Bike Challenge 2019 at Stylight

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“How we almost didn’t win the bike challenge”

Every year the People & Organisation department comes up with different ideas to get us away from our desks and engage in healthy activities. One of these ideas is the bike challenge.

1 month – 5 teams – 1 goal: To collect as many team kilometers as possible. And because every kilometer counts you cycle to work- you score , you cycle to Starnberger See- you score even more.

(bikes waiting for their masters)

So the bike challenge gave us a motivation to dig our bikes out from winter storage, to finally fix that flat tire, or to understand that it was about time to invest in new (read: faster) vehicles. 

Because winning the bike challenge means endless fame and fortune and usually wins you a company sponsored Biergarten voucher!

But now let me tell you about how we almost didn’t win the challenge. 

At the beginning of May, the teams were randomly drafted. My team, “The Cyclists”, ended up with last year’s individual champion, Mr. Raul, assigned to our team; so needless to say, we were quite confident. What strategy would carry us to victory was to be defined. Some teammates added steadily –  the base of our success – whereas others went for longer less frequent rides.

Every now and then we would meet up before work, around 6 am, to cycle, for example, to Starnberger See. In theory, this was a nice idea, but as the month of May turned out to be one of the coldest in the last 50 years, regular temperatures around freezing point meant frozen hands and feet.

(helping teammates back onto their bikes)

Regardless, everything seemed well-aligned. But then, things went south. Our first setback was learning that Mr. Raul (Joker) had previously booked a two-week holiday during the challenge! Next was finding out that a certain over-motivated Canadian from a competing team was trying to win the challenge single-handedly.

And as if that wasn’t enough, our team’s biggest competitor, The “Bike Fanatics”, had first-time participant Gerald regularly cycling more than 30 km to work, even though this was a designated distance for public transport! And furthermore, another challenger, Simone, signed up to do a week-long cycling marathon workshop. 

Was this the end? Of course not! But we needed a plan if “The Cyclists” were going to succeed. By the middle of the challenge, we worked hard to defend our small lead over the “Bike Fanatics” and “Münchener Radl Gang”. Every morning we fearfully reviewed what the other teams had added to the tracking spreadsheet. And then, it was decided. We needed to secure a victory by pointed, individual attacks that would help the other teams to understand that their own kilometers were in vain. So we assigned two emissaries: Sam and myself, to go to Italy to collect the much-needed kilometers. While Sam tackled Verona, I was sent to Venice via the Alps.

(our scenic route – mostly Italy)

And what can I say – by the end of the month and end of the challenge, “The Cyclists” had accumulated 2,300 km to not only win the challenge but to do so by a lead of 650 km. Well done “The Cyclists” and thank you to all the other teams for the stiff competition!

The Bike Challenge 2019 – by Jan Hutten, our Head of Finance & Legal

(the winners)

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