Bicycle Film Festival starts off with a bang on Friday with free viewing


Watch the video interview on Vimeo, it’s 2 minutes long. 

We interviewed Terry Bloom the other day at his gym about the Bicycle Film Festival that starts tomorrow, a locally-produced event with international cachet that celebrates films about bikes but also the bicycles and the people who ride them. We wanted to know what will be different in 2012’s festival over 2011′.

First off, there are three new and different venues, starting with a free showing at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center downtown. Donations will be accepted and seats are first come, first served, but if you join one of the three rides departing at 17:30h, “you will get a seat”, Terry guaranteed. Saturday’s screenings move to the Viaduct Theater, at the Belmont and Western Avenue viaduct in Roscoe Village, while Sunday’s films will be projected at the renovated Logan Theater in Logan Square.

See the full screening schedule, venue details, and ticket information (event page on Facebook). All other events are free. Continue reading Bicycle Film Festival starts off with a bang on Friday with free viewing

Metra’s inconsistency makes me want to drive: Am I the only one?


Can we board? Photo by Melissa McClarin. 

Ed. note: This op-ed was originally posted on The Chainlink by Adam “Cezar” Jenkins and is published here with his permission. Jenkins commutes on Metra from Mokena to his job as a web developer downtown. He is vice president of the Folks on Spokes bicycling club in Southland Chicago. -Steven

My family is car-lite. One car. I’ve been riding Metra for over a year to work and the city for whatnot. Something the entire time has stuck out at me.

I will preface the below with the understanding that I know it’s getting better, but that it exists at all is a problem if you support a real workable public transit system.

There’s one thing above all others that makes me want to buy a second car and use it. Inconsistency. Let’s start with what hits home with The Chainlink the most. Bikes. Continue reading Metra’s inconsistency makes me want to drive: Am I the only one?

Voting has begun for Bike Chicago PSA video contest


The Lakefront Trail features prominently in “Chicago Bike Love”.  

Vote on the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special (DCASE) website to select the winning Bike Chicago PSA video. The four finalist videos will be shown on the big screen before a screening of Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure next Tuesday, June 12, at Millennium Park (see all events). Video links below open in a new full-size window.

Bike Chicago – You can dress like a revolutionary soldier and still ride a bike. Features Active Transportation Alliance staffer Rebecca Resman.

And Sometimes I Bike It Everywhere – An interview with three-year-old Amelie about biking in Chicago. Something really funny happens when she rides in the Kinzie Street bike lane at 1:13.

Chicago Better By Bike! – A kind of stop-motion video of many Chicago destinations. It’s amusing because it’s hard to tell if the person in the photo was ever moving in the shoot.

Chicago Bike Love – Boy meets girl on the Lakefront Trail and, after a MySpace-style photoshoot, have a picnic. Not a PSA, though.

There’s another bike movie event that week, on Monday, June 11, at Goose Island Brewpub, 1800 N Clybourn Avenue: Bicycle Film Festival will bring a special screening of “Bike Shorts”. The event is free and starts at 6 PM. Visit the DCASE website for all Bike To Work Week events.


Contest flyer. 

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

City, The Chainlink, Bicycle Film Festival team up with Goose Island to present video contest


Flyer for the Bike Chicago PSA Video Contest. 

Do you remember Terry Bloom? Of course you do. He’s the producer of the Bicycle Film Festival in Chicago and I interviewed him last November. He and I met up Sunday night to share with each other our submissions for the 2012 edition of Bicycle Film Festival (the deadline has passed). Terry recently returned after several months in India, where millions of people ride bikes every day. He told me about a contest he’s helping out with alongside Goose Island, The Chainlink, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’s (DCASE) Bike Chicago summer events program. It’s the Bike Chicago PSA Video Contest.

The contest is centered around Bike To Work Week, June 11 through June 15,  but you don’t have a lot of time: submissions need to be uploaded in two weeks, by Sunday, May 20. All the rules are here (including 30-90 seconds, must follow road rules, and reflect the “Bike it Everywhere, Chicago!” theme).


Goose Island made an announcement video for the Bike Video PSA Contest. 

Need an idea or a partner? Leave a comment below or on The Chainlink’s discussion board. Terry and I will be happy to help you, via email, develop concepts or deal with technical issues. Check our video archives for other short videos to get some ideas on what you could create. Continue reading City, The Chainlink, Bicycle Film Festival team up with Goose Island to present video contest

Events for October to December 2011

We will update this page as we know more. Last updated 12-09-11.

December 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011 (two events)

(1) Join the Metropolitan Planning Council for Better Commutes, Less Congestion: Employers Unlock the Region’s Gridlock, a roundtable discussion on how Commute Options are making a difference in solving the Chicago area’s commute challenges. Panelists will include participating employers describing their experiences with the pilot, and policymakers speaking about the regional benefits of the Commute Options program (including CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein). Cost is $15 for current MPC donors, and $30 for all others.

12  to 1:30 PM
Metropolitan Planning Council
140 S Dearborn Street, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60603

(2) A public meeting to discuss the design of a new park at Milwaukee and Leavitt Avenues. This new park has been identified as a future access point for the Bloomingdale Trail. Sponsored by Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail, Alderman Scott Waguespack (32), and the Chicago Park District.

6:30 PM
Holstein Park Auditorium
2200 N Oakley Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 (two events)

(1) Alderman Solis will discuss his recent fact-finding mission to one of the most bicycle-friendly countries in the world – the Netherlands – and share with us some of his observations that could be applied to Chicago’s bikeway network.

6 to 7:30 PM
960 W 18th Street
Chicago, IL 60608

(2) Get the first glimpse of how the planned multi-million-dollar overhaul of Daley Bicentennial Plaza is taking shape. Read more about this project at the Chicago Sun-Times.

6 to 8 PM
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park, Gold Room
200 N Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chicago bike writers Greg Borzo and John Greenfield celebrate the release of On Bicycles: 50 Ways the New Bike Culture Can Change Your Life, an anthology by Amy Walker, with a free book release party. Borzo and Greenfield will read their chapters on bicycle sharing systems and West Town Bikes, respectively. Afterwards they’ll sign copies while attendees mingle and enjoy soul-jazz piano by Seth Hitsky and a raffle for copies of the authors’ other books, plus other great bike-related prizes. The party doubles as a meet-up for the Active Transportation Alliance.

8-10 PM
Cole’s Tavern
2338 N Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Friday, December 9, 2011

On Friday, December 9th, 2011 at 6:30 AM, participants will ride from Amling’s Cycle (8140 N Milwaukee) to Mystic Celt (3443 N Southport) to meet a waiting truck from the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign. We’ll then enjoy a hot breakfast courtesy of Mystic Celt.

6:30 AM
Amling’s Cycle
8140 N Milwaukee
Niles, IL 60714

Saturday, December 10, 2011 (two events)

(1) The first meeting of the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020 has been scheduled: it’s an open house that will have mapping activities, educational information about innovative bicycle facilities, and an opportunity to discuss biking in your neighborhood with CDOT staff.

10 AM to 4 PM
23 E Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60602

(2) Chrome Chicago shop will be hosting their last (free) Holiday Photo Booth session this Saturday! Everyone is welcome to come in with friends, or whatever variation of, to have their holiday photos taken on the set of Strange Brew’s “Great White North,” complete with snow, defunct Christmas tree and tons of holiday props (for the nice and naughty in us all). Chrome will provide drinks to those 21+.

2 to 5 PM
1529 N Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 (three events)

(1) There is a zoning hearing at City Hall about Alderman Colón’s proposed ordinance, to strip “Pedestrian Street” designations from two segments of Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square. Here’s the proposed ordinance and the hearing notice. What’s a “pedestrian street” designation? We’re still figuring that out. The Municipal Code has some insight.

10 AM
City Hall, 2nd floor council chambers
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602

(2) A Bloomingdale Trail community meeting to learn about and discuss the progress of the framework plan for a park and trail on an elevated former train track.

6-8 PM
Saint Mary of the Angels School Auditorium
1810 N Hermitage Avenue
Chicago, Illinois  60622

(3) A meeting hosted by the Illinois Department of Transportation regarding the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Grand Crossing Rail Project. The purpose of the Grand Crossing Rail Project is to improve freight and passenger rail efficiency on Chicago’s South Side and enhance Amtrak’s on-time performance. An open house will be held between 4 PM and 6 PM where you can view an audio-visual presentation and project exhibits. The project team will also be available to discuss the project and answer questions. A formal session with questions and answers will then be held from 6 PM to 7:30 PM. (EveryBlock postingofficial project website)

4 to 6 PM open house, 6 to 7:30 PM meeting with Q&A
Sherwood Park
5701 S Shields Avenue
Chicago, IL 60621

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 (two events)

(1) The final 2011 Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Council of 2011. Read recaps of past MBAC meetings.

3 to 4:30 PM
City Hall, Room 1103
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

(2) Join project consultants Active Transportation Alliance and Sam Schwartz Engineering for a presentation and discussion about making the 35th Ward a safer and easier place to walk and bike.

6 PM
Armitage Baptist Church
2451 N Kedzie Avenue
Chicago, IL  60647

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Chicago Department of Transportation and Amtrak will host a public meeting from at Union Station to discuss possible improvements suggested by the Chicago Union Station Master Plan study. The meeting will be an open house, with experts and visuals explaining ideas to increase capacity for more trains, people, and traffic on nearby streets.  A narrated presentation will be made at 4:30 PM and again at 6 PM, allowing commuters to attend before boarding trains home.

4 to 7 PM
Union Station, Union Gallery (southwest corner)
210 S Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60606

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A fundraiser for West Town Bikes after the Afterglow Cyclocross race brought to you by Cuttin Crew and Robots <3. The first race category starts at 10 AM in Humboldt Park field house. Register online now.

2 PM
Division Street Bar and Grill
2525 W Division Stret
Chicago, IL 60622


A bus on I-35W in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bus driver is allowed to drive on the shoulder under certain traffic jam conditions. This will start in Chicago on November 14, on the Stevenson Expressway with Pace bus routes 755 and 855 from Plainfield, Illinois, to downtown Chicago. Photo by Aaron Brown.

October 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pace Bus will hold a town hall meeting “to discuss the issue of buses that will be driving on the shoulder of Interstate Highway 55 [Stevenson] beginning November 14, 2011” (Chicago Tribune). See this video for how that will work. Pace warns drivers to not follow the bus(it’s illegal for private vehicles to be driven on the shoulder except under certain circumstances). More details on TribLocal Plainfield.

4:30 AM to 7 PM
Bolingbrook Village Hall
375 W Briarcliff Road
Bolingbrook, IL

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will hold 5 public meetings regarding the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Chicago to St. Louis high-speed rail corridor. This EIS deals with double tracking the Union Pacific railroad south of Joliet and making other improvements north of Joliet to reduce transit times.  The goal for this project is a four hour trip time, with 9 daily round-trips. The nearest meeting to Chicago is in Joliet. See the other 4 events on the Midwest High-Speed Rail Association website.

Jacob Henry Mansion
Victorian Ballroom
15 S. Richards St
Joliet, IL

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Chicago City Council will hold a hearing about the Department of Transportation 2012 budget.

9 AM onward
City Hall
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL

Thursday, October 27, 2011

IDOT will hold an open house and formal public meeting about the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project. It’s a project to improve rail and road congestion in a large area around 75th and Western and between Halsted and the Dan Ryan. Details are on the project website.

4 PM to 7:30 PM
Freedom Temple Church of God in Christ
1459 W 74th Street
Chicago, IL

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Chainlink, a forum for bicycling in Chicago, hosts a Halloween party. The party is sponsored by Half Acre Beer Company and features many raffle prizes from local businesses. Details on The Chainlink.

8 PM to 12:00 AM
Galway Arms
2442 N Clark Street
Chicago, IL

Monday, October 31, 2011

Two transportation committees will meet: Transportation and Public Way (12 PM) and Pedestrian and Traffic Safety (1 PM). The PTS committee meeting will likely discuss the recent trip to Amsterdam and other cities in the Netherlands taken by Alderman Solis and city staff sponsored by Bikes Belong.

12 PM, 1 PM
City Hall
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL

November 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Council

3 PM
City Hall
121 N LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bicycle Film Festival. There’s also a pre-BFF bike ride and post-BFF Goldsprints party.

Logan Square Auditorium
2539 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

Saturday, November 5, 2011 (two events)

Bicycle Film Festival. There’s an after party TBA.

Logan Square Auditorium
2539 N Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

We Role Cycle Works presents “Cycle More” classes, 12 PM to 2 PM

Growing Power Farm
3333 S Iron Street
Chicago, IL

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bicycle Film Festival

Logan Square Skatepark
2430 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647

Monday, November 7, 2011

Active Transportation Alliance holds their annual member meeting to give an overview of accomplishments and reveal the 2012 legislative agenda.

5:45 PM to 8 PM
American Dental Association
211 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Green Opportunities Hack Salon. Apps for Metro Chicago will host “Go Green Hack Salon” at the Green Exchange-Greenhouse Loft (2545 W. Diversey Avenue) from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event will include experts discussing green ideas and sustainability concerns, group collaboration and app building. To attend, register on-line.

Monday, November 14, 2011

High Speed Rail Symposium. On November 14, Northwestern University will host the 2011 Lipinski Symposium “High Speed Rail: Perspectives and Prospects,” from 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

8:15 AM to 5:30 PM
Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208