Bike tales

With all the new bike lanes around campus, we wondered about people’s favorite routes. They told us that and plenty more.

Bike: “An old, beat-up Huffy mountain bike.”
Lives: 15th & Locust
“I have a nicer bike at home, but I don’t ride it here because I don’t want it to get stolen. I take Lombard down to the South Street bridge. It’s less busy than the Walnut Street bridge, which feels like a highway.” You’re wearing a long skirt. How do you bike in that? “I don’t. I have shorts in my bag. You know, I hear about places that have bicycle garages where you can park your bike, and they have showers and lockers so you don’t have to go to work all sweaty or carry your extra clothes everywhere. I wish they would do something like that here.”
Anything to add? “We need more bike routes, but the cars don’t respect the ones we have, anyway.”

PATTY GILSON, cook, White Dog Café
Bike: Schwinn mountain bike.
Lives: 48th & Osage
“During the school year I take Walnut Street to work, but in the summer I ride through campus. Campus is better because (a) there are no cars and (b) there are trees and stuff. It’s nice. I never used to wear a helmet until I got in an accident and cracked my head on the pavement. So now I’m the helmet safety poster girl.”

GORDON WITTY, Arts & Sciences Ph.D.
Bike: “Ten-speed piece of crap. I got it out of the trash.”
Lives: 46th & Baltimore
“I come down Pine or Osage to 40th and cut over to Locust Walk.” Why not Baltimore, which is more direct? “The hill on Baltimore seems to go for two blocks instead of one. I’m trying to expend the minimum amount of effort. I haven’t been in an accident yet, but it’s inevitable. That’s why I wear a helmet. Out here, on Spruce and Walnut, I try to stick to the sidewalks.”

Bike: new-looking mountain bike.
Lives: 21st & Chestnut.
“I ride down Walnut to get here and take Chestnut home.” Street or sidewalk? “Street. It’s faster, and I don’t have to go up and down curbs. I come from Auckland, New Zealand. The streets here are much more busy. I live right at the trolley stop. It’s very convenient. But biking is cheap, and it’s good exercise.”

Bike: 6-year-old Gary Fisher mountain bike.
Lives: 20th & Locust.
“As an undergrad, I lived at 40th and Pine. I would come across 40th, down Spruce until right across from Wawa, then cut through campus. During the school year you have to get off your bike on Locust Walk or the police will stop you.”

—Sara Marcus



Originally published on August 31, 2000