Although I try to keep track of everything that’s going on in Chicago’s burgeoning bicycle scene, racing is one facet that I’m not so familiar with, but I’m definitely interested in learning more. For example, I’m not sure I had ever heard of the Illinois Cycling Association (ICA) before I attended their 4th annual awards ceremony on Saturday, having read about the event on the Chainlink.
The ICA is a federation of local bike clubs and promoters that are registered with USA Cycling, which promotes racing on a national level. The association’s goal is to raise the level of competitive cycling in Illinois, a state not yet known as a bike racing Mecca due to its mostly pancake-flat topography. This may change in the future if ICA member Emanuele Bianchi achieves his dream of building the world’s best indoor velodrome, the $40 million Chicago Velo Campus, on the city’s Southeast Side. I interviewed Bianchi about the project last fall.
Continue reading An update on the Chicago Velo Campus at the Illinois Cycling Association awards
Bianchi coaches Robert, a teen who lives near the temporary velodrome – photo courtesy of Chicago Velo Campus
Last winter I wrote about the Chicago Velo Campus proposal for a Newcity cover story. The organizers were originally hoping to build a $45 million multisport complex, featuring a velodrome stadium nearly as large as the United Center, by 2013 on the former site of U. S. Steel’s South Works mill, a hump of land on the lakefront between 79th and 92nd.
Although they recently changed their target for construction to 2014, and even that may be an optimistic deadline for this ambitious project, much has already been accomplished. This summer volunteers installed a 166-meter temporary velodrome, made of marine-grade plywood, and an indoor space called the Lakeside Velo Works, containing a bike workshop, indoor training area, bike storage and office space, on U.S. Steel land at 8615 S. Burley.
Continue reading An update on the Chicago Velo Campus from Emanuele Bianchi