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AEP bicyclists capture fourth place in national challenge

by on October 9, 2012

(Story by Barry Schumann)

A total of 242 AEP employees and family members representing every AEP operating company and hailing from 12 states enabled AEP to finish fourth among more than 9,500 workplaces in this summer’s National Bike Challenge.

AEP riders recorded 128,242 miles during the four-month challenge ended Aug. 31, burning an estimated 4 million kilocalories and eliminating an estimated 117,554 pounds of carbon dioxide by cycling instead of using motorized vehicles for commutes and errands. Nationally, more than 30,300 riders pedalled more than 12 million miles from May through August, burning 306 million kilocalories and avoiding an estimated 11 million pounds of carbon dioxide. The challenge easily surpassed its goal of recording 10 million miles ridden.

The challenge was sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, bicycle industry group Bikes Belong and Kimberly-Clark Corp. to encourage people to bike for transportation (commutes and errands) and recreation.
The event complemented AEP’s health and wellness focus by encouraging employees to engage in active, healthy and safe lifestyles, according to Cassandra Helwig, AEP manager of health, wellness and productivity.
“Becoming and staying active can be a challenge, and free websites such as Endomondo can provide motivation by enabling you to track your activities over time and exposing you to a community of like-minded people,” Helwig said.
Points were awarded for each day ridden (20 points per day), with one point added for each mile ridden. The system rewarded those who used their bicycles frequently, with the expectation that biking frequently or even daily would develop a habit enduring long after the challenge ended.
The challenge “motivated me to keep up the once-a-week commuting that I started last year,” said participant Tim King, assistant general counsel at 1 Riverside Plaza. “I found that my bicycle commute is something I really look forward to and enjoy.”
The AEP workplace total of 272,939 points was fourth behind bike manufacturer Trek which garnered a whopping 1,078,231 points, challenge sponsor Kimberly-Clark and a group known collectively as “Retired” riders. AEP placed second in the challenge’s “jumbo” workplace category (employers with 10,000 to 99,999 employees) behind Kimberly-Clark. AEP cyclists averaged 1,128 points per rider — well ahead of the average of 904 points by Kimberly-Clark’s 900-plus riders.
SWEPCO employee Mark Rath takes his bicycle off its rack while preparing for an afternoon ride with the Shreveport Bicycle Club and his friends and co-workers David Camp (center) and Randy Meyers (right).Photo by: Douglas Collier, The Shreveport Times
A bit of competition developed among many of the 27 teams that consisted of AEP employees, family members and friends. Each team could include up to 10 riders, with members drawn from across the AEP System or locally. Only points earned by AEP employees counted toward the AEP workplace totals.
The top team was the “American Electric Power” squad which tallied 29,470 points, narrowly edging the “League of Atomic Wheelmen-Jaws Never Was My Scene” team from Cook Plant/Bridgman which garnered 28,901 points.
Rounding out the top 10 AEP teams were: AEP-PSO-SWEPCO, third; League of Atomic Wheelman-FBG They’ll Be Riding Today, fourth; American Electric Power 2, fifth; League of Atomic Wheelmen-You Say Bark I Say Bite, sixth; Twisted Wheels, seventh; AEP Conesville, eighth; League of Atomic Wheelmen-They’ll Be Riding Today, ninth; and 1RP Riders, 10th.
Cook Plant/Bridgman was a hot bed of bicycling action during the challenge. No fewer than six teams associated with AEP’s sole nuclear power plant shared the name “League of Atomic Wheelman,” adding colorful titles to distinguish one team from another.
Jeff Milford, SWEPCo manager – External Affairs in Fayetteville, was the top performing individual with more than 6,240 points. Following closely were Douglas Bowman, operations training supervisor-Nuclear, Cook Plant, with more than 5,900 points and Deanne Kirillow, IT systems analyst, 1RP, with more than 5,370 points. Rounding out the top 10 were: Blair Zordell, senior environmental specialist-Nuclear, Cook Plant; former Cook employee Scott Richardson; Bob Waddell, strategic sourcing analyst, Enterprise Procurement & Supplier Development, 1RP; Woody Lally, director, Energy Marketing, Tulsa; Daniel Bonnett, unit operator, Amos Plant; Mark Rath, SWEPCo safety coordinator, Shreveport; and Greg Dartt, principal IT business system analsyt, Delivery Methodology & Quality Assurance, 1RP.
The challenge utilized an on-line tracking system compatible with mobile apps. Challenge participants and others wishing to track their workouts may use the host website to continue or begin to log workouts for free. For information, visit the Endomondo website where participants can choose from and track about 50 sporting and fitness activities.

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One Comment
  1. Congratulations to AEP on your accomplishment! I am looking for great things from the AEP team in the 2013 National Bike Challenge.

    Rob Gusky, Kimberly-Clark Ambassador of Cycling

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