To promote the May 20 Bike to Work Day in the D.C. region, Bruce Wright, chairman of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling, has issued a commuting challenge to several prominent residents of Reston. While Wright rides his bike Monday morning, Virginia Del. Kenneth R. Plum will drive his hybrid and Reston Association President Kathleen Driscoll McKee will ride a bus for a competitive commute of a little over three miles.

Fairfax County Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, who also is chairman of the Metro board, has been invited to meet them at the finish line at the Reston Town Center Pavilion.

Wright thinks she’ll be saying “Hi” to him first. He’s not saying bikes always win on commuting, but he does maintain that on short trips like this, bikes do well compared to cars and buses, and the cost of a trip is much less.

The three plan to start at 8:15 a.m. Monday from Cobblestone Lane in south Reston. Each will be timed. Plum must park in long-term parking, as if he is going to be working at the Town Center for the day, then walk to the Pavilion. Wright must also park and lock his bike, then walk to the Pavilion. McKee’s travel time will include walking to and from the bus stops. But all three are allowed to choose their own routes, as long as they obey traffic laws.

Wright is hoping that the Reston competition will encourage commuters not only to participate in the annual Bike to Work Day on May 20 but also to consider biking as a realistic alternative to motor vehicles.

He says the annual cost of maintaining a bike is about $200. (Which tells me he maintains his bike a lot better than I maintain mine.) By comparison, he says, it costs about $8,000 a year to keep a car, citing an AAA estimate.

Wright has challenged me several times now to set up one of our Post “Which Way?” commuting features as a bike vs. car competition, and I do plan to take him up on that.