Saturday, June 23, 2012

riding the lakefront into Indiana

The secret is getting out that Northwest Indiana provides some excellent cycling opportunities. CCC rides have been branching into Indiana for several years with rides into Hammond, Whiting, Highland, Munster, and East Chicago. Indiana has developed some nice bike trails, traffic is usually light on the streets and trails, and there are few stoplights in many areas.

One problem has been the lack of an easy connection between Chicago and these Indiana roads and trails. On June 16th, the CCC checked out some of the connections and bike paths in Whiting, including a brand new path that flies over busy Indianapolis Boulevard. Ride leader George Vrechek and sweep Howard Lo rode with 12 other riders on this 45 mile round trip from Buckingham Fountain through northwest Indiana to the historic village of Marktown.

Marktown is an industrial village of 100 buildings designed in 1917 by noted Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw with landscape architect Jens Jensen. The entire village is on the National Register, however, it has suffered because of one owner who controls several vacant homes and has refused to improve or safeguard the structures.  Local historic preservationist and lifelong resident Paul Myers has been fighting almost single-handedly to save the town.

Riders in front of Paul Myers' home in Marktown
In addition to Marktown, the ride included the Whiting lakefront parks, Hammond’s casino and marina, the new minor league Whiting Oilers baseball stadium, a ride through what seemed like the middle of the huge BP refinery, a trip right along Wolf Lake, and two obscure connections back to Chicago. The entire trip in Indiana (and most of the trip in Chicago) was devoid of any stoplights, although a train held up the group for a short time.

Howard Lo and Richard Moellering help get Brian Cullnan’s crank back together
with Tony Burdick’s tool kit.
Despite the hot conditions, participants stayed cool and worked well together fixing a flat and sticking a loose crank arm back on. Lunch was dining alfresco at Skyway Dogs, which always provides fast, reliable service. We were back downtown by about 2PM.

Fine dining at Skyway Dogs
For a change of pace, look for CCC rides that venture slightly into Indiana or cover the southeast side of Chicago.

    - George Vrechek

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June Breakfast Club ride

We had 12 riders show up for the June Breakfast Club ride north to Evanston.  We rode the lakeshore path to its end, then went west to the Skokie Channel trail and then to Downtown Evanston dodging some road construction along the way.

We planned to breakfast at the Flat Top Grill but, due to Fathers day and Northwestern graduations, they were not able to accomodate us. Instead, everyone enjoyed Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop, featuring many unusual dishes such as banana bread french toast, poached eggs on top of fried green tomatoes, and grits.  After breakfast we traveled straight back to the Clock Tower, arriving at 11:30 am.

Our next breakfast club ride will be Sunday, July 22 heading southwest to the West Town neighborhood.

    - Sharon Kaminecki

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cycle for Change on 7/21

In conjunction with the Brookfield Zoo, Milwaukee Zoo, American Association of Zoo Keepers and Polar Bears International, the Chicago Cycling Club is helping with the first annual Cycle for Change ride from Brookfield Zoo to the Milwaukee County Zoo on 7/21.
The ride will take us along the shores of Lake Michigan with our first stop at Ft. Sheridan for brunch and then onwards to Kenosha for a rest stop and snack and finally to the Milwaukee County Zoo concluding with a dinner. This is a sag wagon supported ride with snacks, drinks and light mechanical assist.
You’re welcome to ride with us as far as you wish or our join us the entire way to Milwaukee County Zoo.
There is no fee for this ride but registration is required to sign the special waiver and for our logistics. There is a limited number of riders that we can support, so if you’re interested please RSVP quickly (we’re OK if you withdraw later but we want to prepare logistics).
As a special treat, Philip Fensterer, a zookeeper with the Oregon Zoo and Artic Ambassador with Polar Bears International and the staff at the Brookfield Zoo will give a special behind the scene presentation to Chicago Cycling Club members and guests the evening before the ride. Limited to 30 participants (RSVP priority).

For registration and/or pledge instructions, send an email to Philip and Howard.
We hope you can join us (click here to Learn more).
    - Howard Lo

Thursday, June 14, 2012

CTA red line public meetings

I'd imagine that most, if not all, of you have heard about the CTA's plan to shut down the red line south of Cermak for reconstruction for 5 months starting next May.  While this isn't directly bike related, it will affect those of us who use the red line to go from south side locations to the start of many club rides, or anyone who cuts a south side ride short and wants to use the red line to return north.

The CTA will be holding 2 public meetings next week to get input on the plan.  If you have ideas or opinions to share, here's your opportunity to speak up.

The first meeting will be Monday 6/18 from 6-8 p.m. at South Shore Cultural Center, 71st & South Shore Dr.  (Doors open at 5.)

The second meeting will be Thursday 6/21 from 6-8 p.m. at Kennedy-King College, 6343 S. Halsted. (Doors open at 5.)

It's not a bad idea to review the CTA's web page on the project for additional info.  Note that the location for the 6/21 meeting given on the CTA page (6800 S. Wentworth shown as of today) is NOT correct.  Somebody at CTA gets an F for using outdated information.

If you're not able to attend but would like to offer comments, there an email address given on the right side of the info page.

It seems likely that this huge summer-long construction project will increase the number of cyclists on south side streets.  Perhaps it will help promote the idea of transportation cycling in some south side neighborhoods that don't currently see many regular riders.

   - Anne Alt

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cargo Bike roll call

Last Saturday, West Town Bikes/Ciclo Urbano hosted a special social event: the 2nd Cargo Bike Roll Call.  It was a very social evening, with many families in attendance.

I'll let the pictures tell most of the story.

Anne Alt, Jennifer James, Elizabeth Bartom
Cargo bike line-up
Sound bike
Kids' table
Alex WIlson and Doug Hinckley
Taking in the scene
This kayak-hauling rig was quite an assembly.
Two Bikes at Work trailers are hitched to provide support,
with large tote boxes for additional items.
Kids going for a ride
If I was a little kid, I think I'd be jealous of this creative child seat.
Note the pink bike attached at left, brought along to allow the child to ride as long as she's able,
then loaded up when she's too tired to ride on her own.
Alex's yellow bike and others
Thanks to Steve Vance, Alex Wilson and everyone else
who helped make this special evening possible.

My own little grocery-hauling trailer.
Seeing such a wide range of kid and cargo hauling rigs in one place was really inspirational and suggested that cargo bike solutions may be limited only by one's imagination, ability to build it (or find someone who can), and ability to pedal the rig. 

    - Anne Alt

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Urban Farms tour

Thirty-seven riders responded to my invitation to tour urban farms in Chicago.  We started at Ken Dunn's City Farm at Clybourn and Division.  

We had a lovely tour of the farm and a surprise bonus of seeing a literal Truck Farm parked just west of City Farm.  It's a pickup truck filled with vegetables growing in soil.  The two owners of the Truck Farm, who bring it to schools as an educational project, rode their bicycles with us and explained their project.  

Truck Farm
We traversed the two new Halsted Street bridges, part of the Kinzie St. protected bike lane and made our second stop at the Hull House Kitchen Farm.  Farmer Ryan Beck gave us a tour of his farm and hoop house on the U of Illinois/Chicago property.  He mentioned that some of the vegetables grown there go into Re-thinking soup every Tuesday at the Hull House Kitchen.  

Hull House Kitchen Farm

Our route passed Rapid Transit Cycle Shop on Halsted and then a torn up Blue Island Ave. all the way to Western Ave., where we got a lovely tour of Chicago Botanic Garden's Windy City Harvest at Arturo Velasquez Institute from Marissa, an intern. 

Windy City Harvest

Our last stop was the open house at John Edel's The Plant, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting sustainable food production, entrepreneurship and building reuse through education, research and development.  The open house meant we had a tour from roof to basement, as well as food, beer and kombucha and a shady place to enjoy them.  

The Plant

A few of us added an extra stop at the Edible Treasures garden exhibit outside the Field Museum and passed by the Streets for Cycling Plan public meeting at 77 S. Dearborn just as it was ending at 4 p.m.

The temperature reached 97 that day, but we kept moving and enjoyed the tours.  It was also great weather for the ride of the evening: the World Naked Bike Ride.

Eric Vann, one of the riders on the tour, posted his own write-up on the ride, including photos and video.

I've been asked to repeat this tour, and will do so next year when The Plant schedules an open house.

   - Kathy Schubert

Monday, June 11, 2012

CCC members - want to see your story here?

If you have an article, story or photo feature you'd like to submit, we'd be happy to get it.  Any current CCC member is welcome to submit for publication.  Whether it's a story on a club ride or other ride you've led or attended, a cycling experience while on vacation, your bike commute, riding with your child or pet, trying a cargo trailer, or anything else bike related that you think would be of interest to other members, please share it.

What's the deadline? There is none. Unlike a print newsletter, the blog format gives us absolute flexibility on when items are published.  You can even specify a time frame when you'd like your item to run if it's relevant to an upcoming event.

Photos should be in JPG format (preferably 72 dpi).  If your photo(s) are already posted on Flickr or other online photo sharing site, you can just include a link to each photo.

Please submit articles and photos at ccc312 dot news at gmail dot com.  It would be great to see your news here.

   - Anne Alt

Sunday, June 10, 2012

CCC meeting on 6/12

Our next meeting is a social night.  This month's gathering is at Lee Wing Wah in Chinatown.  Their food isn't fancy.  They make delicious use of fresh ingredients - a healthier take than your average Chinatown restaurant.  It's BYO with a minimal corkage fee, so you're welcome to bring your own wine or beer if you wish.

Whether you're a member or just thinking about it, you're welcome to come.  Please respond on the Chainlink event listing to let us know if you're coming.  We need to know so there's enough room for our group.

Look for us on Tuesday 7/10 from 7:00 - 8:45 p.m. at Lee Wing Wah. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Streets for Cycling open house this Saturday

The final Streets for Cycling public  meeting is this Saturday in the Loop - to be held in an open house format.

Saturday 6/9 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
77 S. Dearborn – Building Lobby  
Open House 

If you can't get there, try one of the 2 webinars scheduled for next week.

Webinar #1 Monday 6/11  Noon – 1 p.m. 

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Webinar #2 Wednesday 6/13  6 – 7 p.m. 

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Streets for Cycling public meeting tomorrow

The next Streets for Cycling public meeting is happening tomorrow on the west side.

Wednesday 6/6, 4 – 8 p.m.
Douglas Park Cultural and Community Center - Ballroom 1401 S. Sacramento Dr. 
Presentation with Q&A at 4:30 & 6:30p.m. 

There's one more meeting and 2 webinars coming soon.

Saturday 6/9 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
77 S. Dearborn – Building Lobby  
Open House 

Webinar #1 Monday 6/11  Noon – 1 p.m. 

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Webinar #2 Wednesday 6/13  6 – 7 p.m. 

Reserve your Webinar seat now at: