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Monday, June 25, 2018

Electric scooters could be next to clog Chicago’s sidewalks and bike lanes

Posted By on 06.25.18 at 06:00 AM

Bird electric scooters in Washington, D.C. - JOE FLOOD VIA TWITTER
  • Joe Flood via Twitter
  • Bird electric scooters in Washington, D.C.

Last week's Reader bike issue was (mostly) all about the joys of Chicago cycling, but there's another two-wheeled transportation mode on the horizon that could potentially present a nuisance for cyclists and a hazard for pedestrians. E-mails I recently acquired from the Chicago Department of Transportation via a Freedom of Information Act request show that city officials and transportation advocates are wary of the potential negative effects that dockless electric scooter sharing could have on bikeways and sidewalks.

Dockless scooter technology is the latest craze in the burgeoning shared-mobility industry, which also includes the dockless bike-share cycles that were rolled out on Chicago's far south side in May as part of a nine-month pilot. As is the case with dockless bike share, scooter customers use a smartphone app to locate and check out the vehicles. The battery-powered devices offer a fun, zippy, sweat-free way to get around that's ideal for traveling between transit stations and destinations, and proponents say they can be part of the solution for reducing traffic jams and pollution in cities. Bird, a billion-dollar start-up that's the current industry front-runner, charges $1 to check out a vehicle plus 15 cents a mile. The tech has already taken off in peer cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Family of bike messenger who was struck and killed by a Chicago tour bus files wrongful death lawsuit

Posted By on 08.03.16 at 02:42 PM

click image Blaine Klingenberg - JONATHAN LOÏC ROGERS
  • Jonathan Loïc Rogers
  • Blaine Klingenberg

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on Tuesday on behalf of the father of bike courier Blaine Klingenberg, who was fatally struck by a double-decker tour bus at Michigan and Oak during the evening rush on June 15. The suit names bus driver Charla Henry and her employer, Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Company. 

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

So long, Rapid Transit Cycle Shop

Posted By on 11.10.15 at 01:30 PM

Rapid Transit's owners announced that they plan to close the pair of shops in the next two months. - JULIA THIEL
  • Julia Thiel
  • Rapid Transit's owners announced that they plan to close the pair of shops in the next two months.

At the end of last week local bike shop Rapid Transit, a 21-year-old industry veteran, announced on its website and Facebook page that it will close its doors soon. In an excellent piece on Streetsblog Chicago, John Greenfield reports that Rapid Transit has been struggling since the economic crash in 2008, and owners Chris Stodder and Justyna Frank say they don't have enough cash to make it through the winter. Both locations (the original one in Wicker Park, and a second one in University Village), will close within the next two months.

I was sadder to hear of its closing than I expected, considering that it hasn't been my local bike shop since I moved out of Wicker Park about three years ago. But it was my go-to spot for repairs and biking equipment for about five years before that, and the first bike store I ever went to when I first moved to Chicago. It's also where I learned how my bike worked; sometime around 2009 I took a three-part evening class Rapid Transit offered on how to tune up your own bike. The idea was that over the course of three weeks, the bike shop's mechanics would show participants how to overhaul their bikes. At the end of the class you'd have a completely tuned-up bike and know how to do the work yourself.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Saint Louis is the final frontier on a 300-mile bike ride from Adler Planetarium

Posted By on 09.17.15 at 03:03 PM

Cycling astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz - RYAN SMITH
  • Ryan Smith
  • Cycling astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz

An Adler astronomer's ambitious new public outreach plan shoots for the stars by cycling to them. Symbolically, at least.

On Friday, Lucianne Walkowicz will hop on her Japanese road bike and embark on the Galaxy Ride, a quixotic 300-mile bike trip/science roadshow across the state of Illinois mapped out to provide a sense of cosmic distance. Downtown Chicago's Adler Planetarium represents the Earth and the final destination, the Saint Louis Science Center, roughly equals our nearest neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. She'll lock up her bike in a handful Illinois towns along the way and provide free hands-on demos for the public using themes based on their approximate distance from the "earth." Joliet, for example, acts as the moon, and Bloomington-Normal becomes Pluto for a day.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chicago cyclocross racer Maria Larkin has jumped countless hurdles on her way to the World Cup

Posted By on 09.16.15 at 01:00 PM

Maria Larkin clears some air during a 2014 cyclocross race. - PEGGY KEINER
  • Peggy Keiner
  • Maria Larkin clears some air during a 2014 cyclocross race.

Maria Larkin is trying to nail this bunny hop. Not the easy kind, where you pull your whole bike off the ground in one swift jump. Larkin, an elite racer who came up through Chicago's bike scene, mastered that one long ago. On a recent Wednesday night in Humboldt Park, Larkin was aiming for the harder kind, the kind that allows you to jump over even bigger hurdles.

"You're limited in how high you can pull your feet up," she explained, attempting to clear a temporary barrier made from PVC piping. 

With this kind of bunny hop you use your upper body to pull the front wheel off the ground. Then, while the front wheel is still suspended, you scoop up the rear wheel in an elegant swoosh. 

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Friday, June 5, 2015

After two years, still no trial in cyclist Bobby Cann's death case

Posted By on 06.05.15 at 12:30 PM

Cyclist Bobby Cann was killed on May 29, 2014.
  • Cyclist Bobby Cann was killed on May 29, 2013.
Two years ago last Friday, cyclist Bobby Cann was killed in a crash at the intersection of Clybourn and Larabee.

The fatal early evening crash shocked Chicago's bike community. The driver of the car that hit Cann, Ryne San Hamel, was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI. The case also drew a spotlight to the Illinois courts' handling of drunk driving, after the Reader was the first to report that San Hamel had, years earlier, twice been arrested behind the wheel, paying fines and retaining his driver's license in both cases.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Nik Wallenda of style

Posted By on 11.15.14 at 09:00 AM

Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.


Fashion can be a balancing act. David's outfit has a lot of details, but they all work together: the artsy loafers, the perfect hem length, the print of his socks, the vest, the tie clip, the lapel pin, the snug fit of his garments, the color coordination . . . I mean, he even matches his bike! The best—and hardest—part is that it all looks effortless, like he's been doing this forever. And it's true: David was once voted best-dressed in preschool. I guess it's all a matter of practice to master the death-defying feat of dressing well.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

We're taking John Kass's bike bullying seriously

Posted By on 11.14.14 at 03:10 PM

A bike lane—John Kasss unhappy place.
  • Chandler West/Sun-Times Media
  • A bike lane—John Kass's unhappy place.
Conventional wisdom holds that the best way to make something go away is to ignore it. But rules usually have exceptions, this one included. For instance, you can't ignore away cancer, disfiguring goiters, bleeding hemorrhoids—or, it would seem, John Kass. The Tribune columnist has made a hobby and cottage industry of engendering contempt for Chicago cyclists or, as he calls them, "the Little Bike People."

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A local cycling apparel maven embraces the weirdness

Posted By on 11.11.14 at 01:00 PM

Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.


Attitude is such an important element of style, and Aleia has a great one. Her smile radiates warmth, and so does her furry coat, a $50 dollar Buffalo Exchange find her mom urged her to buy. "My mom has super eccentric clothing and trained me to look for fun things. My whole life she encouraged the weirdness", Aleia says.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

The ultimate Chicago bike, revealed—meet the BLACKLINE

Posted By on 07.26.14 at 12:00 PM

Chicagos bike, the BLACKLINE
  • Shamis McGillin
  • Chicago's bike, the BLACKLINE

At a Friday night release party, held in a warehouse next to Minimal's West Loop office, the bike prototype developed by Chicago's Oregon Manifest team was finally revealed to the public.

The team's vision for a better bike for Chicago, the tech-heavy BLACKLINE, presented a reductive version of what an urban utility bike can be, with a name inspired by the rattling Green Line train that runs just above Minimal's Lake Street studio. According to brand director Kevin Flatt, they thought about it as the ride that can "take you to the places where the el train can't."

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