Lakefront Trail Activities July 25 and 26

Activities that may affect your use of the Lakefront Trail July 25 and 26.

Saturday, July 25

Corona Wide Open - Lincoln Park, North Avenue Beach - 6am-8pm

Chicago Beach Soccer Tournament - Lincoln Park, Montrose Beach - 7am-7pm

Sunday, July 26

Chicago Criterium - Grant Park - 7am-4pm


Rascals, global warming take one on the nose

 'Bolts won! Stretched a 4th inning run into a 3-2 victory over those rotten Rascals, who are also rascally. 13 bike bells ringing clearly rattled the Rascals's batters.

Footprints was a hit at the game too - coaches collected travel surveys and doled out local trail and bike club info. A perfect game for Footprints [with a nod here to Mark Buehrle].

Small events are wonderful ways to open a world of enjoyable bike riding for folks, right where they live, and break down the idea that bikes are only for biking. They're great tools for living, too. And living well.

Pictures are up here.

Have a small biking or walking event idea? Or a place you know would be fabulous to bike to? Let a Footprints coach know by filling out the survey

Ask Footprints: Biking to the Ball Park

Hey Footprints: how might one ride from, say, Food4Less in Oak Forest to the 'Bolts stadium in Crestwood? Like tonight, for instance?

Glad you asked:

Footprints coaches are expert route finders, adding experience to whatever whiz-bang algorithms on-line stuff uses [and confuses!]. And boy, does experience make a difference. Get your own Southland routes: ask for one at

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Bike racing downtown - Chicago Criterium rolls this Sunday

Ranked last year by USA Cycling as the number one race in the nation, the Chicago Criterium returns to Grant Park this Sunday, July 26.

Designed by Active Trans' and XXX Racing - AthletiCo's own Randy Warren, the course is not very technical - just four left turns and a quick chicane - but is placed in probably the most ideal location imaginable for both fans and riders alike. 


Photo by Luke Seemann of Chicago Bike Racing

From the start finish line by Buckingham Fountain on Columbus Drive, they head west on Monroe to deal with the first of two "kickers" (small hills) on the bridge over the Metra tracks.   The racers then hit Michigan Ave, where they briefly round the exit and entrance ramps to Congress, before dashing back out onto the famed boulevard, then turn left on Balbo back over the Metra tracks, and finally say a quick prayer before taking Turn 4 at full downhill speed and sprinting all out for the line and a huge payout.

There will be numerous accoutrements for fans along the course - including VIP tents and food and beverage venders - and the course location offers virually unlimited prime viewing areas.

There are still opportunities to register online for Sunday's race until 4pm today.  Day-of race registration is available as well.

Distracted driving not getting any safer

The NY Times wrote a pretty powerful story on the dangers of distracted driving. Complete with a video and interactive game, the story makes two points:

  • driving while texting, cell phoning, web surfing and any other distraction is extremely dangerous
  • most people underestimate how distracted they are when using those devices

The story offers plenty of stats: distracted (i.e. texting, talking on cell phones..even hands-free) is as dangerous as driving with a blood alochol level of .08. Cellphone distractions caused 2,600 traffic deaths every year, and 330,000 accidents that result in moderate or severe injuries, according to a Harvard study.

When I tried playing the texting-while-driving interactive game, not only could I not stay on the road, but I couldn't recall a simple thing a co-worker said to me while I was busy "texting" and "driving."

The paper ran another story that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration withheld research that shows how dangerous driving while texting or cell phoning is.

"The former head of the highway safety agency said he was urged to withhold the research to avoid antagonizing members of Congress who had warned the agency to stick to its mission of gathering safety data but not to lobby states.

Critics say that rationale and the failure of the Transportation Department, which oversees the highway agency, to more vigorously pursue distracted driving has cost lives and allowed to blossom a culture of behind-the-wheel multitasking.

“We’re looking at a problem that could be as bad as drunk driving, and the government has covered it up,” said Clarence Ditlow, director of the Center for Auto Safety."

The good news is that plenty of research backs up what we already know: driving while texting and cell phoning is deadly. Moreover, bicyclists and pedestrians are impacted much more because they are the most vulnerable (no seatbelts, no airbags, no car frame to protect them). The bad news is that a lot of legislation was dismissed because legislators don't get it.

“I’m on the phone from when I leave the Capitol to when I get home, and that’s a two-hour drive,” said Tad Jones, the majority floor leader in the Oklahoma House, who helped block the legislation. “A lot of people who travel are used to using the phone.”


Friends of the Calumet-Sag Trail receive 501c3 non-profit status

 Fly, little bird:

Three years ago, Active Transportation Alliance enabled the creation of the Friends of the Calumet-Sag Trail to accelerate the completion of the 32-mile multi-use connection between southeast suburban Burnham and southwest suburban Lemont. ActiveTrans served as financial agent while the Friends got its ducks in a row straight enough to apply for 501c3 non-profit status.

The letter came today. The Friends have left the nest, on wings born aloft by IRS approval of its application [and tortured metaphors].

Nick of time, too: the Friends are committed to providing the remaining $35,000 match for Cal-Sag communities awarded $268,000 by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.

Find out more about our plans at

Bikes Lanes on Sheridan Avenue in Wilmette

Image winding up Sheridan Road in Evanston by bike or foot, then passing the beautiful Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette. The 18-month road construction project on Sheridan Road is almost complete. The road project has bike lanes in both directions on Sheridan from Lake Avenue northward to Westerfield Drive and the Plaza del Lago.


Bike Lane on SheridanCheck out some photos taken just last week! The larger construction project includes repaving as well to enhance this great North Shore roadway for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Please remember to ride safely and obey the rules of road as several municipalities in the North Suburbs have received complaints about bicyclists disobeying traffic signals and blocking the road. Please remember that bicyclists have the same rights as motorists to be on the road and are subject to the same duties applicable to a motorist. Be an example to other groups and bicyclists on the road! The many North Suburban Police Departments will be increasingly active to enforce safe shared use of roadways

Add the ribbon cutting ceremony to your calendars; it will take place on July 28, 2009 at 10:45 a.m. at Plaza Del Lago

West Suburban Bike and Dine

The July 18 West Suburban Bike and Dine was a huge success. Riders enjoyed gorgeous scenery, consumed way too much mouth-watering food, and showed the world (or at least the West Suburbs) how easy and fun it is to get around by bike.

Check out this story on the fantastic ride!

If you're beating yourself up about missing this, no worries, we have two more rides to go, on August 8 and September 26. Check out to sign up.

Hope you can make it!

'Bolts thump Bums, only 1 1/2 games behind the Rascals

 Thumping the Beach Bums moves the 'Bolts within a game and a half of the rascally first place Rascals:

Bats crackin', bikes clickin', bells ringin', clean air breathin' on July 23. RSVP for Bike to the 'Bolts by 5 PM, July 21 to or 312/427-3325x266. 

Windy City Thunderbolts

Research focuses on women's transportation choices

Active Trans is helping get the word out about a focus group for research on non-motorized transportation.  If you're a woman and you're into getting around under your own steam, I encourage you to participate in this project. 

* * *

Dear Women Bicyclists and Physical Activity Enthusiasts:

I am inviting you to participate in a research project focus group to study issues related to women’s use of non-motorized transportation such as bicycling and walking, as well as, applicable technologies to increase or encourage non-motorized transportation usage. The research is part of a larger doctoral project funded in part through the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board (TRB).

The focus group will take place at:

Mercury Cafe
1505 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
August 11, 2009
6pm - 8pm

The results of this focus group will be used to evaluate possible design, planning and technology solutions that may increase the number of women bicyclists and their frequency of physical activity. Through your participation I hope to gain a better understanding of women’s attitudes and travel behaviors while bicycling and walking along with possible influences that crime and other external circumstances may have and any value that technological advances may add to the non-motorized transportation experience.

If you are willing to participate in the focus group, please contact me at or by phone at 773-704-7162. Copies of the transcript will be provided to you for your review and approval, after which time the tape recording will be erased. There are no personal risks involved, that I know of, if you so choose to participate in this focus group. Your responses will remain confidential and will not be accessible to anyone outside of the research group.

While your participation is strictly voluntary, I do hope that you will be able to participate in the focus group. Regardless of whether or not you choose to participate in the study, if you would like a summary of my findings please let me know. To request a summary, you may email me at

Also, if you have any questions or concerns regarding this focus group please feel free to contact me via email or telephone.

Thank you,

Stephen T. Vaughn


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