Shades of Green: no more excuses! It's time to bike
“Shades of Green,” a new column on environmental issues related to the UIC campus and community, appears monthly in UIC News.
For those of us who live in Chicago, we have a bright orange city sticker on our windshield to remind us that we need to share the road with bicyclists.
For those who drive to work every day, it is now second nature to check our mirrors for cyclists before changing lanes or turning.
Frequent drivers on Halsted, Damen, Taylor, Roosevelt and other streets with bicycle lanes should know those lanes are for the cyclists. And regular CTA riders have the large bicycle racks on the front of the bus or the rows of bike racks outside train stations to remind us of our fellow commuters.
Chicago truly is a bike-friendly city.
The College of Cycling for UIC faculty, staff and students promotes bicycle safety and commuting through marketing and special events.
The Chicago Campus Cyclers participated in the Tour de Farms in June, a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy has a Transportation and Grounds Subcommittee, which includes cycling. Student recreation centers offer free before-work showers to faculty and staff who are not members if they present their i-card and helmet.
So the campus community is bike-friendly, too.
But I don’t have a bike. So I borrowed a friend’s.
The city’s “Commuter Choice” program a partnership with UIC, the Chicago Department of Transportation, DePaul, Loyola, Northwestern and the University of Chicago promotes active transportation such as walking, cycling and public transit.
Each university has an intern (UIC’s is Beth Sholtis) to help develop initiatives and plan active transportation-oriented events.
The next event at UIC will be an Oct. 17 bike tour of campus with a tour guide from the Office of the UIC Historian. The tour, sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and the College of Cycling, begins at 1 p.m. on the corner of Halsted and Harrison streets.
I guess it’s time to actually use the bike.
Truth be told, I borrowed my friend’s bike more than four years ago when UIC was participating in a “Bike to Work Commuter Challenge” sponsored by the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation. I’m still mustering up the courage to bike the four miles to campus.
I really don’t have any more excuses. Both the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation and the Chicago Bicycle Program have all the information I need to get the bike ready and buy a helmet, plus safety tips and the rules of the road. I can take a shower in the Student Recreation Facility once I get here. And I would really like to go on the Bike Tour Oct. 17.
Enough thinking and more doing Oct. 17 it is! I may cheat and drive to my friend’s house (who lent me the bike) to bike from there.
But at least it’s a start and I will finally get on the road.
Monica Rausa Williams is assistant to the chancellor and a member of the Chancellor’s Committee for Sustainability and Energy. Send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Shades of Green: measuring your carbon footprint (9/10/08)