Is there a bike hanging from the ceiling of your garage? Do you think you can ride it two miles? We think you can. And while proper infrastructure in Champaign Urbana is less than ideal, the area is pancake flat and built on a grid, which makes avoiding automobile traffic and hills simple on a bicycle. The grocery store, campus, downtown, work--anywhere you drive in town, you could probably ride.
Commuting by bike is one of the best things you can do for your health, your wallet, and the environment. You'd be surprised how many miles you can rack up 2 miles at a time. You can see just how much you could ride on 1world2wheels, a website Trek has set up as part of their initiative to encourage bicycle use. It will even tell you how much money you save and CO2 you won't produce by getting out of the car.
You don't have to do it all at once though. Pick a place relatively close to home that you drive to regularly and start riding there. We think you'll like it because riding a bike is fun, remember? ("My bike doesn't work well," is not an excuse. A $60 tune up will probably fix it.) Pretty soon you'll find yourself riding farther and faster. Your pants might even get bigger.
What if we gave you $5000 to not drive at all? That's about how much the US Department of Labor estimates the average person spends on their car each year. We have several regular customers who have given up the automobile, and none of them regret it.
Almost any quality bicycle will get you where you want to go, though some are better than others for commuting. The essentials are a helmet, a solid lock, and cargo capacity (and lights if you ride at night). Buy these things if you don't have them, and now you're ready to ride. Your options for other accessories are almost endless, and they can make commuting much more comfortable. But riding is the important part.
If you're thinking about a new bike, the Trek Allant (men's and women's) and Gary fisher Simple City (men's and women's) are a couple great choices for city riding. We can also help you outfit your current bike with fenders, a rack, a mirror, lights, bags, baskets, and anything else you'd like. We all ride bikes to work, so we can give lots of advice on what works and what doesn't.
Here's a few links to websites that may help you commute by bike: