of those riding were not previously involved in exercise activity.
Humana and Bikes Belong have launched a new Web site – www.freewheelinwaytogo.com – in an effort to pre-register thousands of convention guests for the program. And, among the first to sign up for bikes are the mayors of the host cities, including Mayor John Hickenlooper, Denver, host of the Aug. 25-28 Democratic National Convention; and Mayors Chris Coleman (St. Paul) and R.T. Rybak (Minneapolis). Minneapolis and St. Paul are hosting the Sept. 1-4 Republican National Convention. By registering, the mayors – along with other convention-goers – are making a commitment to both their personal health and the health of the environment.
Bike-sharing – the international social movement whereby bikes are situated at designated stations throughout cities for individuals to use for a specified amount of time – is essentially a call to action for those who prefer an environmentally friendly, cost-effective and healthy transportation alternative. The initiative is gaining momentum throughout the United States, including active or planned programs in cities such as Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Freewheelin at the conventions marks the biggest bike-sharing program in the United States to date. Such an undertaking would be impossible without the participation and active support of Bikes Belong, elected officials in the host cities, and their biking communities.
How Freewheelin Works
Bikes will be available in Denver for the Democratic convention from Aug. 25-28; and in Minneapolis-St. Paul for the Republican convention from Sept. 1-4. Participants who register in advance via the Freewheelin Web site will be ready to check out a bike from one of the multiple bike stations throughout the convention cities. Online registration and use of the bikes during the conventions is free, with all related costs paid by Humana and Bikes Belong. Bikes will be available beginning at 7 a.m. each day of the conventions, and don’t have to be returned to a bike station until 7 p.m. each day. The bikes can be returned to any station.
“The eyes of the world will be on Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul for these historic conventions,” said Jonathan T. Lord, M.D., Humana senior vice president and chief innovation officer. “Bikes and bike sharing are a way for political leaders of the United States to demonstrate our nation’s commitment and leadership in health and sustainability to the rest of the world. We are challenging residents of both cities, delegates, delegations and media members to participate, compete and have fun!”
Freewheelin bike stations will be set up throughout the cities, near the convention centers and major hotel complexes. When users are finished with a bike, they can simply return their bike to any convenient Freewheelin bike station. Those interested in the program, but unable to register online, can also register in person at any Freewheelin station. Greeters will be on site at each bike station to assist with registration and route planning, and safety specialists will be available to answer questions and address concerns.
Freewheelin is one of a number of initiatives that Humana is developing to encourage people to have fun and get active, including everything from rewards for walking to video games that promote exercise.