Hundreds of free bikes: Bicycling magazine's 'BikeTown USA'

EMMAUS, Pa., Mar 29, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Can something as simple as the gift of a bicycle change someone's life?

Very often, the answer is yes, as more than 1,300 people around the country have already found out through Bicycling magazine's BikeTown USA. And now, as BikeTown enters its fourth year in 2006, hundreds more people in a dozen cities around the country will find out that answer for themselves.

The editors of Bicycling have selected 12 participating cities around the country for the 2006 BikeTown USA presented by Lipton program, and will give away 600 bicycles -- 50 in each city -- to selected participants interested in seeing how incorporating a bicycle into their daily lives can affect change for themselves, their families and/or their communities.

Interested participants simply tell Bicycling, in 50 words or less, how they would incorporate a free bike into their lives. Bicycling's editors then select what they feel are the 50 best entries in each city and give each of those entrants a new bike that is theirs to keep forever. Bicycling follows the selected participants' progress for three months for editorial purposes, and results for all BikeTown participants may be featured in the magazine and on Bicycling.com throughout the program period and following its conclusion.

Participant entries are being accepted, beginning today and continuing throughout the summer, at www.bicycling.com/biketown. All selected participants will receive a new bike from leading manufacturers Electra, Fuji or Giant (depending upon the city), and will also receive their own cycling gear and apparel from Bell Sports, Camelbak, Canari Cycling, CatEye, Ryders Sunglasses and Saris Racks.

Bicycling's BikeTown USA markets for 2006 are as follows:
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Boise, ID
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Detroit, MI
  • Gila River (AZ) Indian Community
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia, PA

Getting active and healthy

This year, Bicycling is also partnering with Lipton Tea in 10 BikeTown markets to promote healthier living through the Lipton Live Well Challenge, a program that encourages people to start living well by becoming more active and incorporating a healthy diet that includes drinking three servings of Lipton tea a day.

Lipton Tea is the presenting sponsor of the Lipton Live Well Challenge and BikeTown USA. BikeTown is also supported by the sponsorship of Shimano, the world's leading manufacturer of bicycle components, along with leading bicycle manufacturers Electra, Fuji and Giant, who will generously provide the bikes that will be distributed throughout the 12 cities.

"Our goal with BikeTown remains as simple as it always has been -- to see how a bike can change someone's life," says Steve Madden, editor-in-chief of Bicycling. "It's the same grassroots outreach it's been since we first launched the program in Portland, Maine, in 2003, only it's become more ambitious in scale.

"We're trying to see if we can affect widespread changes in people's lives throughout the country, whether they start riding for recreational purposes, to save commuting costs due to ever-rising gas prices, or as a means of taking control of their weight and fitness.

"We've seen and heard some amazing stories of lives transformed by this program in the past, and we have high hopes for even more great stories from BikeTown this time around."

"Lipton Tea is proud to support BikeTown USA's commitment to helping people reach their health and nutrition goals," says Patricia Zenobi, Unilever marketing director. "Bike riding and drinking refreshing Lipton tea are two great ways to rejuvenate and re-energize the mind, body and spirit to help people live life to the fullest."

Bicycling began the BikeTown USA program in Portland, Maine, in 2003, expanding to five cities -- Irvine, CA; Chicago, IL; Racine, WI; Chatham/Madison, NJ; and the Microsoft corporate campus in Redmond, WA -- in 2004. The program grew to 20 cities for the first time last year, including repeat BikeTown markets for 2006 such as New York City and Philadelphia.

About BikeTown USA
Many of the more than 1,300 people who've participated in BikeTown during its history initially entered the program because they were interested in losing weight. Indeed, in 2004, one-third of the 250 BikeTown participants lost noticeable weight -- some more than 30 pounds over a three-month tracking period. One group of participants, five women who dubbed themselves "Biker Babes of Irvine" (led by 51-year-old Diane Shindler), actually lost more than 300 pounds combined by incorporating their bikes into their daily lives.

Shindler's sister Lynda Thomas, a grandmother of 11, participated in BikeTown's Denver, CO-program in 2005 and experienced similar results, losing more than 40 pounds and getting motivated to lift weights, swim and exercise on a daily basis.

BikeTown research has shown that, on average, its participants rode 10 miles per week, mostly for pleasure or exercise. But more than 40 percent rode for transportation purposes, happily trading their car and the cost of gasoline for a bike, and some even gained the freedom to travel alone for the first time.

And, according to Bicycling's findings, the farther they rode, the happier BikeTown participants were: riders who pedaled more than 10 miles a week reported greater happiness, confidence, self-esteem, weight loss, and job satisfaction than those who rode less than 10.

For more information on BikeTown USA and the Lipton Live Well Challenge, please visit www.bicycling.com/biketown or www.lipton.com.

About Bicycling
As the industry leader, Rodale's Bicycling is the voice of cycling, providing the stories on the personalities, trends, and techniques behind the sport. Appealing to readers of every ability and interest level, the magazine features expert reviews of the latest equipment as well as training and fitness tips. Published 11 times a year, Bicycling is the magazine for the athlete for whom the bicycle is the centerpiece of an active lifestyle.

About Lipton Teas
LIPTON Tea, the world's leading tea brand, is available in more than 180 countries worldwide. With more than 100 years of tasting, buying, and blending expertise, Lipton Tea provides today's health-conscious consumer with a variety of convenient, great-tasting, healthy tea products across several beverage formats. Lipton Tea employs expert tea-tasters, mastered in the harvesting, production, purchase, transport and blending of the more than 3,000 types of tea, sourcing its teas from as many as 25-35 countries to ensure tea leaf integrity, quality and freshness. Lipton Tea is one of the only brands to operate its own tea estates and research facilities, which are located around the globe. Lipton Tea is owned by Unilever (NYSE: UL, UN), one of the world's largest consumer products companies featuring a portfolio of brands that makes people feel good, look good and get more out of life every day. For more information about Lipton Tea, visit www.lipton.com.

About Shimano
Committed to the ideal of promoting health and happiness through the enjoyment of nature and the world around us, Shimano American Corporation proudly supports Bicycling magazine's BikeTown program, as well as the League of American Bicyclists and National Bike to Work Week, all of which promote healthy, active lifestyles while spreading smiles and reducing pollution and traffic congestion through use of the bicycle.

A manufacturer of cycling components sold worldwide, Shimano has equipped the bikes of Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, the Discovery Channel Cycling Team and numerous top-level professional teams, as well as road and mountain bike Olympic, World Championship and World Cup winners. Beyond manufacturing components for world-class competition, Shimano strives to make all types of cycling -- whether for transportation, health, leisure or simply for fun -- more enjoyable by producing affordable, reliable, easy-to-use components, such as the Nexus line of internally-geared hubs found on all BikeTown bikes. Shimano also produces a complete line of fishing rods and reels. www.shimano.com

About Rodale
Rodale Inc. is the authoritative source for trusted content in health, fitness and wellness around the world, reaching nearly 40 million people each month. The company publishes some of the best-known health and wellness lifestyle magazines, including Men's Health, Prevention, Women's Health, Runner's World, Best Life, Bicycling, Backpacker, Mountain Bike and Organic Gardening, and is also the largest independent book publisher in America with a collection of international titles, including The South Beach Diet and The Abs Diet franchises. Rodale's broad range of media platforms includes magazines, books, video and extensive Web sites. The company is also a leader in direct-response marketing and has more than 25 million active customers in its database. www.rodale.com.


Source: Bicycling; Contact: Chris Brienza/Rodale Sports Group, 212-808-1358, Chris.Brienza@Rodale.com

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