Commute for charity?


Log your bike commute and save the world?

Improved mood, gas money savings, better focus–  alt-commuters already get rewarded for their good habits, but what if you could make that behavior pay even more? By bringing together fitness enthusiasts, non-profits, and corporate sponsorship, Plus 3 Network is doing just that.

Plus 3 Network encourages users to log their daily exercise and other good habits at their site. Each time an acitvity is logged, kudos are awarded. Each kudo is assigned a monetary value depending on the activity and how it was logged. You can log your activity manually at the site, with an iPhone (Android apps are  in development), or with a GPS. You’ll earn more kudos if you use your gadgets. At registration, users pick a cause to receive their kudo earnings.  It’s a triple win– a good cause gets a donation, the donating company gets good publicity, and you get even more motivation to get your exercise. All those pennies have really added up, too– Plus 3 Network is a little over a year old and has raised $402,477.91 for their various causes.

It’s easy to start. Registration only requires a name, email, and password. After getting that set up, you’ll select the cause. There’s a LOT to choose from. I went with Project Rwanda, a cause dedicated to using bicycles to boost Rwandan economic development.  After figuring out who’s going to benefit from your workouts, you can set up your profile and search for friends, join a group, or accept a challenge.

I haven’t had much success making exercise a daily habit, so I’ve decided to try walking during my lunch a few times a week. On Wednesday I ate lunch at my desk and used my break to walk around the office park. I came back and logged my activity; walking 1.8 miles earned me 27 kudos and garnered 8 cents for Project Rwanda from Syncros, a bike parts company. Pretty cool! I definitely got a bit of a charge seeing those kudos convert to moolah. 

While browsing activities, I noticed  “Going Green – Carpool” and “Going Green – Public Transit.”  When I logged my bus commute, though, no kudos were awarded. (I’ve emailed the site for an explanation and I’ll be sure to post the response.) In the meantime though, Plus 3 Network seems like a great way to get some added benefit from a bike commute and exercise. What do you think? Could a site like that help motivate you even more?

Update 9/6/11: Regarding the lack of kudos for “Go Green” activities, a Plus 3 Network rep tells me they only reward “human powered activity” with kudos.  Their “Leader Boards” motivate many members and kudos determine rank. At this time there’s no way to separate kudos earned from human powered activity and those that weren’t. This is something that might change in the future, so Plus 3 Network encourages users to keep logging their GoGreen activities along with their human powered activities.

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