Trades Shop Manager Barry O’Quinn logged enough miles to bike to Springfield – and back – during the 2015 Bike Commuter Challenge held in June. Barry biked a total of 399 miles in just seven days, earning him the top spot among the more than 3,900 challenge participants across the Chicago region this year.
Barry’s impressive achievement also boosted the Facilities Services team to the top of the pack among at several University of Chicago departmental teams. Altogether, the University of Chicago teams logged a total of 1,003 miles – cutting out nearly 909 pounds of CO2 that otherwise would have been produced by a typical passenger vehicle covering the same distance.
Throughout the challenge week, Barry other riders bravely pedaled through downpours and strong winds to promote alternative transportation and active lifestyles. Barry’s passion for biking started as a means for exercise but quickly found he liked the new views and perspectives he discovered when cruising on two wheels. “If you rode a bike along a path you normally drive, you would be amazed at how much you had missed before,” he said. Not only is Barry’s commute more scenic, it’s also more sustainable. Instead of idling in traffic, Barry chooses to turn his 33-mile one-way trip into an opportunity to enjoy and engage with the environment around him. The Bike Commuter Challenge is an event sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance to improve conditions for bicycling, walking, and transit while engaging people in healthy and active means of transportation.
This year, more than 650 metro Chicago companies and organizations, including the University of Chicago, participated in the Bike Commuter Challenge between Friday, June 13 and Friday, June 20. While riding 400 miles is challenging, Barry encourages others to get out and ride a bike, even if just solely for the fun of it. “You don’t need to ride for miles, you just need to ride,” he said.