As part of Active Trans' Bike Commuter Challenge and celebration of Chicago's Bike to Work Week, June 11-17, guest-blogger and Active Trans supporter Jay Ready will be offering a series of posts on overcoming the ten most common barriers to bike commuting leading us up to the big week.
Jay is executive director of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and races for the South Chicago Wheelmen, one of Chicago's oldest cycling teams. He joined the Active Transportation Alliance (then called the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) one month after moving to Chicagoland in 2004, and has been riding bicycles six days a week year-round ever since.
If you live within 8 miles of the Loop, you should be able to get downtown by biking within 45 minutes—which is the average commute time among people who work in the Loop.
If you live further away like me (30 miles), one solution is to keep a bike locked up at the end of your Metra trip. A bicycle is the ultimate solution to what transit planners call the “last mile” problem.
For that last mile, a bicycle at the end of the train ride is sweet.
A bike can be left outside overnight on weeknights with little worry. For the most part, all you need is a good U-lock with bolt-on wheels and seat post. I have done this regularly for the last four years, replacing a rusted chain once or twice a year.
The bikes you see vandalized and missing wheels or seats are usually cheap bikes that have been abandoned for some time. As long as there are bikes on the streets that are easier or more desirable to steal than yours, you are pretty safe.
Whether you work in the Loop or in Naperville, a cheap bike left at a train station can help solve the last mile problem.