Dottie Brackett talks women’s cycling at the Chainlink’s bike education series


Last night I swung by a Chainlink Biking Semester class on biking tips for women, “The Lady and the Bike,” taught by Let’s Go Ride a Bike blogger Dottie Brackett at next Door Café, 659 W. Diversey in Lincoln Park. The Chainlink, a social networking site for Chicago cyclists, is hosting the bike ed series at the café all summer.

Vanessa Buccella, who we interviewed last winter, is teaching “Racing 101” on Tuesday, June 19, from 6:30-7:30 pm. Future Chainlink classes include “Basics To Keep Your Bike Riding Through Summer” on July 10 and “How To Not Get Your Bike Stolen and What You Can Do to Get It Back” on July 24.

Steven and I are fans of Dottie’s blog, co-written with Trisha Ping, a great source of info, especially for women, about getting around by bike without sacrificing your personal style, including great photography and fun stories of the ladies’ two-wheeled adventures. Last year I interviewed Dottie for Newcity magazine and dubbed her “The Martha Stewart of Chicago Cycling.” She didn’t seem to mind.

Continue reading Dottie Brackett talks women’s cycling at the Chainlink’s bike education series

Grid Shots: Shopping without a car

A large portion of Chicagoans not only take the bus, train, walk, or bike to work, but they also take these sustainable transportation modes to go shopping, for groceries and everything else.


Two people attempt to cross Western Avenue, with one of them pushing his purchases in a shopping cart. Photo by Joshua Koonce. Continue reading Grid Shots: Shopping without a car

A visitor’s guide to biking in Chicago


A view of downtown from Promontory Point, about 55th Street and the Lakefront Trail. 

Back in 2008, Momentum magazine invited me to write a roundup of the Chicago bicycle scene. The current issue of Momentum features this new guide to biking in Chicago, especially geared for visitors to the city but hopefully of interest to locals as well. Comparing the two pieces shows there have been a lot of exciting developments here in the last three years! Print space was limited so I couldn’t include every great cycling event, not-for-profit, bike shop, etc., that I would have liked to, but feel free to to comment if you think I left out anything crucial.

The city of Chicago by the numbers, courtesy of the Chicago Department of Transportation Bicycle Program:
2.7 million people
227 square miles
.5 miles of car-separated cycle tracks
123 miles of on-street bike lanes
33 miles of marked shared lanes AKA “sharrows”
50 miles of paved, off-street bike paths
12,265 on-street bike parking racks, more than any other U.S. city
60,000 people educated about safety by the city’s Bicycling Ambassadors in 2010
100 B-cycle bike share vehicles at six kiosks
300 parking spaces, showers and lockers at the Millennium Park bicycle station Continue reading A visitor’s guide to biking in Chicago

Going Dutch: a conversation with LGRAB’s Dottie Brackett


[This piece also runs in Newcity. All photos courtesy of LGRAB, except where noted.]

Dottie Brackett is the Martha Stewart of the Chicago bike scene. Often spotted cruising the streets on her stately black Dutch bike or sprightly robin’s egg blue Rivendell, elegantly dressed in a skirt and heels, she belies the notion that urban cycling is only for sweaty guys in Lycra or skinny jeans. Since early 2009 her blog Let’s Go Ride a Bike (LGRAB) has shown thousands of people in Chicago and beyond how easy it is to use a bicycle for transportation and look good doing it.

The blog, co-written with Brackett’s Nashville-based friend Trisha Ping, who handles web design and ad sales, follows the women’s everyday adventures on two wheels. LGRAB’s breezy prose, splashy photography, reviews of classy commuter bikes and handy how-to tips have attracted an international readership, drawing about 2,500 pageviews and dozens of comments per day.

Continue reading Going Dutch: a conversation with LGRAB’s Dottie Brackett