Registration will open soon for the 2012 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 12-18. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone. Learn more about the Challenge. Thanks to Danny Hajek and photographer Karen Hanrahan for making this series of interviews with sustainable commuters possible.
In advance of the week-long challenge this May, GLT is bringing you a series of interviews with commuters who choose to get around sustainably all year long. GLT’s Danny Hajek spoke with one of those commuters, Rebecca Ross. She’s the Assistant Director at Illinois State University’s Stevenson Center, working in the graduate program dedicated to community and economic development.
Rebecca Rossi: I just like to ride my bike! I was riding for exercise and distance rides for fun, and decided I could ride to work at least a few times a month. So I got a commuter bike, kind of an in-town bike that was more appropriate than a road bike and started.
Danny Hajek: You used to play on the local roller derby team, the McLean County MissFits, and now you’ve moved on to the Champaign-Urbana Twin City Derby Girls. So you roller skate, you also walk and take the bus to get around town. What’s the best part about sustainable commuting?
RR: My favorite part of any of those commutes is walking through my neighborhood or moving through my neighborhood to get onto campus because there’s the school, and this time of year, there are folks outside walking their dogs and you feel like you’re part of something.
DH: And it’s great being outside in such nice weather!
RR: This year has been lovely.
DH: You’re a regular bus rider. Tell me about your experiences with the Bloomington-Normal Public Transit System?
RR: One of the issues in Bloomington Normal that you hear often is that it’s not reliable. But my bus is within two minutes of when I need it to be there.
DH: What words of advice would you give someone to encourage them to start commuting sustainably?
RR: Just do it a couple times. Often people think if I’m going to bike to work, I have to bike to work every day. Or I have to make this huge commitment. But really, if it’s sunny and gorgeous and it’s a day where you would just enjoy riding your bike, then ride! The bus is a little scary for people in terms of navigating the routes and knowing when the bus is coming, but sometimes you can find someone to go with, especially if it’s someone in my area, just go with me! We’ll go together and see if that works. I think a big thing is reminding people they don’t have to commit to riding their bike every single day for the rest of their life just because they say they’re going to start riding their bike. Just do it when you can and when it works. That’s a good way to start.
RR: I guess to some degree. I like doing things under my own power. I ride my bike, I run, I walk, I like to skate, I just like to move. So there’s a satisfaction that comes from propelling myself. It’s just that kind of high you get from any physical activity like that. If I’m riding the bus, the times I feel particularly good about it are the times when I run into somebody that I know which happens more frequently than I would have thought. And that’s nice because you can sit and have a quick chat on your way to work and it’s a little interaction that you wouldn’t have had. So, that’s pretty satisfying.
Rebecca Rossi is with the Stevenson Center at ISU. Join Rebecca during your commute. Ride your bike, take the bus or roller-skate along the Constitution Trail and participate in the 2012 Good To Go Commuter Challenge May 12-18. Everyone who logs at least one sustainable commute during the challenge is eligible to win a $200 Visa gift card. Learn more and register for the challenge today.
The Good To Go Blog is administered by Mike McCurdy, WGLT Program Director and co-coordinator of the sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The Commuter Challenge is May 12-18. Danny Hajek and photographer Karen Hanrahan helped make this series of sustainable commuter interviews possible. Hear an audio version and see a schedule of upcoming interviews at the WGLT website.