CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Area bicycling enthusiasts unite! In an effort to engage communities of like-minded people in health and wellness activities, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has started using the social networking site Meetup.com to sponsor a cycling group.

The Meetup group, Scenic Cycling in Chattanooga, leverages the connective power of the Web and BlueCross’ promotion of its activities to engage interested cyclists in the surrounding area. Since its launch, more than 50 individuals have joined the group and 25 Meetups have occurred.

“Meetup provides an easy and convenient way to coordinate and announce upcoming ride information in a collaborative environment,” said Danny Jenkins, a BlueCross employee and co-organizer for Scenic Cycling. “Being able to rate and share what we like and dislike about specific rides allows us to create unique cycling experiences that all will enjoy. Ultimately, the main goal is to move, involve our community, and live a healthier lifestyle.”

The group is the first of its kind to be sponsored by a health plan in Tennessee. As program sponsor, BlueCross pays the annual Meetup subscription fee required to organize groups using the platform, and promotes group activities via its social networking channels. BlueCross is committed to sponsoring more health and wellness-focused Meetup groups across the state later this year.

“We are thrilled with the success of our pilot Meetup group, Scenic Cycling,” said Jennifer Tedeschi, social media strategist for BlueCross. “Moving out of the pilot phase, we are now actively seeking other people in Tennessee who are interested in starting their own BlueCross-sponsored health and wellness groups.”

Meetup.com is a social networking platform that provides people with the opportunity to meet online and organize offline, real-world groups and activities. There are 79,000 local Meetup groups made up of over 7 million people in 45,000 cities worldwide. The mission of Meetup is to “revitalize local communities and help people around the world self-organize.”

People can join BlueCross’ cycling Meetup group at www.meetup.com/Scenicycling/. For information on organizing a BlueCross-sponsored Meetup group, please visit www.facebook.com/bcbst?v=app_17037175766

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.