Bike smack

Jeff vonKaenel

As we charge ahead into Sacramento’s annual May Is Bike Month, local businesses are gearing up for what looks like one of the toughest competitions ever. The tension is high as we wait with bated breath for the end of the month, to see who this year’s top bikers will be.

The big question is: Will Mercy show any mercy against the other large-company competitors since trouncing all of them last year, logging an incredible 14,015 miles? Sutter Health Support Services will have to step up its game from last year’s 4,772 miles if it’s going to defeat what looks like another strong Mercy team.

Among smaller players, no one was more dominant last year than biking powerhouse Williams + Paddon Architects + Planners, who collectively logged a whopping 9,240 miles, averaging a stunning 184 per employee.

In the legislative arena, the state Senate appears poised to spank the Assembly once again. One of the Senate’s shining moments in a dismally bleak 2008 came when it logged 7,447 miles last May, obliterating the Assembly’s 1,286 miles. It seems Assembly members needs to re-examine their priorities.

Among retailers, the not-so-shocking standout is REI, logging an amazing 9,756 miles from just one store. The big boxes have been put on notice. Will Wal-Mart and Target once again allow a single-location store to run roughshod over them in this prestigious annual event?

We’ll know at the end of the month.

Now, one shouldn’t talk smack about others if they can’t take the heat themselves.

Here at SN&R, we compete with The Sacramento Bee in both the marketplace and on the softball field. Let me just say one thing about our softball record against the Bee: We clearly, unmistakably, undeniably … have better T-shirts.

Our T-shirts always have innovative designs and are a pleasure to wear. In fact, our shirts are so nice, we like to show them off by spending as much time on the field as possible watching Bee players run the bases.

When it comes to bicycling, we are not without bragging rights. Our small staff of 50 pedals significantly harder, averaging about 42 miles per employee to the Bee’s paltry 3 miles per employee.

However, despite the best efforts of our hero, David Jayne, who carries SN&R on his back in terms of bicycling, the much larger Bee staff still came out ahead in overall miles, clocking 3,464 miles to SN&R’s 2,079 miles.

That’s a difference of 1,385 miles. I am not prepared to say we’ll finally overtake the Bee in total biking miles this year. But I can say we have put together a dedicated team and aim to close the gap.

As for the future, we’ve already started to change our recruiting style, making sure to ask specific questions to those seeking employment with us. One: Do you play softball? Two: What kind of bike do you own?

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.