A new year, a new benefit!
Divvy bike-share has taken Chicago by storm and it’s only getting better with 175 stations being added to the network in 2014! Now's your chance to get in on the action and save!
So how does it work?
When will I get my special Divvy discount code?
Discount codes will be distributed with all new and renewing premium level or higher membership kits. Your member kit should arrive within 1–3 weeks after your payment is received.
I'm already an Active Trans member -- can I get a code?
You can get a code when you renew your Active Trans membership. If you want to take advantage of the Divvy offer sooner rather than later, feel free to renew a little early. We'll tack on an additional 12 months to your current membership. Plus, you can save us the cost of mailing you a reminder down the road. Win-Win!
I'm already a Divvy member -- can I get a credit for the amount of the discount?
Sorry, you can't get a credit from Divvy. However, your code won't expire until the end of the year – so be sure to save it for later!
Will a Divvy benefit be available for business members?
Yes! Business members will receive 24-hour Divvy passes with their membership kit.
All of us at Active Trans were saddened to hear of Carmelita Sams’ passing on Dec. 29.
Regulars, first-time customers and volunteers of Carmelita’s employer, Ciclo Urbano and West Town Bikes of Humboldt Park, were sure to have been touched by her sense of humor and willingness to selflessly go that extra mile — no matter what the task.
Even when facing the cancer that eventually took her life this holiday season.
I first met Carmelita last spring when planning the promotional video for the 2013 Bike Commuter Challenge, “Who Changed Your Mind?” After posting a notice looking for someone to feature in the video, we met Carmelita. She was perfect in the role.
The essence of the Bike Commuter Challenge — Active Trans’ annual Chicago Bike Week employer competition — is creating new bike commuters by showing just how practical it can be.
Women — especially those with children, like Carmelita — tend to choose commuting by bike as a decision of practicality.
The shoot for the video was done in a single, 12-hour day in early April on location in Highland Park and in the Active Trans office in River North.
Making a video is always extremely hard work for all involved: Hours can go into getting the material for just a few seconds of video. A single finished shot that lasts only second can require up to 20 takes.
The time in between takes, while the director and cameraman move around the camera and lighting equipment, means interminable waits for the actors.
Carmelita handled all of it as a complete professional, despite no acting or film experience at all.
"It was an enormous pleasure having her be a part of something we could all be proud of,” said Jordan Amandes, director/producer for North Lincoln Films and director of the Bike to Work Week video featuring Carmelita. "While directing her, I would explain each scene and she would always add a part of her own personality that elevated our video from good to great. She’s a true class act and an all-around fantastic person."
Watch the video featuring Carmelita.
For Al Sturges, taking up bike commuting was the first step in becoming a bicycling advocate.
Since he started commuting by bike and getting involved in bike advocacy, Sturges has served in many roles with local groups, including a stint on the Active Trans Board of Directors.
After more than two decades of service, Sturges is stepping down.
Sturges said his interest in helping create better conditions for people biking all started when he took up bike commuting in Chicago’s South Suburbs — riding to and from the train to get to work.
Not long after he started bike commuting, a friend invited him on a longer bike ride. But Sturges was hesitant because he was riding a “cheap, maybe thirty dollar” bike.
He went on the ride with low expectations, but found he had no trouble keeping up. Since then, he has been riding regularly for recreation, competing in Senior Games races, as well as going on bike vacations with his wife Barbara.
After retiring from the Amoco Corporation in 1992, Sturges began volunteering at Active Trans. In addition to helping out at the Active Trans office, he administered a bike ride-ability survey of roads in the South Suburbs with other volunteers.
Later he served on the financial and policy committees for the Active Trans Board of Directors, and worked on Active Trans events like the Four-Star Bike & Chow as well as MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive.
In addition to his extensive volunteer work with Active Trans, Sturges started volunteering with the League of Illinois Bicyclists soon after its formation in 1992, and acted as the executive director 1995-2000, and also served as newsletter editor and board president.
As Sturges steps down from his volunteer work with Active Trans, we would like to recognize all of his contributions to Active Trans and the bicycling community as a whole.
Thank you, Al, for all your great contributions over the years in Chicagoland and throughout Illinois!
The photo above shows Sturges while on a bike trip in the Czech Republic.
Do you dig biking and graphic design? Got an idea for an MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive T-shirt? If so, here’s your chance to show off your stellar graphic design skills and get your design on thousands of T-shirts this summer and win a $250 MB Financial Bank gift card.
We’re launching our second annual T-shirt design contest for MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive—the classic Chicago biking event on the Sunday before Memorial Day that closes Lake Shore Drive to cars and opens it to thousands of people on bikes.
Active Trans is looking for original illustrations that celebrate this special day of biking bliss. Up to five finalists will receive two free registrations for the event, and the final winner will have her or his T-shirt design worn by many thousands of participants during the event and afterwards.
T-shirt design submissions are due February 11 by 11:59 p.m. Active Trans will choose up to five of the best designs, and then open the final decision to an online vote February 24 through March 7 11:59 p.m.
The winner will be announced right here on our blog later in March. Learn more about how to enter the contest at www.bikethedrive.org/tshirtcontest.
Last year’s winner Oscar Aguilar was surprised as anyone to win and this year, it could be you!
PS: Registration for MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive opens online at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. You can save $7 by registering at www.bikethedrive.org by February 2 or a total of $9 with a discount code available at MB banking centers.
Please join us to celebrate Winter Bike to Work Day at Daley Plaza in Chicago’s Loop on Jan. 21 for our annual celebration of cyclists who don’t let low temperatures or snow stop them from pedaling to work. Warm up with free Dark Matter coffee and slices of Eli’s Cheesecake from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Daley Plaza, located at Washington and Dearborn Streets. Hot chocolate and tea will also be available.
And new this year, please join us after work at Monk’s Pub 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. 205 W. Lake Street with Revolution Brewing. Winter bicycle commuters can enjoy a $1.50 special on sliders (order in any multiples of two) by showing your helmet or bike key. Delicious Rev Brew beer will also be on special.
Morning rally attendees will receive a raffle ticket for several great prizes, including a $100 MB Financial bank gift card, a WXRT-FM Studio X voucher good for access to one Studio X show in 2014, a $100 REI gift card, a case of CLIF Bars and a VIP MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive registration. We’ll pull raffle winners after work at Monk’s Pub.
Plus, you can get a jump on your summer biking when online registration opens at 6:30 a.m., also on January 21, for this year’s MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive to be held on Sunday, May 25, 2014.
Save $7 registering online at www.bikethedrive.org through Sunday, Feb 2. Get an additional $2 off and a free CamelBak™ water bottle when you stop by an MB Banking Center for an online promotion code good through Feb 2 (http://www.mbfinancial.com/branch-locator/index/branch-listing.aspx).
Active Trans is proud to organize Winter Bike to Work Day commemorating the coldest day in Chicago history—Jan. 20, 1985—when the official temperature at O’Hare International Airport was 27 degrees below zero.
MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive allows cyclists to enjoy the city skyline and stellar views of Lake Michigan on the only day of the year when Lake Shore Drive is open to cyclists and closed to car traffic.
Put on your warmest winter biking gear and join us!
Last year, I was about 8 months pregnant during the dead of winter.
|Don't let your sidewalk look like this. Photo courtesy of Anne Alt.|
Thankfully, I am only a two block walk away from my CTA train station. I was encouraged to buy extreme snow boots that had special soles that gripped the ice and snow better. They are monstrous and borderline embarrassing. I will probably have them for the next 20 years.
One day I walked by the big corner house at the end of my block. You know the one -- it has the largest sidewalk surface area and for some reason the owner doesn’t shovel. I happened to see the owner walking into his house. I decided to have a chat.
The abbreviated/paraphrased conversation is below:
Me: Hey there! Are you the owner of this building?
Me: Awesome. I just wanted to introduce myself – I’m your neighbor, I live just down the street. My name’s Rebecca and as you can see I’m super pregnant right now. Anyways, I just wanted to ask that you do a better job of shoveling and salting this year because I really don’t want to fall in front of your house.
Neighbor: I always shovel.
(I look at the icy unshoveled sidewalk and then at his clean, salted steps).
Me: Well...I don’t know about that. I’ve walked by your house for over three years and it’s always a struggle if there's snow on the ground.
Neighbor: I use more salt than anyone.
Me: That’s fine. If you think you are doing a good job, then all I ask is that you continue to do a good job clearing your sidewalk. And every time it snows, please just think of me walking in front of your sidewalk super pregnant. Thanks so much!
His sidewalk has been the first one cleared and salted on the street ever since.
I have sent him a thank you note and the next time I see him, I plan on thanking him in person.
When debating about the need to shovel, whether you rent or own, whether you think someone else should do it or not, just think about a super pregnant person walking (or waddling) in front of your building.
Think about that person on crutches or that senior who is nervous about falling. Think about how much nicer it is when you walk on a clear sidewalk versus an icy, snow-covered one. And be a good neighbor.
Active Trans offers some downloadable fliers that encourage good shoveling habits and congratulate people for keeping their sidewalks clear.
If you live in Chicago and see a snow-covered sidewalk, you can report it to 311, Chicago's city services hotline.
Also, if you need someone to help you shoveling snow, the city of Chicago has a program that will match you with a volunteer.
Do you love coffee? We do too! Much of our work and office is powered by delicious coffee and we know that lots of people who walk, bike or take transit are also fans of hot or iced coffee.
So, we’re pleased to announce a new year-round partnership with Chicago-based Dark Matter Coffee. These premier artisan coffee roasters are now a sponsor at our 2014 fundraising special events and outreach campaigns!
This is how cool the Dark Matter people are:
“Dark Matter is committed to powering people who utilize active transportation like biking, walking and transit. We’re also proud to help power the advocacy efforts of Active Trans,” said Kyle Hodges, Minister of Propaganda, Dark Matter Coffee. “Our double-strength iced coffee will be the perfect kick for bike commuters this summer.”
As the Preferred Coffee of the Active Transportation Alliance, Dark Matter Coffee will be available for bike commuters on Winter Bike to Work Day Tuesday, January 21 (hot, of course) and during Bike Commuter Challenge Pit Stops June 13 through 20 this summer.
As a sponsor, Dark Matter Coffee will also donate coffee for Active Trans’ outreach campaigns and sell coffee at MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive May 25 and Four-Star Bike Tour Sept. 7. Dark Matter Coffee samples will also be available at the start of the new Bike to Brew ride Saturday, July 26.
We hope you’ll be able to try some Dark Matter coffee with us in 2014!
For the past three years we’ve hosted the Chicago Bike Swap in partnership with our friends at Bike Winter. And we really enjoyed hosting the swaps, but unfortunately we’re not able to produce the swap for 2014. We’re bummed about this because we feel it’s a great event and opportunity to connect with the local bike community.
The good news: we’re planning a new large-scale bike ride for the summer (official announcement coming soon!). We wanted to make sure we could focus our event team on making that successful.
We may bring our swap back it in 2015, but thankfully Bike Winter is working with some other folks to host a Winter Bike Swap at Jak’s Tap on Feb. 15 (the same place we worked with Bike Winter and other partners to host a pilot bike swap four years ago).
And in a couple of weeks, there’s also the 7th annual Chicago Winter Bike Swap on Jan. 18 at Harper College in Palatine.
Both swaps look to be great opportunities for local cyclists to get together and check out cool deals.
So if you want to get your bike swap on, thankfully there are some Chicagoland options!
Mayor Emanuel has selected CTA Senior Vice President Rebekah Scheinfeld to be the next Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner.
Scheinfeld led the planning work at CTA, including major projects like the Red Line reconstruction and new Bus Rapid Transit lines planned for the Loop and Ashland Avenue. She also has law and MBA degrees.
Scheinfeld's transit experience should help bridge gaps that sometimes exist between CDOT and transit agencies, and she will be well-positioned to help complete a new rapid transit line on Ashland -- a top priority for Active Trans.
Her credentials are very solid for this job, and her professionalism and smarts tell me she can move up the biking and walking learning curves fairly quickly.
Scheinfeld is replacing Gabe Klein, who oversaw many exciting developments for transportation in Chicago. It's unfortunate that Scott Kubly, a key deputy to Gabe Klein, also left CDOT. He and Klein were change agents who deployed savviness, persuasiveness, determination and thick skin to reboot the city's perspective on transportation. Fortunately, Deputy LuAnn Hamilton is still on board, and she brings a strong appreciation for all transport modes, and she knows the ins and outs of CDOT better than anyone.
The biggest challenge for Scheinfeld is sustaining the arc of change at CDOT. There is broad support for mayoral goals like 100 miles of protected bike lanes, expanding rapid transit and calming streets to make them safer.
But will she stand firm when the vocal minority tries to stop progress, as we've seen recently with the Ashland rapid transit line? I'm optimistic she will, and Active Trans will help her solidify a new normal with Compete Streets that are safer and move people efficiently across all modes.
Photo of Scheinfeld courtesy of Ryan Griffin-Stegink, MPC
Melody Geraci, the deputy director for programs here at Active Trans, was recently honored for her work in encouraging better health among local children from the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC).
CLOCC is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program that collaborates across sectors to promote healthy lifestyles for Chicago’s kids.
CLOCC’s Katherine Kaufer Christoffel Founder’s Award honors seasoned leaders in Chicago who reach beyond their defined arena to work on childhood obesity prevention issues. Past winners included Colleen Lammel-Harmon of the Chicago Park District (2011) and Lucy Gomez Feliciano of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (2012).
Since the 2002 founding of CLOCC, Active Trans and CLOCC have worked together to emphasize the link between health and transportation. As a founding member of CLOCC’s executive committee, Active Trans has partnered with the organization to promote walkability and bikability as core strategies for keeping people active and reducing the risk of obesity.
Geraci (pictured right) and Active Trans are excited to be honored with the Founder’s Award and look forward to our continued work with CLOCC.