Instructor Perspective: Spotlight on Cycling


April is Earth Month, and we have sustainability on our minds! We asked Olive-Harvey College’s Bicycle Maintenance and Repair Instructor Stephen Kamykowski to share some of his expertise about green transportation, especially now that more than 2,600 City Colleges students have taken advantage of our new partnership with Divvy Bikes, giving them access to Divvy for Everyone at no cost.

As we celebrate Earth Month, why is cycling an important part of the conservation conversation?

In an urban environment like Chicago, cycling offers an easy, healthy, and efficient way to get around. If you are not getting on the highway, I have often found that cycling is faster than driving.

What is Chicago doing well when it comes to making bike riding an accessible mode of transportation and recreation?

Chicago has made and followed through on a big commitment to build an infrastructure for biking. People are using the bike lines and renting bikes throughout the city – to get to work or just for fun. The more people use what’s here, the more it continues to grow.

How did you first become interested in cycling?

As a child, I was a little late to learning how to ride a bike; I think I started when I was around nine or ten years old. I rode mostly BMX into high school, but I was very interested in road cycling at that time, too. In college, I got my first few road bikes. After my college graduation in 2008, I rode from New York City to Seattle, Washington, as a team member on the Illini 4000 for Cancer. I enjoy the autonomy of being able to take myself from here to there quickly, and I’ve always found the exposed nature of the bike itself interesting. You don’t need to pop a hood open to see how things work!

What will cyclists learn in the bike repair class you will be teaching this spring?

Upon completion, students will have a solid understanding of all aspects of a traditional bicycle. If students are interested, they should have more than enough skills to get an entry-level job at a bicycle shop or a commercial shop (Divvy or Bike & Roll).

You can learn more about the Bicycle Maintenance and Repair class here.