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Randy Neufeld, Even Jennings, and Mike Amsden. Photo by Eric Rogers.

Thank you to the tens of people who visited the Grid Chicago table at the Chicago Bike Swap in the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse on Saturday. We thoroughly enjoyed talking to current and (hopefully) new readers of our blog. We handed out pins, business cards, and demonstrated the site. Since there was no wifi or electricity available, we improvised: we showed off the website with an iPad and a mobile hotspot. MobileCitizen generously lent us the mobile hotspot for the day. I was also able to talk to people about the Get Lit campaign.

In addition to the myriad organizations signing up interested guests, and shops selling bike parts, handlebar smartphone holders, and cycling caps, there were many great presentations. I filmed two: a Q&A on bicycling with kids with three Logan Square parents called “Kids in the Saddle: Raising the Next Generation of Cyclists”; and “Decade of Revolution: the Rise of Bicycle Transportation in Chicago”. The videos will be up later this week – each are longer than 30 minutes and will take some time to edit for publishing.

Kids in the saddle

To begin, Gin Kilgore, Ash Lottes, and Kevin Womac* described their families and how they carry their children on bikes as well as how their children ride bikes. They then asked the parents in the audience to introduce themselves and ask a question. There was a lot of great advice on how to get started, how to overcome fears of cycling in traffic, and what equipment to use; they discussed trailers, bike seats, and cargo bikes (“bakfiets”, or box bike). While you wait for the conversation in my upcoming video, check out Kidical Mass, which meets on March 10 in Palmer Square Park at 10:30 AM. View a video of Kidical Mass.

Decade of revolution

This panel presentation featured: John Lankford of Active Transportation Alliance talking about current conditions of bicycling in Chicago (like the bikeway network); Mike Amsden of the Chicago Department of Transportation talking about the recently installed protected and buffered bike lanes as well as proposed bikeways; Eve Jennings of Bike Uptown, a neighborhood group working with Alderman Cappleman of the 46th, about how they inserted bicycling into the ward’s aldermanic debate in 2011, and getting bicycles on the agenda of your alderman; and Randy Neufeld, director of the SRAM Cycling Fund, and an original bicycle advocate in Chicago, who talked about how change is not easy. Here’s a sneak preview:

When listening to Neufeld speak, I was reminded of his presentation the Chicago Cultural Center in 2010 alongside rocker David Byrne, about “10 ideas for bicycling in Chicago”. His first idea was “Open Streets – What if Bike The Drive were every weekend?” You can see all 10 ideas, download his presentation, or watch it on video, at Steven Can Plan.

* Kevin Womac is the owner of Boulevard Bikes, a Grid Chicago sponsor.

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  • Quasar

    Chicago should be in a constant state of bikeswap! A cargo bike on every block!  I hope the bikeshare system coming to chicago eventually includes a variety of designs (as does this system http://www.cphbikeshare.com/pdf/28630.pdf ).  Also, it would be much better received by the city if credit cards are not required to use the system, as in D.C., where many people are excluded because of that requirement.  

    • http://www.stevevance.net/ Steven Vance

      I am looking forward to the (assumed) eventual announcement of bike sharing in Chicago. This is week 10 without an announcement since the self-imposed deadline of January 1st. My questions to CDOT about it go unanswered. 

      I have proposed a trailer sharing system: 
      http://www.stevencanplan.com/bicycle-trailer-sharing/

      And I’ve proposed an alternative to using credit cards (as have other commenters):
      http://gridchicago.com/2012/chicago-bike-sharing-where-is-it-now-and-other-conversations/ (see “unbanked customers”)

      The City of Washington, D.C., has made an agreement with two banks to lower the barrier to opening the kind of bank accounts that offer debit cards with a credit card company logo. This is just one strategy.