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.