Sunday, July 20, 2014

Beverly criterium races on 7/24

Beverly's annual evening of criterium bike racing is happening on Thursday 7/24. It's part of the Prairie State Cycling series of criterium and road races. For the 2nd year, it will feature both a women's race and a men's race. The women's race starts at 4:40 p.m. and the men's race starts at 6:30.

The festival area at the start/finish (107th & Longwood) will feature live music and food & drink by local folks, including a special craft beer - a collaboration between Horse Thief Hollow and Argus Brewery.

Bring your lawn chairs or beach towels and come on down! Each race is for category 1 & 2 racers, the highest levels of skill and speed. This will be an action packed evening. Come out and cheer the racers on!

If you're coming via transit, the festival and start/finish area is only 1 block from the 107th St. Metra station on the Rock Island line. Via CTA, take the red line to 95th St., then the Vincennes/ 111th St. bus (#112).  It's a 1/2 mile walk from 111th & Longwood, with beautiful scenery.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

CCC social night on 4/8

Join us for a social night at the Paramount Room on Tuesday 4/8.  See old friends, meet new ones, and support a bike friendly business.  Click here for more info and to RSVP.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Women Bike Chicago event on 4/12

Do you have conversations with female family members, friends, neighbors or co-workers along the lines of "how do you bike commute" or "how do you ride all that distance in traffic? It's scary"?  If a woman you know is interested in riding but hesitant, the Women Bike Chicago Day of Dialogue and Demos on 4/12 may be just the event for them.

It's social and educational - an opportunity for women to learn more about how to shop for the bike best suited to how they want to ride, how to get started in bike commuting or riding with kids, check out different types of bikes, meet other women to ride with, and more.

If you'd like to attend or volunteer, please click here to reserve your space.  Admission is free, but if you can make a donation to help support the cost of having the event, any donation is appreciated.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Taking bike advocacy to the next level

I recently took a train trip I’d never imagined: riding the Washington DC Metro to reach Capitol Hill for a day of lobbying.   As part of the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit, I joined a delegation of Illinois cyclists who met with several Senators and Representatives to discuss 3 bills currently in Congress:  the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Act, the Safe Streets Act and the New Opportunities (Equity) Act.  We asked each senator or representative who wasn’t already part of the Congressional Bike Caucus to join, and discussed other issues that might be of interest to them.
One of my meetings was with my Representative, Daniel Lipinski, whose district includes part of the southwest side and many southwest suburbs, including the western end of the Cal Sag Trail route.   He is a fellow cyclist who has historically been an ally on bike and pedestrian funding.  I noticed his road bike, pump and related items in his office during our meeting. 
My other meeting was with Representative Robin Kelly.  Her district includes much of the southeast side and many south suburbs, as well as the eastern end of the Cal Sag Trail route.  
Prior to Lobbying Day, attendees interested in lobbying were organized by state, with a designated coordinator for each state’s meeting.  We exchanged emails prior to the Bike Summit and met at the end of the Bike Summit programming to confirm who would attend meetings with each representative and senator.  We reviewed the details of each bill that we would be discussing in our meetings and who would cover various talking points in each meeting.

Illinois delegation at #nbs14

The Bike and Pedestrian Safety Act is a revision to the highway safety improvement program.  It would require the creation of separate goals and statistics for states for non-motorized and motorized fatalities and serious injuries.  In recent years, the rate of fatalities for motor vehicle drivers and passengers has decreased, while the rate of non-motorized (bike and pedestrian) fatalities and serious injuries has stayed steady or increased.  It’s important to create separate targets for bike and pedestrian traffic so that all states take the problem seriously and actively work to reduce these crashes.
The Safe Streets Act would require all states to have a law or DOT policy within 2 years mandating that federally funded transportation projects on roads that allow all types of users to follow Complete Streets policies.  It would also require a mechanism for assuring compliance.  If roads are built to safely accommodate all types of users when they are first constructed or reconfigured, they don’t need to be rebuilt later to meet Complete Streets standards.  Including appropriate features during construction usually adds little or no expense to the construction.  Modifying existing infrastructure at a later date is significantly more expensive.   This bill would help improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians and get the most bang for the buck out of available funding.

The New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act would create a new source of funding (long-term low interest loans) for biking and walking networks.  25% of the funding must be spent in low income communities.  It is a set aside from the $1 billion dollar TIFIA loan program funded in the MAP-21 transportation bill (which eliminated dedicated funding for bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects).
You can use links attached to each of the bill numbers if you’d like to learn more and track the progress of these bills in Congress: Safe Streets Act (HR 2468/S 2004), Bike and Pedestrian Safety Act (HR 3494/S 1708) and New Opportunities (Equity) Act (HR 3978/ Senate bill to be introduced).
The Summit is an annual advocacy event featuring panel discussions, presentations, and keynote speakers on a wide range of topics and included a Women’s Bicycling Forum.  Terry O’Neill of the National Organization for Women was featured as a keynote speaker.  She led a discussion on building coalitions to get diverse groups working together.  A lunchtime keynote included Gabe Klein, former commissioner of the Chicago Dept. of Transportation, and Anthony Foxx, our new U.S. Secretary of Transportation.  
Each breakout session offered several choices, such as Overcoming the Scofflaw Perception, Bike Advocacy as a Political Platform, Quantifying Bike Benefits, Building a Broad Transportation Coalition, Moving Beyond the Bikelash, the Role of Enforcement in a Vision Zero Strategy and Expanding Bicycling Options.  I found myself wishing I had a clone or two, as there were usually 2 or 3 programs in each time slot that I would have liked to attend.  A different mix of pop-up shops appeared each day in the hallway connecting event locations.
Clarence Eckerson, the founder of Streetfilms, led a session on the basics of documentary film making.  I hope to put that knowledge to good use.  I gained a lot of helpful information from the event and made several valuable connections that I hope will be beneficial for future advocacy work.
If you’d to reinforce our efforts, please send your own message to your members of Congress.  Use this link to ask your Senators and Representative to support the Bike and Pedestrian Safety Act.  Feel free to use the following links to send messages requesting their support for the Safe Streets Act and the New Opportunities (Equity) Act.  If they hear from you on these issues, your voice can help make a difference.
I highly recommend the National Bike Summit to those who have a serious interest in advocacy work.  It’s a great opportunity to take your work to the next level.
-       Anne Alt is president of Chicago Cycling Club, paralegal at Freeman Kevenides Law Firm, board member of the Active Transportation Alliance, secretary of Friends of the Major Taylor Trail and a member of Women Bike Chicago.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chicago Cycling Club November meeting

Our next meeting on Tuesday 11/12 will feature a presentation and Q&A by John Greenfield and Steven Vance about their experiences in covering bicycling and sustainable transportation issues. They currently write for Streetsblog Chicago and other publications. 

It's happening at REI's upstairs community room, 1466 N. Halsted.  There will be social time from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.  The meeting and presentation will start at 7:00.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Divvy first impressions

Club member Julie Sherman shares her impressions after trying Divvy for the first time.

I finally tried the new Chicago Bike Share Divvy program yesterday to mixed thoughts. While I am very excited this program exists and think it is brilliant, I have not used it to date because the 99% of the time I need a bike, I am already on one of my own.

For those who have been living on planet Xeron and do not know about Divvy, it is a bike rental program open to anyone. If you are a member ($75.00 annual fee - not transferable to other cities that have a Divvy-type program) or a single day user ($7.00 for a 24 hour pass), the idea is that you rent a bike to use for a singular 30 minute period. You can re-dock the bike at any station within those 30 minutes and then recheck out another bike in less than one minute without incurring additional fees and restarting the clock. If you keep the bike out for more than 30 minutes, you will be charged a per minute overage fee. There is no limit to how many times you can ride, re-dock and check out another bike.

If I was working closer to areas where there were Divvys rather than Evanston, I could see myself using the bike program all the time. Because rain was in the forecast, I decided to Divvy it rather than ride my own bike down to Daley Plaza. After swiping my credit card for the $7.00 one day fee, and following the online instructions and safety notices, I received a one-time use code to release a bike from the station.  The system uses the Divvy symbol >> to progress at the kiosk instead of the word “Next”.

Note that you only have 5 minutes to remove a bike, so don’t dither around.  At the bottom of each kiosk there is a place to receive a copy of this one time code, however because I did run into one machine that was out of paper you should memorize the code.

Select a bike, any bike, and enter the 5 digit code into the bike stand to release the bike. It took me a few tries to get the bike out of the stand, you really have to pull up in the back and angle the front wheel down and out to release. Once you  adjust the seat for your height, the seat tube is clearly numbered to help you set up any future rides, you are ready to roll.

The first thing I noticed was how much more narrow the handlebars were over what I am used to. The bikes are 3-speed with narrow shifting on the right hand side. The shifting was counter to what I am used to with my mountain bike, I kept shifting into gear 1 instead of 3.

I liked that the bikes flash in front and back while in motion, it’s a nice little extra safety measure.

When you dock the bike back at any open spot at any station, do make sure to stay until you get the yellow then green light. It also took me a few tries each time to get the front wheel just “so” into the docking station. If you walk away from an improperly docked bike, you could be in for some shocking overage charges on your credit card.

After my ride in I returned hours later to get another bike. I keyed in that initial code I received when I first signed up in the morning. After repeatedly getting a red light, I called Divvy to find out why my code was not working, I mean it’s an all day code right? Wrong! Using the same credit card as I used initially at the Kiosk I selected Get New Code. D’oh, that was item 4 on the instruction panel that I read in the morning.

A new code is issued without charging your credit card. Use that code to get a new bike. Because at this point I had accumulated a lot of packages, not all of which fit into my backpack (recommended for Divvy riding), I first got them onto the bike using the bungee cord to sort of secure them. My biggest gripe I would have to say, which is not a huge deal, is that there are no baskets or racks on the bike. There is an open space in the front to secure things with a thick bungee cord. I found that my packages slipped a bit as I rode and one package was a tad too wide, so it went on the handle bars where it hit my knee a few times while riding.

Thoughts? Well it’s still a great program. I would recommend using a back pack to carry items, as the front carrier is very limited. There are some free apps (i.e. CycleFinder or Chi Bike) to not only find a Divvy station but to set a timer to help keep you within the 30 minute single use time limit. Stations are popping up all over the place, so there is bound to be one in the city near you in the future.  A one day pass breaks even at about 3 separate CTA trips. Overall, I’m happy it’s here and would love to see more cities implement the program.

    - Julie Sherman

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Traffic Skills 101 class this Saturday 10/12

Club member Elizabeth Adamczyk (a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor) is leading a Traffic Skills 101 class

The class is a great way to learn great bike handling skills and increase your confidence on the bike.
Class info (
The on-bike portion of Traffic Skills 101 - $25.00

Part 1: Classroom Session – MUST BE COMPLETED ONLINE (approximately 2.5 hours).
   • Register at to start the online course. Search for the class that I set up for 10/12.
   • Getting on a Bike and Keeping it Running
   • Traffic Rules and Safety
   • Enjoying the Ride

Part 2: On-Bike Session – 10/12 from 9am to 2pm at the parking lot of St. Stanislaus Church near Pulaski Park
   • Essential Bike Handling Skills
   • Emergency Maneuvers
   • Cycling in Traffic

Pre-registration required; payment accepted via check, cash and PayPal.

To register, contact the instructor Elizabeth Adamczyk -

Each student must provide their own helmet and bike.