What's your story?

From our Footprints Coach Mike Erickson:

Everyone’s got a story, and the Footprints Program – we talk to people all the time – proves it. At a Footprints party during Bike to Work Week a Southtown Newspaper photographer gave up his story: how did you become a bicyclist I ask? (How did I know he biked? -- I had to ask him.) His answer: "I used to pass out behind the wheel, and the State took away my license. It turned out I liked walking everywhere; you get to see so much that you miss behind the glass. Then I met this girl who bikes everywhere. Now I’m with her. We bike. They finally gave me back my license. Who needs it?"

Want to read a story book? Read “[…] All Cars”, a young adult fiction novel by Blake Nelson. I love that it starts off with a quote, “Every generation needs a new revolution.” – Thomas Jefferson. It’s about an American teenager who rants about what he calls our unthinking auto-culture and the whole consumer economy thing. Very true, very funny, and you can read it in two days, while stuck in traffic (joking – remember, friends don’t let friends drive much).

Everyone’s got a story, but if you don’t ask you’ll never know. You have to ask for the back story. By the way, what’s your story, Morning Glory?

Give us Footprints Coaches your story, or a call if you’re having any trouble getting around town (too much car, not enough active trans) – we specialize in the south suburbs.

Veggie Bike & Dine: Love Fest with Local Restaurants

Veggie Bike & Dine was such a love-fest this weekend! From Howard Area Community Garden to a surprise sommelier experience at Trotter's to Go, it was such a treat to celebrate dining by bicycle with all riders. Active Trans wants to thank our small, hardworking volunteer group: board member and ride founder Chris Brunn, Veggie Bike & Dine Intern Carlin Thomas, Neighbor Space's Andrew Dribbin and Ben Helphand, Ride Marshals Megan Bernard and Katie Call, and photographer Holly Swanson.

Food was provided by Lakeside Cafe, Ras Dashen, Taste of Lebanon, Chicago Diner, Trotters to Go, and Green Grocer Chicago. Thank you to everyone for their support and wonderful vegan food.

If you'd like to create your own Veggie Bike and Dine, see www.activetrans.org/veggierides for instructions and routes of past rides!

New Law Protects Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law Public Act 96-0267. These amendments to the Crime Victims Compensation Act includes in the definition of "crime of violence" leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving death or personal injury if the victim was a pedestrian or was operating a vehicle moved solely by human power or a mobility device at the time of contact. The effect of the amendment is to give pedestrians and bicyclicsts access to the Crime Victims Compensation Fund when they are injured and cannot get relief from the perpetrator of the crime.

CTA will extend 3 rail lines.

CTA gave the go-ahead to extending the Red, Orange and Yellow lines. Hooray!

You and your bike (and your kid?) on TV!

Hello! I am looking for some willing biyclists to donate their smiling faces for about two hours tomorrow morning. WGN's morning show is doing a piece on safe cycling. In particular, it would be great to have some children. But all are welcome! Please contact me for details. margo@activetrans.org



Margo O'Hara

Gotta light?

Dispatch from Mary-Lynn Wilson, who finds bike routes for Chicago Southland folks as a coach with Footprints:

"I was getting really hungry but I thought I’d knock out this really easy route for a young woman I spoke with at the Blue Island TGIF picnic. It was a no-brainer: approximately 4600 west on Midlothian Turnpike to the Crestwood Library. Less than a mile: Turnpike, Cicero, 135th and it’s hamburger time. Except, I wouldn’t want to put an inexperienced rider on this triad of highways.

"OK, side streets . ..maybe I should put the burger on now. Can’t go north, bus company is in the way. A little detour south, cross Cicero at a light and swing back north. I’ve driven this street a million times, I know there’s a light, somewhere. 147th! Not much better than Midlothian Turnpike.

"Decide to start backwards. I find the library at 135th and LaVergne. I’ll have to take her west. Success, Long goes through to MTP: please be a light, please be a light! No light. Even if it had one, a huge house blocks a southern extension. “Excuse me, can I ride through your back yard?” Stomach is starting to grumble and hamburger is moving from rare to well.

"LARAMIE! Put my little Google man at the corner of Laramie and MTP. No light. Even if I could get her across she’d have to ride through the Midlothian Country Club parking lot. Not a safe idea. She could go north on Billy Casper Lane, on to 143rd, then south. Four more blocks south to 147th and there’s the light on Cicero! A (very) quick ride on 147th to Kilpatrick back up to Midlothian Turnpike and she’s home! Three and a quarter miles and some harrowing street crossings. Hamburger’s a hockey puck. Pizza sounds good."

Invent the Future with CMAP

From our friends at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning:

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is the regional planning agency for northeastern Illinois. CMAP represents 284 municipalities and seven counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. CMAP is in the process of developing the region’s first truly comprehensive plan – GO TO 2040. In addition to land use and transportation, GO TO 2040 also addresses the full range of quality-of-life issues, including the natural environment, economic development, housing, and human services such as education, health care and other social services. This summer we are asking you to help us develop a future scenario that will guide development in our region looking out to the year 2040. To accomplish this, CMAP is holding 50 workshops this summer to hear from residents about their priorities and goals for the future.

On Wednesday, July 29th we held an Invent the Future workshop at the Active Transportation Alliance’s office in downtown Chicago.

Downers Grove National Criterium Championships, August 15-16, 2009

Where, oh where, has the summer gone?

Wouldn't you know it, as soon as the hot weather gets here, that perenial harbinger of the end of the summer cycling season, The National Criterium Championships in Downers Grove, IL are suddenly here.

The racing begins Saturday, August 15 at 2pm with the Women's Category 3/4 event and continues through the evening with the Pro-Am Cat 1/2 Men's race at 7:10.  Sunday, August 16 features a full bill beginning with two Men's Cat 5 heats at 8am, with the main event of the weekend, the USA Cycling National Criterium Championship going off with the whistle at 3pm.

Although only United States racers are eligible for the coveted Stars and Stripes jersey, expect talent from all over the world to be present and accounted for to stake a claim on the more than $21,000 on the line for this single race.  In fact, this two day event features some of the largest purses for amatuer racing anywhere in the in country.  The fields are enormous and extremely competitive in all categories and the large crowds of specators expect and get a show in every event.

This is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity to race and watch in this kind of atmosphere and should not be missed.  Online registration is still open.  Unfortunately, the Chicago Cycling Club no longer seems to be offering to lead the ride out to the races, as they have in the past.  I will post a map-my-ride route soon on this blog for a safe way out to catch all the action from the comfort of your bike.

Lakefront Trail activities report Aug 7-9

Activities that may affect your use of the Lakefront Trail August 7-9

Friday, August 7

Lollapalooza, Grant Park, 11am-10pm

Saturday, August 8

Lollapalooza, Grant Park, 11am-10pm

19th Annual Chicago Pro Am, North Avenue Beach, 7am-7pm

Sunday, August 9

Lollapalooza, Grant Park, 11am-10pm

Breast Cancer 3-Day, Lincoln and Grant Parks, 5am-9am

Walking to school just got a boost!

Walking and biking to school in northeast Illinois is about to get easier. Yesterday the Illinois Department of Transportation announced $13 million in Safe Routes to School grants around the state, with roughly $5.9 million going to the Chicago metro region.

From our Program Director Melody Geraci

Walking and biking to school in northeast Illinois is about to get easier. Yesterday the Illinois Department of Transportation announced $13 million in Safe Routes to School grants around the state, with roughly $5.9 million going to the Chicago metro region. The funds will be used in schools and communities both small and large to enable and encourage kids to walk and bike to school. You can check the entire list of funded projects on IDOT's webiste: www.dot.il.gov/saferoutes

A sampling of funded projects in the region includes:

  • new sidewalks around schools in Woodstock
  • teaching bike and ped safety to kids in South Chicago Heights
  • installing pedestrian refuge islands around Itasca schools
  • starting a walking school bus program in Elgin schools
  • TONS of amazing stuff in the City of Chicago!

What I love about Safe Routes is that the program really understands that changing a transportation culture requires strategies from many sectors. We can't just build a sidewalk and expect kids to magically start walking to school - they need education and encouragement. Likewise, many kids can't choose to walk or bike, even if they want to, because there isn't a safe place to do so. It's the whole enchilada, baby.

I'm also incredibly impressed with towns and schools around the region for stepping up and trying to make their communities more livable. Both City and suburbs are advancing the cause of safe, sustainble transportation to secure a healthier, greener future for kids.

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