As Mother Nature begins to warm up for spring, Chicagoans everywhere are waiting eagerly to enjoy the fresh air. The spring season encourages more physical activity, from walks or runs in the park, to soaking up sun on the beach. For some, riding a bike is the preferred form of exercise and transportation. Despite Chicago’s hectic urban atmosphere, bicycle riding is still a great way to make the most of a beautiful day.
College students, for the most part, have sedentary lives, sitting for hours each week listening to lectures, taking notes and studying. With so many distractions, it is easy to become comfortable with an inactive lifestyle. Yet living a life sitting down can lead to health problems in the future, such as weight gain and high blood pressure. Taking the time to go on a bike ride can prevent or alleviate these health problems.
Bicycle riding is not only good for your health, but for the environment as well. Tailpipe emissions from cars make up nearly half of Chicago’s pollution. This pollution passively puts toxins in the bodies of Chicago citizens. Why not help to make the air around us safer to breathe by doing some legwork on a bike? Riding a bike can also save you time for shorter travel distances, as well as precious money on gas. For the convenience of bike riders in the city, multiple bike lines and routes are available, including some located on or near both DePaul campuses.
While being a bicycle rider has benefits, it also requires responsibility from the rider. Bike owners must make sure that their bike is protected when left unattended. This can be done by securing your bike to a sturdy rack with a U-lock, removing detachable items before leaving it and recording its serial number. These actions will help to ensure that your bike will not be stolen.
Riding a bike also requires safety precautions while out on the road. A cyclist, for the most part, must obey the rules of the road just like drivers do. They must hand signal when turning, obey traffic signals and look over their shoulders when passing on either side of a vehicle. Cyclists must also remember to ride in the direction of traffic and never against it, for this act accounts for most cycling accidents. If riding in a bike lane next to parked cars, cyclists should stay to the far left side of the lane to avoid collisions with opening car doors.
The City of Chicago is currently working on developing new bike routes and paths for the convenience of its residents. Bike Plan 2015 aims to make bicycling a part of everyday life in Chicago, with the implementation of programs and policies for 10 years in the future. The goals of this plan include making Chicago streets safer for biking and educating the public about bicycle safety. Even further into the future is the Chicago Streets for Bicycling Plan 2020. This plan aims to create 645 miles of biking facilities, so that every Chicago citizen may be able to find a designated biking area within half a mile.
Living in a city with such enthusiasm for bicycling, spring is the perfect opportunity to hop on your bike and get out there. Whether solo or with a friend, biking is an excellent way to relieve stress and burn calories at the same time. Unwind with a refreshing bike ride today.