Out-ride competition during Bike2Campus Week

Zachary Bannor riding his bicycle

Pharmacy student Zachary Bannor rides his bicycle to school throughout the year. It’s “peaceful and serene,” he says. Photo: S.K. Vemmer/UIC News

Watch for more bikes on campus next week, as UIC students join the first Chicagoland Bike2Campus Week with two goals: to promote sustainable practices, and to win Divvy bike-share memberships by out-riding other students.

Bike2Campus Week is an initiative of the Chicago Network of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Besides UIC, the network includes the University of Chicago, Columbia College, School of the Art Institute, City Colleges of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology and Loyola, Northwestern, Roosevelt and Dominican universities.

Students and institutions will track their trips. The campus with the highest per-student participation will win a four-year Divvy membership for its student with the most rides.

Each campus will award two additional one-year Divvy memberships — one for “Top Pedaler” and one for a randomly selected student who takes on online bike safety quiz.

The UIC Office of Sustainability will hold two bike pit stops next week with free travel mugs, water bottles, smoothie samples and coupons to local cafes.

The east campus pit stop is Monday, 8-10 a.m., at Vernon Park Place and Morgan Street; the west campus pit stop is April 23 outside Student Center West.

The week will end by joining Critical Mass, a citywide group that rides through downtown Chicago on the last Friday of each month.

Many UIC students, staff and faculty already bike to campus. Here’s their advice for new cyclists:

• UIC Police Sgt. John Sellers, who has commuted by bike “on and off” for 30 years, takes the busy Elston-Milwaukee-Green route. He recommends cycling as a way to “lower your carbon footprint and clear the worries of the day as you pass cars sitting in rush-hour traffic.”

He emphasizes the importance of helmets, fenders, rain jackets and defensive riding. “Don’t pass a car in the curb lane as they approach the intersection; they may be turning right without using a turn signal. That was the last time I was hit on my bike.”

• Heather Alexander, event financial specialist for the UIC Pavilion, commutes from Logan Square. When she can’t bring her bike indoors, she secures it with a U-lock in a busy place. She suggests slowing down in areas with jaywalking pedestrians and CTA buses. She recommends wearing helmets, reflective accessories and front and rear lights. “Bikes are much easier to maintain than a car, and you hardly ever have to hunt for parking,” Alexander says.

• Pharmacy student Zachary Bannor rides down Damen Avenue every day in all kinds of weather. Even in winter, he finds cycling “peaceful and serene during my morning ride.”

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