The Scenic Route

By Jennifer Sanchez

The Scenic Route

By Jennifer Sanchez
With a used bicycle from Craigslist and support from UM’s UBike program, one UM employee got a new lease on life.

When Lisa Riley moved to Miami from Chicago, she was determined to take public transportation from her Cutler Bay home to her job as an administrative assistant in the School of Nursing and Health Studies, and over three years, she mastered the ins and outs of bus and rail travel.

Then, during an early morning bus ride to the Coral Gables campus, she spotted a cyclist using the bus corridor as a commuting route, and it changed her life. “I thought about it for a minute and said to myself, ‘I can do that.’” The next day she bought a used bike on Craigslist, and immediately planned her bike route.

Six years later, as Riley and commuters around the country celebrate National Bike to Work Week, May 14-18, she is grateful for every minute she spends on her bike. “I’m to the point where I cannot not do it, it’s part of my day and I’m not sure how I could get through 12 hours without it,” she said.

Riley, who often shares her positive commuting experience, has inspired some of her colleagues to join her morning and evening rides. “I tell others that if you set your mind to it, then you can do it. You don’t have to do the whole 13 miles; you can take the bus and start small, but you have to start somewhere.”

For Riley, and many other UM employees, the University’s UBike program eliminates all excuses by eliminating the obstacles cyclists face. For example, the program enables cyclists to shower and change at the Wellness Center, provides bike repair stations across campus, and offers alternate transportation options during bad weather.

“I’m able to shower when I get to campus, repair my bike if needed, and use public transportation in case of inclement weather. There’s no excuse not to ride and enjoy a view of the city that most people are too busy to see when they are driving to and from work,” she said.

Looking back, Riley never anticipated that her preference for public transportation would result in a habit that has improved her mental and physical health. But she knows that she couldn’t have done it alone. “I’m thankful that my supervisor is supportive of my decision to bike to work and that UM provides everything I need in order to transition from cycling to the office.”

Offered by the Department of Parking and Facilities, The UBike program aims to continuously improve biking environments at UM and is open to current students, faculty, and staff.