Hello! Allow me to introduce myself as the new Sustainability Research Intern for Facilities Team Green this summer. I’m Adil, a rising Junior majoring in International Relations and Psychology at University of Rochester. I’m excited to be spending the summer learning more about a field I’m passionate about and hopefully supplementing much of what I’ve learned in some of the classes I’ve taken.
All formalities aside, I’d like to follow up on Alyssa’s last article and not only endorse cycling, but go on to claim that Rochester has some of the finest bike trails you’ll ever come across. Okay maybe not the finest, but they are definitely up there. With its numerous designated bike lanes, trails and parks, Rochester offers an environmentally friendly, affordable and healthy way of commuting AND, what better time to do so than during the summer?
If you’ve ever stayed in Rochester during the summer break, you’d know that it gets miserably hot and humid. It’s a change from our usually frigid weather but in my opinion, it’s a bit too much of a change. Staying in your room is a non-starter and even sitting outside in the shade becomes unbearable. You may decide to go to the gym for a dip in the pool but on a hot summer day, good luck with trying to get a few feet of lane for yourself. You could also try the public pool located on Elmwood Avenue, but I’ll leave you to imagine how many people you can expect to find there. A quick dip in the Genesee maybe? Not the wisest of ideas. So your room is too hot, the pools are crowded and the temperature is forecasted to hit a high of 87 degrees by noon. It’s 10am now, what do you do?
Cycle to Lake Ontario!
At ~12 miles away from River Campus, Lake Ontario is just about the perfect distance for a leisurely cycle on a sunny day; which is exactly what two of my friends and I did recently. Having bought a relatively inexpensive bike for the summer, I was eager to put my cycling prowess (or lack thereof) to the test. Now you might be thinking, “what if I don’t own a bike?” No worries! City Cycles offers free 24-hour bike rentals for UR students, so you should be good to go if you book early enough. It gets even better; the Genesee Riverway Trail takes you straight to Lake Ontario so you don’t have to worry too much about getting lost. For those of you who might not know, the Genesee Riverway Trail starts at the Erie Canalway Trail (not too far from Southside Living Area) and ends at the Genesee river mouth right at Ontario Beach Park. So all you have to do is follow the river or the trail and keep cycling north until you find yourself staring at a rather large body of cool, fresh water.
Needless to say, there isn’t a shortage of things to do once you get to the lake. Apart from the traditional beach activities (swimming, sun bathing, beach volleyball etc.), Ontario Beach Park also hosts free weekly concerts. Moreover, if you are still energetic after your bike ride, there is a Seabreeze Amusement Park about 6 miles (39 min ride) west of Ontario Beach. Whatever the case, the list of things to do once you get going is endless. Point is, you won’t be bored and you’ll get a chance to cool down after a long, hot and humid summer afternoon.
So why cycle? After all, you could take a cab, an Uber (jk), a Zipcar or your own car if you have one. However, as Alyssa rightfully stated in her previous article, cycling is very affordable. No gas costs, no parking costs, no hourly fees. Using City Cycles, all you need to pay for is your energy. Secondly, you’re doing the environment a favor. Unlike with cars and most motor vehicles, bicycles have a negligible end-user carbon footprint. Sure, you might need to eat a bit more food before going out on a long bike ride, but in the grand scheme of things, cycling is clean commuting. Finally, you’ll get a chance to see that there is more to Rochester than Wegmans, Kodak Hall and umm…Wegmans. The trail is lined with amazing scenery and picturesque points of interest. Even if you end up not making it to the lake, there is so much to experience and appreciate along the way.
I will say this though, if you decide to embark on this trip, make sure you carry along a bike repair kit with extra tubes or tube patches. You do not want to get a flat, twice, 10 miles away from home. Trust me, I know.
Written by Adil Nyambasha, Class of 2018