Move It! A Guide to Getting Around Big Cities by Bike

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Biking in downtown Denver.

[This article was commissioned by SRAM Corporation, a bike components manufacture headquartered in Chicago, for their Urban Products catalogue.]

This is an amazing time to be an urban bicycle commuter in the United States. According to the American Community Survey, over the last decade the percentage of citizens who frequently pedal to work rose 63% in the 70 largest cities. Sure, even U.S. cycling Meccas like Portland, Oregon, only have a fraction of the mode share of Northern European towns like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. But stateside cycling is definitely on a roll, and we seem to be approaching critical mass.

There are lots of reasons for this bike boom. In gridlocked cities, bicycling is often the fastest, most efficient way to get around. It’s a great way to add physical activity to your routine without having to spend extra time and money at a gym. In a sluggish economy with rising gas prices, not having to spend cash at the pump or on parking is definitely a plus. Cycling instead of driving is an easy way to help out the environment. And, last but not least, navigating a metropolis by bike can be incredibly fun.

But not everybody feels comfortable cycling in a big city. That’s why towns from cost to coast are investing in new infrastructure to make riding safer, more convenient and more enjoyable, from off-street paths and on-street bike lanes, to parking racks and commuter stations that provide secure places to stash your ride at the end of the trip.

Continue reading Move It! A Guide to Getting Around Big Cities by Bike

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New pedestrian and bicycle projects discussed at March MBAC meeting

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Rolling out a green lane at Lincoln Avenue north of Webster Avenue in Lincoln Park. Photo by Grant Davis. 

We don’t have a recap from the March 14, 2012, meeting of the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council (MBAC) because we didn’t receive an event notice. Luann Hamilton at the Department of Transportation responded to our email inquiry, writing, “staff inadvertently missed sending the March meeting announcement to the MBAC listserv, so attendance was light”. She sent additional information about how the “council” part of MBAC will be composed, which we reported on after the December meeting:

Continue reading New pedestrian and bicycle projects discussed at March MBAC meeting

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Randy Neufeld looks back at 25 years of Chicagoland Bicycle Federation / Active Transportation Alliance

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Neufeld at the Kinzie protected bike lane, at Kinzie and Clinton

[This piece also runs in the Active Transportation Alliance’s newsletter, Modeshift.]

Last night Active Transportation Alliance (originally Chicagoland Bicycle Federation) marked 25 years of sustainable transportation advocacy with a gala on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus. Suzanne C. and Ben H. generously offered Steven and me seats at their tables so we could report on the event. We’ll soon give you the skinny on what went down at this gathering of some of the key figures in the local and national green transportation scene.

In the mean time, check out this interview I did last year with Randy Neufeld, Active Trans’s first executive director, looking back at the nonprofit’s quarter century of pushing pedaling, and other green modes. In 1987 Neufeld, a former political organizer approached the fledgling organization with an unusual proposal: he would work as the group’s first staff member for free until he could raise funds to pay himself. Continue reading Randy Neufeld looks back at 25 years of Chicagoland Bicycle Federation / Active Transportation Alliance

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Recap on the Kinzie Street protected bike lane

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Cyclists ride eastbound in the Kinzie Street protected bike lane. Photo by Joshua Koonce.

It’s been two weeks since the Bike To Work Week Rally symbolically marked the opening of the Kinzie Street protected bike lane. Construction continued into this week.

I contacted Brian Steele, public information officer at the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), to answer some outstanding questions. Continue reading Recap on the Kinzie Street protected bike lane

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