CRANFORD, NJ Cranford resident Kent Lucas was one of 150 commuters who embraced a more sustainable commute by trading in his car keys for pedals during TransOptions’ annual Bike to Work Challenge.

Through TransOptions’ GoForGood app, riders tracked their bicycle commute trips and miles from May 1st through May 31st. Participants who joined the challenge were entered to win prizes in seven different categories: Trip Master, Miles Master, Team Prize, Resolute Riders, Rookie Riders, the Role Model Challenge, and a weekly raffle.

Lucas was awarded a resolute rider, an award for most trips, finishing with a total of 46 trips, for an astounding 485 miles. Only one person had more trips, and that was Karen Leatherdale of Asbury with 50 trips.

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The free, friendly competition offers both expert and beginner bicycle riders an extra reason to bike ride during the spring, in addition to decreasing stress, traffic congestion, and vehicle emissions. Overall, participants took 1,379 trips for a total of 9,734 miles. The Bike to Work Challenge concurred with National Bike Month.

“Riding a bicycle to work on a daily basis has long been an ambition of mine,” said Lucas. “There is no better way to start your day.”

“In 2011, I started working for Bed Bath and Beyond in Union. I had jobs in the past where I could ride to work sometimes, but it was not possible every day. The Bike to Work Challenge gives me extra motivation to ride to work every day, regardless of the conditions or the weather. When the challenge in May comes around, I can work off some of those extra winter pounds by making sure I bike every day. Once the challenge starts, I try to take a longer route to work instead of the most direct. The days are longer in May, and I can take the scenic route through the Watchung Reservation and over to Summit. It adds some hills that way, and it is a very nice ride.”

This was Lucas’ fifth year doing the challenge. He found out about it when he stumbled across a TransOptions table outside of REI in East Hanover a few years ago. Lucas plans to do it again next year, with the goal of breaking 500 miles for the month.

Outside of the challenge in May, Lucas rides to work every day throughout the year, unless it is below 10 degrees, or the roads are icy, and rides recreationally on the weekends. In fact, Lucas has ridden his bike to work every single day since the 12-inch snowstorm on February 11, 2017!

“In most areas, riding a bicycle is safe if you plan your route carefully,” said Lucas. “For many people, riding a bike to work on occasion is possible if they just give it a try. Of course, some people have very long commutes where it is simply too far, but even riding one or two days a week in the warmer months makes a big difference in your mental and physical health. Give it a try -- it will change your life. My expectation is to never stop riding bicycles.”