Race To The Beach 2015 Coming Soon…

RTTB logo

What’s New in 2015?

Charlotte Area Air Awareness is teaming up with Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and Sustain Charlotte to bring you Race to the Beach 2015. This year’s clean commute challenge has some exciting changes:

  • More opportunities to win prizes. With weekly prize drawings and social media challenges, Racers have more chances to win.
  • Commuter resources in one place. Visit the Blog to get tips on clean commuting and access to resources that can help make your clean commute a breeze.
  • A new way to clean commute. Check out the CityLYNX Gold Line, opening July 14. The FREE streetcar is the newest Race-approved clean commute mode.

Ready to Race? Here’s what you need to know

Who: Anyone who lives or works in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Rowan, Union and York (SC) Counties can sign up

What: Clean commute when you avoid driving alone to work

When: July 13-August 23, 2015

How: Register at www.RaceToTheBeach.com beginning June 25


And the winner is….

Congratulations to all of the Race to the Beach Drawing Winners!


All of you made a difference!

  • 882 people signed up for Race to the Beach 2014
  • 360 logged the 13 clean commutes needed to qualify for the beach vacation drawings
  • 11,638 solo commutes were avoided over the 13-week campaign
  • 137 tons of air pollutants were spared from the air  

Please give yourself a round of applause for your incredible efforts improving your local air quality!  Thank you for contributing
to another summer with NO unhealthy air quality days (two years in a row)!!

Week 13: Familiar Finale

For this last week of Race to the Beach, I’ve come back to a familiar clean commute: Carpooling.

It has been fun exploring so many different commute modes. Each one has it perks:

  • Walking was great because I got to see the city differently than when I drive my car.
  • The bus was a convenient transit option because it runs by my house and it allowed me to plan my schedule.
  • Commuting by LYNX was cool—riding the train to work has a “big city” feel, something I’ve always wanted to experience.
  • Biking allowed me to check two items off my to-do list at once:
    • Clean commute – check
    • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day – check!
  • The Gold Rush was interested because you left like you were commuting in a piece of Charlotte history (since it is modeled after Charlotte’s old trolleys).
  • Telecommuting allowed me to really “un-plug” during my lunch hour – something I’m not as good about doing when I’m in the office.

That being said, I realized that if I’m going to make clean commuting a regular part of my life, the mode I choose has to be convenient, consistent, and as easy as possible to complete. For me, carpooling most closely fits those criteria. It is flexible enough that I can work it around my schedule, and it takes no more time that driving alone. For me, it’s a good fit!

No matter what clean commute mode you choose, just remember:

Solitary Commuting: Cons outweigh the Pros

So… I didn’t clean commute yesterday.  This happens so rarely and it felt WIERD!  My hubs/carpool partner was attending training at an out of the way location and on a different schedule so we just couldn’t make it work.  Carpooling is really our only option for clean commuting; no mass transit service within reasonable distance and much too far for biking/walking.

Pros of the solitary commute:

  • I got to listen to my old iPod with playlists circa 2008 and sing along.
  • The commute was a few minutes shorter.
  • I still didn’t have to open and close the manual gate at the end of our driveway in the morning or afternoon (very sweet of the hubs).

Cons for the solitary commute:

  • It was so boring!  I missed my two favorite commute pasttimes: talking with my hubs and listening to our audiobook.
  • My commute felt so much longer!  I enjoy my shared commute as a daily habit, like morning coffee and picking veggies in the garden.  But this solitary commute felt like a chore that couldn’t be done soon enough, like vacuuming or opening/closing that stupid manual gate.

I love my normal clean commute and am very thankful that these solitary commutes are FEW AND FAR BETWEEN!

July winner announced!

Congratulations to Cathy H., the July Drawing Winner!

Cathy won a pair of Charlotte Knights tickets donated by NewDominion Bank.


More Prizes in August:

·         Log at least one clean commute in August and you’ll be entered to win a prizes donated Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. or Alta Planning + Design!   

·         Complete and log 13 clean commutes before August 29 to be entered into the GRAND PRIZE DRAWING for a BEACH VACATION at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach, NC!!

The finish line is in sight!  All commutes must be entered by September 1, 2014.

Week 10: Pool Party!

Last week I had a pool party…A car-pool party:
Township 1 Charlotte-20140602-00113
No car keys for me!

Carpooling is an easy clean commute for me because I’m lucky enough to have a neighbor who works at the same locations as me and who has similar hours. But not everyone is so lucky.  Never fear, I’ve got a couple of ideas for finding a carpool partner:

  • Let the professionals match you: Visit www.ShareTheRideNC.org, a rideshare database funding by local transit providers (like CATS).
  •  Tap into your social network: Post a “carpool partner wanted” message on Facebook, Twitter, or your other social media accounts.
  • Connect with coworkers: Post on an inter-office message boards or place flyers around the building asking for potential carpool partners.  You and your coworkers already have the advantage of working in a common location, so you are already half way to having your own carpool party!

Once we’ve identified a potential carpool partner, use these tips to ensure your carpool is a success:

  • Get acquainted: Meet your potential carpool partners. Plan a face-to-face meeting with them prior to committing to carpool to determine if you are a good match.
  • Schedule driving responsibilities: Decide how many days per week you will carpool and who will drive on those days.
  • Determine how driving expenses will be reimbursed: If the driving responsibilities won’t be shared, determine how fuel or mileage expenses will be distributed, and agree on payment dates.
  • Enjoy a surprise-free ride: Set some ground rules. Decide whether things like smoking, eating and/or drinking will be allowed. Also determine what types of music are acceptable to passengers.
  • Plan ahead – Determine your route and schedule: Designate places to meet for both morning and after-work pick-ups.
  • Be on time: Establish a time limit for how long to wait if a member of the carpool is late, and develop a procedure for notifying others if you are going to be late or will not be going to work.
  • Be courteous and careful: Drivers should keep their vehicles clean, in safe condition, maintain a safe speed, and remember that others are in the vehicle.


Week 10 Stats

Mode: Carpool

Mileage: 2.5

Travel time: 8 minutes (my carpool partner is always trying new routes to find the quickest way to work!)

Week 9: The 60-Second Commute


This week I tried out telecommuting for the first time. The commute itself couldn’t get much easier:
Step 1) Turn on your computer
Step 2) Log in and start working
So, the real story is how I planned for my commute and how it went.

I’m not a regular telecommuter, so for me, this commute started last week when I went to my boss with my telecommute proposal. I outlined specific tasks I planned to accomplish during my telecommute day, and how I could be reached by coworkers and customers while working from home.

I also had to devise a plan for how to deal with the fact that my dog might misinterprets my telecommute day with an “I’m-so-happy-you-stayed-home-so-we-can-play” day. I toyed with the idea of taking her to doggie daycare so she would be out of the house, but decided that driving her across town, just to come right back home, pretty much defeated to purpose of clean commuting. Instead, I dropped her off at doggie daycare on my way to work the day before my telecommute, counting on the fact that the post-play-day-exhaustion would last at least 24 hours.


Yesterday, I was determined the make my telecommute day as much like my normal work day as possible. I woke up at my typical time, dressed in my typical office attire, and even took my pup on her typical pre-work-walk.


Coffee in hand, I logged in just before 8 AM and started answering emails. …which took me a little longer than expected because the laptop I was using was much slower than my PC at work…which, of course, led to a Task Manager search to determine if there were any background programs I could safely disable…and shortly thereafter a realization that I don’t have the expertise to determine which would be safe to disable and that I just had to deal with it.

Task Manager

After my foray into computer diagnostics, I decided to tackle a technology I DO understand—Facetime! I used it to check-in with a few of my coworkers, get updates on joint projects, and combat my sense of isolation.

Before I knew it, it was lunch time and I took advantage of being at home by walking my dog around the park. No good deed goes unpunished, and so it was when I was STUNG by a BEE just a few blocks from home. So the rest of the day of spent alternating between working and applying hydrocortisone cream to my leg. My happy puppy spent the afternoon napping.


Week 9 Stats:
Mode: Telecommuting
Mileage: ZERO
Travel Time: 60 seconds
Bee Stings: 1

Week 8: Gold Rush-Hour

I’m starting to run out of the “typical” clean commutes, so I had to really think outside the box this week….


I’ve ended up behind the CATS Gold Rush on my way home several times over the past couple weeks, which made me think, maybe I should be ON the Gold Rush rather than sitting alone in my car BEHIND the gold rush…so I made it happen!


Step 1: Investigate – First step was to figure out the Gold Rush route. I checked the CATS website and learned the Gold Rush Red Line runs from CPCC to JCSU at 12 minute intervals. The closet stop to me was near CPCC.


Step 2: Be flexible – I found my stop without any problem, but unlike the standard CATS bus and LYNX service, the Gold Rush isn’t on a fixed schedule. So I had to be flexible and leave myself a cushion in case I had to wait a few minutes for the next trolley (which I did).


Step 3: Keep your wallet in your pocket and enjoy the FREE ride! Can’t beat that deal!
…special shout-out to the bike commuter we passed on the way in…keep pedaling fellow clean commuter!


Step 4: Signal your stop – Remember to request your stop by pulling on the signal cords along the windows …but if you forget, no worries, the trolley runs in a big circle, so you’ll have another chance on the way back around.


Dose of reality: so, I realize the Gold Rush probably isn’t a clean commute option for most people, but it IS a car-free option for getting around uptown once you are at work.


Week 8 Stats:
Mode: Gold Rush
Mileage: 2.4 miles
Travel time: 25 minutes