Holiday Express: A Chicago sustainable transportation gift guide


[This piece also appeared in Checkerboard City, John’s weekly transportation column in Newcity magazine, which hits the streets on Wednesday evenings. Although we’re running this on Grid Chicago a bit late for some of the winter holidays, we hope you’ll enjoy reading about some of the great products coming out of Chicago nowadays and consider them for future purchases.]

A true Chicago sustainable transportation blackbelt is never late, unless it’s the CTA’s fault. But if you’re running a little behind in your winter gift shopping, here are a few last-minute ideas for the walking, biking and transit enthusiasts in your life. Most of these nifty items are locally made and available at independent stores, which means a minimum of gasoline was burned getting the products to market, and by purchasing them you’ll be supporting the local economy. Plus, these presents will encourage your friends’ and family members’ healthy commuting habits. You can’t get much more politically correct than that.

Our city’s over-dependence on automobiles really makes you appreciate those rare spots where you can take a break from the sight, sound and smell of car traffic. Give the gift of tranquility with Peaceful Places Chicago by local journalist Anne Ford. Her book features over one-hundred serene locations, most of them accessible by transit, with many destinations for relaxing, strolling and biking. Some of my favorites include the Indiana Dunes, Bridgeport’s Stearns Quarry Park, The Magic Hedge bird sanctuary at Montrose Harbor, Rosehill Cemetery and the Osaka Japanese Garden in Jackson Park. $14.95 at Women and Children First, 5233 North Clark.

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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.

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