Faculty gears up for Bike2Campus


Kelly Wenzel

Many students and faculty commute to campus using a DIVVY bike from various pick-up locations such as the one at Wabash Avenue and 8th Street.

By Campus Reporter

College students and professors from across Chicago will unchain their bikes and ride into the rising spring temperatures to celebrate the city’s second annual Bike2Campus week, a five-day alternative transit event. 

From April 20–24, the Chicagoland Bike2Campus Coalition will encourage college students, faculty and staff from 12 institutions, including Columbia, to commute on bikes to promote a cheap, healthy and environmentally friendly way to travel. 

Participants can track their bicycle trips and share progress through social media  by going to the organization’s website, according to John Wawrzaszek, sustainability manager in the office of Campus Engagement. Wawrzaszek said the institution that logs the most trips or shares the most photos online using the hashtag #ChiBike2Campus will be selected as the winner. Prizes will be distributed and the grand prize includes a yearlong DIVVY membership.

“The goal of the week is to get more people on a bike,” Wawrzaszek said. “We want to promote, ‘Hey biking is an easy, safe way to get out there and travel, whether it’s in your neighborhood, on the weekend, over the summer [or] when you’re not on campus.’”

Wawrzaszek said he commuted by bike every day when he was a student. He said bicycling is great way for commuters in the suburbs, especially with the increasing number of DIVVY bike stations and bike lanes in the city. 

“Granted every student has a U-Pass, but for those who drive around town, it’s another cheap and easy way to get out there,” Wawrzaszek said.

Throughout the week, each campus will plan events in the city that will be posted on the Bike2Campus website. The campus events include a safety presentation on the ins and outs of safe biking in Chicago presented by the City of Chicago’s Bicycling Ambassadors, a Columbia Bike Advisory Committee meeting to discuss bike policies and activities happening on campus and a bike tune-up and repair station outside of the 623 S. Wabash Ave. Building provided by C4Cycling, a club started by faculty in the Science & Mathematics Department to promote cycling around campus. 

The week ends with Critical Mass, a ride that takes cyclists through downtown Chicago on the last Friday of each month, according to an April 3 press release. 

David Dolak, senior lecturer in the Science & Mathematics Department and head of C4Cycling, said he has ridden his bike more than 100,000 miles since graduating high school, including the length of the U.S., Rocky Mountains, Mississippi River, up the East Coast and around the Great Lakes. He also leads the C4Cycling Overnight, a 120-mile round-trip bicycle ride to the Indiana Dunes. 

Dolak said he hopes more people see cyclists riding safely and talk about biking being fun and healthy because it might entice people to get out there and ride.

Rose Smith-Woollams, a senior interdisciplinary major, bikes to school every day to avoid driving or taking other modes of transportation. She said she has been cycling for a little more than a year now and lives about five miles away from campus. 

“It is a fun and efficient mode of transportation,” she said. “I don’t like to rely on other people to get me places because frequently they are not reliable and I can control when I am going to arrive.”

Other participating colleges include City Colleges of Chicago, Dominican University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University Chicago, Roosevelt University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Triton College, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.