Commuter Challenge team leaders raise the bar

Bike to Work Week is on! Team leaders from across the region have been working hard to get their coworkers in the saddle. Check out some great work done by team leaders:

Elizabeth Adamczyk and Sarah McVicar at Northwestern University Library have been super busy! Check out this website that Sarah put together. Additionally, they are organizing a Bike Mentor program that matches experienced commuters with new, first time commuters.

Ken Dorado at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois put together this blog with great information on nearby bike parking, bike rentals, bike events and showers. There is even a poll to gather information from company cyclists to help determine what cyclists want from the group.

Jennifer Brand and Beth Azuma at the Adler Planetarium help maintain the Bike to Work Boardcf where everyone can get their hands on maps and other great information about biking to work.

Adler Bike Board

Johanna Thompson has been leading the way as the Field Museum seeks to defend their title from 2008. What makes a champion? Raffling a new ipod for people who participate in the commuter challenge. Co-hosting a commuter station during Bike to Work Week. Putting Bike to Work Week on the front page of their employee newsletter. Oh and raffling off a re-furbished bike to those who participate in their bike to work week events (like lunch-time rides), use their company’s shared bikes, or become members of the Active Transportation Alliance. On top of that, they hosted an in office Bike Repair Day to make sure everyone's bikes were 'ride-ready.'

Bike Repair Day

These team leaders and others have raised the bar.

Are you a team leader? Now is the time to submit your team's results. Make sure to log every participating member of the team to enter them in a raffle for great prizes from Planet Bike! Category winners will recieve prizes at the team leader awards luncheon.

Today is Dump the Pump Day!

Local transit agencies are celebrating the fourth annual National Dump the Pump Day in response to increasing gas prices.

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace join public transportation systems nationwide to participate in the Fourth Annual National Dump the Pump Day on June 18.  Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the 2009 National Dump the Pump Day offers commuters an alternative to driving, by encouraging them to ride public transportation for the day, saving money, protecting the environment, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and improving our quality of life.

“With the economic downturn affecting everyone, now is the time to save money and ride public transportation,” said Steve Schlickman, RTA Executive Director.  “The National Dump the Pump Day on June 18 is an opportunity for people across the country to ease the strain on their wallets and provide a more secure future for America.”

Individuals can save an average of more than $8,000 annually by taking public transportation instead of driving.  For every $1 invested in public transportation infrastructure, $6 is generated in economic returns to communities, according to APTA.

Public transportation saves 900,000 automobile fill-ups each day – 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year and switching to public transportation can reduce individual carbon emissions by 20 pounds per day or 4,800 pounds per year, according to APTA.

“Taking advantage of the transit benefit allowance may help riders stretch their transit dollars even further,” said T.J. Ross, Pace’s Executive Director. “We encourage our daily riders and new riders, to take advantage of this important transit benefit to keep more money in their pockets.”

Footprints lead to Flossmoor Brewery after work


 Biking to work has it's own rewards. Today, one of the awards is beer.

Footprints invites you to the Bike After Work Happy Hour at Flossmoor Station Brewery today, 5-7:30 PM. The station, at 1025 Sterling Ave. in Flossmoor [get map], is also the Metra station, and has plenty of bike & car parking. If you come by horse or hang glider, you're on your own.

On hand - Southland bike and racing clubs. Lots of good looking and friendly Southland bike riders [the best kind of bike riders]. Happy hour food. A quarter barrel of Zephyr Golden Ale [courtesy of Flossmoor Station]. And the famous Footprints coaches, ready to help you put more biking and walking into your daily life. 

We'll give stuff away, put on fix-a-flat and commuting tips demonstrations, and drink beer - Flossmoor Station was judged to be the Best Small Brew Pub Brewer in America at the Great American Beer Festival. The root beer is good too.

To get in: show us your ActiveTrans member card, wear a bike ride or club jersey or T-shirt, or show us your helmet, a bike lock/key, or that you love biking, or want to love biking but came to find out more.

Find your own way, or join the Footprints coaches at the Homewood or Olympia Fields Metra stations at 5:45 PM, and they'll lead you in. [If it's storming, safety before fun - they'll likely drive or train to the station.]

Look for me there. I'll be the one drinking beer.


Rocking the Homewood Bike to Work Week Coffee Station

Mayor Rich Hofeld and Trustee Anne Colton helped the Active Transportation Alliance, Homewood-Flossmoor Park District and Caribou Coffee celebrate walkers, bikers, and one skater this morning at the Homewood Metra station. We served 70 cups of coffee, shook a ton of hands, and took lots of pictures. Enjoy!

 See the pics!

Soldier Field Cyclng Series debuts tonight -June 17th

The Active Transportation Alliance and the City of Chicago welcome a new addition to the 2009 Bike to Work Week Festivities - the kick-off of the inaugural Soldier Field Cycling Series.

The races will be held in the South Lot of Soldier Field every other Wednesday night, through August 26.  Racing begins at 5:30 pm, click here for full details and schedule.

The races are sanctioned by USA Cycling and do require at least  a one-day license, available for purchase at on-site registration.

Never raced before?  That's okay!  Some reminders and suggestion for beginners:

  • Helmets are required, in addition to the license
  • So is a road bike - with drop bars and multiple gears - fixed gears and mountain bikes are not allowed in the road discipline
  • The bike should be in good working condition, able to shift and stop
  • Some sort of clip-in pedal and bike-specific shoe is recommended
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your race to sign in, get your number and pin it on, and preview the course
  • And most important of all - HAVE FUN!

Active Trans/Racing is very excited about this new racing series so close to home, and we look forward to seeing full fields and a successful inaugural for the Soldier Field Cycling Series.



Road rage study states what we already know: People are too distracted

There is an interesting study released by a research firm on road rage.  I found the details more interesting than the headlines. Some of the headlines include the best and worst cities for road rage.  But the other findings go into the issues of what is going on with drivers. 

View the study here.

Supreme Court sides with sidewalk activist

Supreme Court sides with sidewalk activist, Disabled man wins push to clear way
By Margot Sanger-Katz Monitor staff
June 13, 2009

Bill Tinker likes to ride his scooter around downtown Tilton. The Northfield man has respiratory, circulatory and orthopedic problems that make walking or driving difficult. But he still likes to get out to the post office, the grocery store and other local shops.

Now, he will be able to ride downtown all year long. This week, the New Hampshire Supreme Court settled a longstanding dispute between Tinker and Tilton about whether the town is required to clear snow from its sidewalks to allow him and others with disabilities access. In short, the court said it is.


Sherman Park Criterium - Kick off Bike to Work Week with speed!

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 13) is the 10th Annual Sherman Park Criterium on Chicago's Southside, brought to you by Alderman Joann Thompson and XXX Racing - AthletiCo in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, located at 52nd Street and Racine.

Sherman Park was designed by the Olmsted Brothers of Central Park fame and is an ideal place to compete in and watch a bike race.   The oval loop and open sprawling lawns offers unobstructed sight lines, and the course itself is wide and flat with gentle curving turns, making it the perfect course for a beginner to try their first bike race.

Click here to download a flyer of the day's events.

Online registration is now closed, but there is day-of-race registration available, as well as the opportunity for beginners to race.  Please click here if you are a beginner to road racing and would like to learn more before registering. 

Spectators are welcomed free of charge, and picnic lunches are encouraged.  There will also be food available for purchase from Goose Island Brewery.

A video production of the 2008 Sherman Park Criterium:

Updates for North Suburbs

Bike to Work Week Comes to Northbrook

Thanks to the bicycle community within Northbrook, Bike to Work Week will include a commuter station at the Metra in Northbrook located at 1401 Shermer Road on Monday, June 15 from 6am-9am. The station will be sponsored by the George Garner Cyclery and the Northbrook Bicycle Task Force. Stop by for free bike safety check-ups and goody bags!
Highland Park Open House

The City of Highland Park is holding an Open House for the Central District (Downtown) Plan on Wednesday, June 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan. They are eager to hear from residents and users of the downtown area and in particular people that bicycle and walk. The City is seeking input from residents to promote commerce and advance a sustainable downtown. I encourage you to attend this meeting as we seek to advance a Complete Streets policy throughout the Chicagoland area. Your voices at this meeting would advance these goals.

Here comes Bike to Work Week!

Commuter Stations energize your morning ride!

Bike to Work Week is next week and we have a solid lineup of activities scheduled throughout the region to keep you rolling.

When you’re biking to work next week, be on the lookout for commuter stations along your route. Active Trans will be there with a hot cup of coffee, air for your tires, some snacks, and a goody bag loaded with great swag. Love what we’re doing? Sign up for a membership on the spot and we’ll throw in a free t-shirt. Check out the full list of city stations.

Taking the train into work? Bike to Metra! Active Trans will be at select Metra stations all week long. Pedal in, get a goody bag and come to the Bike to Work Day Rally on Friday June 19 to get a free bike bell. Check out the full list of Bike to Metra stations.

Tired after a long day at the office? Stop by one of our Bike Away from Work parties. On Monday June 15, head to Goose Island in Wrigleyville from 5-8 P.M. Everyone who parks at their bike valet gets a free drink. On Thursday June 18 pedal over to the Flossmoor Station Brewery from 5-7 PM. The first keg is on them (craft-brewed root beer on tap as well!). Meet up with the Footprints coaches for a group ride from the Homewood and Olympia Fields Metra stations.

Not enough? Head to ING Direct Café any day next week for a free cup of coffee to those who use their bike valet.

Friday, be sure to head to the Bike to Work Day Rally at Daley Plaza from 7:30 AM – 7:00 PM. Active Trans will be raffling off prizes left and right. Become a member of Active Trans and show your support for better biking, walking and transit. Stick around for Goose Island’s 312 beer garden, live music, free t-shirts, bike valet, food and celebrate the end of a great bike to work week!

See you out there!

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