Brandon Addeo | News Editor
It might not be basketball, but Duquesne finally beat Pitt in a sporting competition.
In the National Bike Challenge 2016, 12 Duquesne cyclists pedaled their way to rank 29 out of 201 universities nationwide. Pitt cyclists brought the Panthers to the no. 43 spot, and their neighbor, Carnegie Mellon, ranked 4th in the country.
The National Bike Challenge, a yearly event sponsored by the charitable organization PeopleForBikes, runs from May 1 to Sept. 30 each year. Competitors use the National Bike Challenge’s website to track how far they’ve biked each day. Those who rank highly have a chance at winning bicycle equipment in monthly drawings.
This year, 12 Duquesne students and faculty biked about 4,700 miles over the five month challenge period.
David Lampe, advisor for the Duquesne Bike Club, led the charge for the Dukes.
“[The challenge] is aimed at getting people to bike more,” Lampe said. “Over the past few years I’ve tried to get as many people at Duquesne to do this as possible.”
For second year doctorate chemistry student Cassandra Hanley, one of the 12 Duquesne cyclists, joining the National Bike Challenge was a way to analyze her daily routine.
“Since I ride my bike [to Duquesne] every day, it’s nice to see a visual representation of the data [on the website],” Hanley said.
Lampe, an associate professor of biological sciences in the Bayer school, said this year’s performance from Duquesne has been below average — last year Duquesne riders logged around 11,000 total miles.
Hanley said she traveled over 1,000 miles — 8 miles each school day from her home in north Oakland — during the 2016 challenge. She said riding that far was a good workout.
“Exercise has never been easier because I think riding my bike is really fun,” she said.
Anna Tang, an international admissions assistant for Duquesne and one of the cyclists in the challenge, also sees biking as a way to work out.
“I hate going to the gym and I like to exercise, and I like to be outdoors,” Tang said. “If you’re going to the gym every day for an hour, you can definitely just build in biking to your commute.”
Lampe also works as an organizer for BikeDUQ, a campus advocacy group which promotes bicycle transportation. He said he bikes to work “nine to 10” months out of the year, commuting 24 miles round-trip to Shaler Township, which is a 50 minute ride each way.
“Unless it’s going to snow or ice, I’ll ride in,” Lampe said.
The reasons to bike far outweigh the reasons to drive, he said.
“[Biking is] good for my health, it’s good for my mood … it’s comparatively inexpensive, there’s no downside to it,” Lampe said. “It’s nice to just ride home, not plugged into anything, just me fighting the cars back home.”
Hanley also prefers to ride rather than drive around Pittsburgh.
“I love getting out to see the city in a different light,” she said. “I also like how I am minimizing my carbon footprint and saving on parking and gas at school.”
She added she would like to see Pittsburgh further develop its “cycling infrastructure” of bike lanes and bike racks throughout the city.
Tang said more Duquesne students should ride bikes to school.
“I think so many [students] don’t think it’s an option and I don’t know why they think that,” she said.
Tang thinks the university can “encourage” more students to bike by adding bike parking at every building, adding that current bike parking areas are “not convenient.”
Duquesne has made an effort to better accommodate cyclists in recent years.
In the summer of 2015, Duquesne Facilities Management installed a “Fixit” station on the east side of College Hall near Locust Street, which can be used to perform basic repairs, like reinflating flat tires or adjusting brakes and gears, according to Building Services Director Bill Zilcosky.
“It’s important to support cyclists on campus,” Zilcosky said. “I believe their mission of advocating for a positive bike culture on campus has merit, especially when it comes to personal fitness and environmental sustainability.”
The efforts of Duquesne cyclists also had an effect on the environment.
According to the National Bike Challenge website, Duquesne’s roughly 4,700 miles worth of cycling saved around $1,400 in gas money and eliminated an estimated 2,200 pounds of CO2 pollution from the air.