In 2014 Chicago was declared the second best city for biking, and in 2018 it dropped to number 6. Big changes in 4 years, so imagine what changes occurred in Chicago cycling from the turn of the last century to today! According to Chris McAuliffe, author of Cycling in Chicago, who spoke at the Nov. 13 meeting at Earth Rider, Chicago was a cycling powerhouse at the end of the 19th century.
First there was the manufacturing. More than two-thirds of all bikes manufactured in the United States were made in Chicago. It's prominence was due to its Midwest location, railroads, 2,000 miles of paved roads, a industrial and manufacturing base including over 90 bicycle manufacturers, and the entrepreneurial spirit rising from the rebuilding of the city following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
With the days getting shorter there is less time for cycling outside when it is not dark. But the definition of “darkness” includes more than the nighttime hours—-it is when visibility is limited. That means if there is fog, overcast skies, or heavy rain it is considered darkness under the law. So even if your commute is only between sunrise and sunset, you should seriously have a lighting system on your bicycle.
Being outdoors in the cool, crisp autumn weather can be a joy and helps with the transition to the inevitable arctic conditions yet to come. True, yesterday I saw some cyclists still biking in shorts and flip flops, but these are the supernatural people of Halloween, not mortals like the rest of us. Here are some tips for safe and comfortable cycling in the fall:
The rear position on a tandem might just be the best place to be on a bike! According to Sam Waterstreet and Mary Devoto, speakers at the October 15 Evanston Bicycle Club meeting, the stoker, or person in the rear position, does not have to steer, brake, shift, and cannot be blamed for making a mistake! They can luxuriously just sit, pedal, and enjoy the scenery!
When the Evanston Bicycle Club donates a portion of the proceeds from the North Shore Century to non-profit bicycle related organizations in the Chicagoland area a few are invited to report at a member meeting how they used the funds. At the Sept. 17, 2019 meeting there were feel good stories of empowerment and community inspired by the bicycle from Working Bikes, Friends of Big Marsh, and West Town Bikes.
At Earth Rider we are big fans of the Tour de France (TDF), the world’s greatest biking event. But there is an annual ride in Iowa that shares some similarities. According to Greg Borzo, speaker at the Sept. 11, 2019 Chicago Cycling Club meeting, both were:
For the past two years you might be able to feel better that something might be done about all those cars and trucks blocking bike lanes, that there is a chance for traffic justice—reporting them to the Bike Lane Uprising platform and knowing that each incident is recorded and analyzed. Christina Whitehouse, founder of Bike Lane Uprising, spoke at the August 20, 2019 meeting of the Evanston Bicycle Club and talked about why the platform was created and how the data are being used.
Streetsblog Chicago is the daily news source and advocacy organization for sustainable transportation that addresses transit, walking, cycling, commuter railroad, ride share, and scooters. John Greenfield co-founded it in 2013 and it has expanded with additional staff and free lancers. John was the featured speaker at the August 14, 2019 Chicago Cycling Club meeting and provided an update on the following transportation issues related to cycling.
Sharon Kaminecki comments on adventures in bicycling and other stories