I’m the self-appointed team captain for the Bike to Work Commuter Challenge (BtWCC). It’s an offshoot of Bike to Work Day, realizing that if people try biking more than once, they’re more likely to stick with it.
During the company meeting, someone asked how we were doing. I pulled some quick numbers and sent out an email.
At the [company meeting] there was a question about how well we’ve fared in the bike to work commuter challenge. Here’s a quick snapshot, broken out by small organizations (fewer than 50 people) and overall teams.
Organizations with fewer than 50 people Overall teams
We’re doing well. The “overall teams” includes a lot of teams from humongous organizations like U of Washington (if you’ve ever had to park there, you know why people bike commute).
And if you want true marketing spin, let me point out that neither [east coast competitor #1 who would never field a Seattle team for an event this obscure] nor [east coast competitor #2 who would never field a Seattle team for an event this obscure] even have a team!
It should be pretty obvious that there’s some jocularity. I admittedly sliced the information the peculiar way I did because I didn’t want people to be discouraged and not try to ride. The official stats have larger organizations like UW, Microsoft, Starbucks, and REI, each with a commendable amassed set of numbers, mixed in the “50 and fewer employees” category. For us, this should only be a contest against one’s self.
Oddly enough, one of the QA guys corrected me that one of the riders had won the “award” for a shorter commute. I admitted I had estimated this guy’s mileage, and would correct it next week.
Satisfied at catching marketing’s hand in the statistics jar, he sent a short note to the rider-in-question:
Hah! I knew he was manipulating the data!
The rider responded to both of us with:
I’ll have you know my trips are 4 miles (round trip), definitely not less than 2 miles – my legs and lungs shouldn’t hurt this much for such a short trip. I’ve updated the tally since I just started riding yesterday.
Of course, I couldn’t let the original comment on manipulation of information go unnoticed, so I responded to both:
“manipulate”, “a refreshingly creative and selective interpretation of available information”