Arlington, VA

A county-sponsored contest designed to help ween residents out of their cars and onto bikes and transit will return for an encore in 2011.

The Car-Free Diet Skeptics Challenge will begin accepting video applications on Jan. 3. The contest, organized by Arlington County Commuter Services, is seeking two drivers who are skeptical about ditching their cars but willing to try it out for 30 days.

Applications will be accepted from Jan. 3 to Feb. 28. In addition to submitting a 30 second to two minute YouTube video, would-be skeptics will be asked to fill out an application, provide photos, and answer questions about why they think they’re the county’s biggest car-free skeptic.

The contestants will be chosen in March by a combination of online voting and scoring by a panel of judges.

Each contestant selected this year will receive a new bike and accessories, hats and t-shirts, maps and transit schedules, a pre-loaded SmarTrip card, a one month membership to Capital Bikeshare and a Flip video camera. The “winner” selected at the end of the contest will get 12 months worth of free transit, a gift certificate to a running store, a one-year membership to Capital Bikeshare and a one year Zipcar membership.

Last year’s contest followed Ross and Todd (pictured), who tracked their car-free progress on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as on their own personal blogs.

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