Pedal on. That’s what University of Louisville administrators, faculty and staff plan to do Friday, May 20, as President James Ramsey and others set out on two wheels for their offices at the Health Sciences Center and Belknap Campus.
Anyone interested in joining the ride should meet at Amelia Place, 2515 Longest Ave., at 7 a.m.
The bike routes to both campuses are fairly flat and have light traffic, said Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability.
“I’m excited about it,” said Mylantha Baunjoko, an administrative associate in the College of Education and Human Development who plans to “pedal with the president” Friday. “I’ve just now got back into biking after 10 years.”
May is Bike to Work Month, and the UofL Sustainability Council and other campus organizations have sponsored activities all month to prepare UofL cyclists to take to the road safel.
The university also has had three teams in the Louisville Bike to Work Challenge, a friendly competition to encourage people to use bicycles for transportation trips of any length. The Louisville Pushing Pedals to Work finished third. Sustainability Council Crankers came in fourth, and the Speed School Jeep Dodgers finished in sixth place. The competition ended Thursday, May 19.
Political science professor Rodger Payne, a member of the Sustainability Council, has participated in the challenge.
“The bike challenge is symbolic — but the issues are very important,” he said. The Sustainability Council has “devoted a lot of attention to transportation concerns. Single-passenger car trips are not sustainable in the long haul, so we have to figure out suitable alternatives for a large number of daily commuters. Biking will likely be an important part of that, though it is not for everyone.”
Payne said he sometimes rides a bicycle to work in the spring and fall when the weather is good, but he more often rides the #29 bus to work because of a lack of bike lanes on Eastern Parkway.
“I more often use my bike to run errands in my Highlands neighborhood,” he said.
This is the second year that President Ramsey has hosted a Bike to Work ride and that UofL teams have joined the city challenge.
The activities are in keeping with the university’s long-term sustainability goals.
“President Ramsey signed the Climate Commitment in 2008, pledging UofL to steadily reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions down to net-zero. Nearly 10 percent of our emissions are attributable to driving cars to campus, so we need to encourage everyone to consider alternatives like biking,” Mog said, noting that he has already noticed more cyclists in the two years he has been at UofL.
For people who are considering using bicycle transportation, Mog offers some advice:
“If you’ve never tried using a bike for transportation, the first thing you need to do isn’t necessarily physical training or buying fancy gear, but planning. Map a safer, lower-traffic route through town. Figure out how you’re going to carry what you need, run other errands during the day and what you’re going to wear. And don’t forget that you can always combine biking with riding the bus, as all TARC buses are equipped with racks (and free with UofL ID).
*The beginning of this article was adapted from the song Acoustic Motorbike by Luka Bloom.