Chicago

College Cyclists Compete for Change

Students can earn points for their school and win prizes from Bike2Campus by posting photos online or using the hashtag #ChiBike2Campus. Ellen Bauch // The Phoenix

Loyola bike aficionados will take part in a friendly competition with 12 other Chicago universities next week.  From April 20-24, Bike2Campus will promote bike safety, active lifestyles and reducing carbon emissions.

Organized by the Chicagoland Bike2Campus Coalition (CB2CC), students can track their bicycle trips, and the college/university with the highest percentage of participation for their respective campus population will win the title of “Top Biking Campus.”

Last year, Loyola came in fourth place in the competition, behind the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Dominican University and Northwestern University. There were 1,770 bike trips recorded during the 2014 Bike2Campus week, according to its website.

Gina Lettiere, sustainability specialist at Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, encouraged students to get out and ride next week.

“[We] bike ride to promote campus sustainability, teach students how to ride in the city — because a lot of people come from rural/suburban areas — [and to] help show them that bicycling is a form of commuting, not just a recreational activity,” said Lettiere.

Currently, the city of Chicago website states it has more than 200 miles of on-street protected, buffered and shared bike lanes. The city is also working on a plan that calls for a 645-mile network of biking facilities to be in place by 2020.

A study from the Rails to Trails Conservancy found that increasing trips made by bicycling and walking from 12 percent to 15 percent could save 3.8 billion gallons of fuel a year, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 million tons per year. The CB2CC stated that biking a mile instead of taking a car saves about a pound of CO2 and other pollutants from entering the atmosphere.

Students interested in participating can log bike trips on bike2campus.com. If a student does not own a bike, Lettiere suggests renting one from ChainLinks, the bike shop run by Loyola Limited.

“Overall, it’s about creating bike culture and for students to realize it’s a great way to commute,” Lettiere said. “Even at schools like Northwestern, there’s still a sense that students don’t view bicycling as a form of transportation.”

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