College of LAS News
- All 2013 News
- News Archive
- Email Newsletter
- LASNews Magazine
- Class Notes
Marketing and Media
Faculty Honors and RSS Feed
Riding the Green Wave
Electric bicyclists will highlight Lincoln Hall as a model of sustainability.
News travels fast, even among those who prefer travel without the benefit of gasoline. The University of Illinois had only just fenced off Lincoln Hall for renovation when a team of “Green Riders” from California announced plans to stop at the construction site in June during a cross-country electric bicycle trip to highlight acts of environmental sustainability.
Oliver Bock, 55, of Palo Alto, Calif., says he learned of the campus renovation through the Internet as he was planning a roughly 3,000-mile, battery- and leg-powered journey to Washington, D.C. Plans to make Lincoln Hall cleaner and more energy efficient caught Bock’s attention.
“Retrofitting a building to green in my opinion is a much greener way to go than to tear it down and build a new one, because you’ve already got everything there,” Bock says. “[Lincoln Hall] is going to be beautiful, I think.”
The Green Riders—who include Bock, his sister, Catherine, 61, a support driver, and others who will join them for various legs of the journey—plan to arrive in Champaign-Urbana on June 9 on bicycles powered by a combination of foot pedals and electric motors. The schedule calls for them to cover between 50 and 90 miles per day.
During their overnight campus visit, they’ll talk with an architect about the renovation’s environmentally friendly designs, which call for reducing the building’s energy and water consumption along with using local and cleaner, low-emitting building materials.
The Green Riders began their journey from Palo Alto on Earth Day (April 22) and plan to complete the two-month trip to Washington, D.C., with four electric bicycles, a van, and a trailer. Through many stops in towns, wind power complexes, and other spots, they’re hoping to bring attention to environmental sustainability in general as well as garner signatures on their “Declaration of Interdependence.”
While they’re striving to cover the whole distance by electric bicycle, a tight and growing schedule of events and meetings with elected officials, planners, and just everyday folks from coast to coast—during a trip that will undoubtedly be complicated by flats, bad wires, and battery-draining headwinds—might require that some of the distance be covered by van, with the bikes in the trailer.
“We decided when we started that it’s more important that we make our appointments to promote sustainability than it was to cover the whole distance on the rubber of the tires,” Bock says.
They are blogging daily (details and their blog can be found on www.thegreenriders.org) in hopes of shining light on what Bock says is a growing, if little noticed, trend toward sustainable lifestyles.
“It may not be high-tech, it may not be financed by venture capital, but I tell you, I have a brother in Kansas, and people in a lot of the central part of the country are doing sustainability because it makes sense,” Bock says. “Economically, practically, and every other way they can think of.”
By Dave Evensen
More LAS News Articles
- LAS Leaders Bring Energy to the College and Community
- For Many Alumni, it’s as if Mark Leff Never Retired
- Historian Elaborates on the Integration of Baseball Beyond its Hollywood Portrayal
- Alumna Challenges the Overmedication of America
- University of Illinois Plans to Host a Confucius Institute on Campus