VeoRide adapts to colder weather


VeoRide bikes lay abandoned on the South Quad on Thursday. VeoRide management checks bikes daily to prevent weather damage.

By Luis Velazquez, Staff Writer

VeoRide was introduced to campus last semester as the very first bike-ride booking service. However, as winter approaches, there is a noticeable decrease in the usage of the bikes due to the extreme cold.

VeoRide offers students the alternative to use bikes rather than taking the bus. Even in winter, the company is confident about the service it provides.

Linda Jackson, director of communication for VeoRide, explains the company is combating the harsh weather, such as what Illinois is facing.

“VeoRide is weathering the cold as everyone else,” Jackson wrote in an email. “We’re based in the Midwest, so we understand the highs and lows of winter. We have kept all the bikes available to our customers because we know some days will be better for riding than others, and we want them to have a good transportation option.”

It is not a surprise the company’s ridership has decreased dramatically because of the weather. Jackson does not know the exact number of customers who used the bikes in early fall compared with now. However, VeoRide does understand not everyone is used to winter riding, Jackson said.

The harsh winter weather is not stopping avid bikers though such as Tristan Empalmado, sophomore in AHS. He still uses his bicycle even if it’s freezing outside. He rides his bike not only because it brings joy to him, but because it is part of his healthy lifestyle.

“When it gets cold out, people tend to utilize buses more to make their ways around campus. So to avoid the possibility of not being able to get on a packed bus, I take it upon myself to bike where I need to go,” Empalmado said. “Not only do I get to leave on my own behalf as opposed to waiting for a bus, but I do get around campus quicker, considering the shortcuts that I take that a bus cannot take.”

Empalmado said it was a smart idea for the University to offer a new alternative form of transportation for students since it promotes a healthy lifestyle. However, Empalmado himself has never used a VeoRide before since he already owns a bike.

For safety precautions, VeoRide has several technicians who are working to ensure bikes are available and not interfering with city workers as they clean streets and sidewalks.

“We continually tune up the bikes as needed,” Jackson said. “Our bikes are collected daily for checkups and maintenance and to combat weather conditions.”

VeoRide still encourages and promotes safe winter riding to their customers during this weather, but with caution.

“Champaign, Urbana, and the campus workers have done an excellent job removing snow and ice from the streets and bike lanes, so riders should feel confident to grab a VeoRide and head to their destination,” Jackson said.

As much as Empalmado enjoys biking during the winter, he believes students should be careful to avoid accidents.

“If bikes are left out in the cold for too long, the gears and brakes may wear down, making it much more difficult to maneuver around campus,” Empalmado said. “I strongly recommend that bikers consider their speed when biking around campus during the colder months of the year.”

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