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May. 6, 2009
Addin’ a little ‘Hotsauce’
Hello. My name is Ryan, and I am addicted to gasoline.

It hasn’t always been like that for me. When I was a kid, I rode my bike everywhere. Around my neighborhood, it was my freedom; it was my saving grace. I could whiz through the woods on my GT BMX bike pretending like I was evading Treetop Woodland Creatures as I dodged their incoming rock and stick-fire. Even in college, transportation was mostly centered on my hardtail mountain bike—to the grocery store, the burrito joint and even my part-time job at the Rec Center. Ah, the simple life...

Somewhere along the way, those bike habits changed towards the four-wheeled persuasion with some top-end torque and a stereo system. I think it’s a combination of habit and laziness. I’ll admit it: it’s really easy to turn the key, crank the tunes and press the gas pedal down. Within minutes, I’m where I need to be.

I guess it all starts way back in the day (which, incidentally, was a Thursday). I used to live in Colorado where snow and ice-shellacked roads plagued me a good part of the year; my trusty SUV was always that necessary evil when it came to dependable transport throughout my daily life.

That’s always been that difficult environmental push-and-pull for me, personally; without sounding like a total hypocrite, I still consider myself a Rooseveltian (Teddy, rest his soul) environmentalist. I absolutely thrive in the outdoors—it’s of uber importance for me that the pristine natural resources of this Earth are still available for the many generations still to come. I care about conserving, reducing and reusing, for sure. Of course, like many of us out there, the problem is in that our favorite outdoor hideaways for skiing, hiking, biking, fishing and camping are usually well beyond the range of the cruiser bike.

As we welcomed the month of May—and with it, National Bike to Work month—I decided it was time to get serious about recognizing that fine line between those trips that absolutely require a car, and of course the many other trips that do not. I sat down last month with my friend and HR department cohort, Jen (the arbiter of the worldly famous “Cool Commute” program here at the Clif), and we got to talking about what we could do here internally to shake things up and get people out of their cars again.

We do a good deal of talking about such a deal, you might recall—I like to call it the 2 Mile Challenge—but sometimes, as my friend Howard would say, you need to douse it up with a little hotsauce to get things cooking again.

So, last Thursday at our company meeting, we unveiled the internal Team 2 Mile Challenge. Employees were encouraged to sign up and commit to reducing any number of normal car trips with a different mode of transportation: biking (of course), walking or even public transportation. We then divided the entrants into teams of 8 to 10 people. Of course, being the kind of company that encourages the competitive spirit within, we put a little pride and a little skin on the line to keep us all motivated. Among the seven teams, the team that records (on their honor) the most car trips reduced over the course of the month of May will get $500 to donate to a charity of their choice, and each team member will receive a 50 minute massage here at the Clif Bar HQ gym.

So despite my gasoline addiction, I’m looking for new inspiration to get out there and use my bike and feet for those quick trips and errands that I would otherwise travel by car. I walked a half mile down to dinner in my neighborhood the other night; this morning I rode my bike into work. While the threatening rain clouds and humidity made me a little sweatier for the first few minutes of the day, I was still buzzing all morning from that little detour through the waterfront park. It’s a nice way to start the day, whizzing around on my Swobo Otis like I was 11—once again evading those pesky Woodland Creatures that apparently still have it out for me.

We’ll keep you updated throughout the month right here on the Blog as the internal Team 2 Mile Challenge heats up.

Stay tuned!
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Office Life

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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