A bike is a necessity
May 24, 2019
The University of Illinois campus is a massive one to navigate. Most people prefer to walk it because it is the easiest form of transportation; however, the University also provides other options like the intuitive Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District system, Veorides and soon-to-be-introduced Veo e-bikes.
While these options are great, having a personal bike is the most optimal way to traverse Campustown. Having a bike is much faster than any type of alternative mode of transportation on campus.
Buses must follow a certain path and can get crowded during peak hours, but with a bike, you can craft your own personal route that usually cuts a couple minutes from commute times.
Veorides are convenient, but you do have to pay a fee every time you use it and go through the app. Having a bike cuts the middleman and allows you to have complete control of when you want to leave.
Albeit involving a slight investment, the returns are just too valuable to ignore. This semester, I had to get from the Armory to the Siebel Center for Computer Science in about five minutes. I have tested using the bus and walking, and both methods ended up with me being at least 10 minutes late. Biking was the only method that got me there in time just because I could leave right away can cut through places like the Main Quad.
Aside from the convenience and cuts to commute time, there are many other benefits to having a bike on campus. One of the most significant ones is the aerobic workout you get from biking. On a normal day for me, I usually bike about five miles each day just getting from one place to another. This might be a small workout in the grand scheme of things, but with the constant stress of work, clubs and even friends, it can be hard to find time to maintain your physical health.
Biking is a lifestyle change that can have a massive impact on your overall mental health as well. There have been many times where I have been stressed over an assignment, test or essay, and biking served as a type of mental therapy. I usually like to walk to de-stress, but biking seems more cathartic to me.
It is nice to kind of forget about life stress for a couple of minutes and get lost in the headwind and enjoy the things you see, like people, trees and many other things UI’s campus has to offer. My favorite spot to go to in a pinch is the gardens at the Japan House. It is such a separation from our fast-paced life, and I get to breathe and really take in my surroundings without the white noise of cars or people. I would not be able to get there without a bike because the bus would not be convenient enough for me to drop in.
Overall, the time convenience, stress relief and the fun of biking makes having a bike a necessity if you want to experience campus fully.
Mark is a sophomore in LAS.