How can I ride my bike, yet avoid the big hill heading up to UVM?

One option is to put your bike on a CCTA bus (all buses have racks that accommodate two bicycles) and ride the bus up the hill. The College Street Shuttle is a free bus which also has a bike rack. The bike ride back downtown is then just an easy coast down the hill. Another option is to consider bicycling up the hill using one of the streets more to the north of downtown, such as Loomis, which aren’t quite as steep as say, Maple Street. If you choose to ride your bike to the top of the hill in Burlington, note that many institutions have facilities where you can freshen up upon your arrival.