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Simon kicks off Bike to Work Week by riding to office 

The Southern Illinoisan
May 15, 2012
By D.W. Norris

CARBONDALE — Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon officially kicked off Bike to Work Week by pedaling to her office Monday at the Illinois Department of Transportation building in Carbondale.

Simon also cut a ribbon and became the first person to use a newly installed bicycle rack at the building on West Murphysboro Road. An avid cyclist, Simon said she still cruises around on the old, blue Peugeot she’s owned since her days as an undergraduate.

Simon said she recently bought from a Carbondale store a used Trek road bike to commute to work when she’s in Springfield.

“Biking to work is a winner for everybody,” Simon said. “It’s healthier for us, you use less gas so it’s cheaper, and it causes a lot less wear and tear on the roads.”

Mayor Joel Fritzler said commuting by bike has plenty of benefits, even if he’s not able to do it as much as he once did.

“I think the city and nation are really focusing on the sustainability issue, especially with fluctuations in the price of gas,” Fritzler said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 community survey, less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans commute to work by bicycle. About 76 percent of the population commutes to work by automobile.

The Carbondale City Council will vote tonight to authorize the city manager to seek grant money for the city’s proposed green-space bicycle and pedestrian pathway. The path will link the SIU campus to the city’s Town Square neighborhood.

Fritzler and Simon will participate in the city’s Bike to Work Day event Friday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Downtown Pavilion at the corner of Main Street and Illinois Avenue.