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Two Wheels

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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Friday, September 20, 2013

Let's Roast Cycles: Chicago's first BMX bike shop

Posted By on 09.20.13 at 09:47 AM

BMX bikes at Lets Roast
Cyclists commuting downtown via Milwaukee in the last few weeks have probably noticed the wooden "Bike Shop" sign on the sidewalk near the intersection with Thomas—or maybe the "Bike Shop Open Soon" sign in the window for a month or two before that. Let's Roast Cycles, a BMX-focused shop that also stocks commuter bikes and gear, officially opened August 28th, and I stopped in last week to look around.

Logan Beyhl, who owns the shop with fellow BMX biker Bob DeLaat, noted that they're still stocking up on inventory, but plan to carry "everything a commuter cyclist would need"—like fenders, lights, saddles, etc—as well as commuter and BMX bikes. Both men have been BMX biking for more than 15 years—they met while working at indoor mountain biking park Ray's MTB in Cleveland.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It goes both ways: the Dearborn bike lane gives Rahm bragging rights and cyclists a protected ride

Posted By on 12.19.12 at 06:44 PM

Red bike means stop
"How you liking these new lanes?" a pedestrian asked as I sat perched on my bike at Dearborn and Madison patiently waiting for a tiny, glowing-red image of a bicycle to turn green. "I'm thinking you guys will crash into each other."

Sure, cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists are going to need a bit to acclimate to the protected, bidirectional lane that opened this past Friday on Dearborn Avenue. It can be a peculiar, discombobulating thing riding south when all of the auto traffic on the one-way avenue is flowing north—though, let's be real, most cyclists have undoubtedly saved a few minutes of their lives by cutting the wrong way down a side street. And with the bike-specific traffic lights and left-turn indicators painted on the pavement, urban cyclists are much more visible than previously. Not a bad thing in the least—just a very different thing.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making your bike imitate a horse, a necessary measure

Posted By on 12.05.12 at 06:00 PM

Rimshot/Wikimedia Commons
  • Rimshot/Wikimedia Commons
  • Here's a hint: It doesn't "neigh"
Because of course it did, Original Content London—a "creative concept and innovation studio" located on the other side of the pond—dreamed up a way that your bicycle can mimic the clip-clop of a trusty steed ambling down a cobblestone path. Fitting to the bike's front brake mount, Trotify is an elaborate wooden device that ships flat in one amalgamated laser-cut piece and breaks apart for home assembly. The purchaser is next tasked with locating a coconut, slicing it in half and gutting it, and securing it to the device so that, as the bike moves, the top half claps with the bottom and creates a charming sound of yesteryear—yep, think Monty Python.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To the burbs! Touring Barrington for the upcoming Chicagoland Bike Map

Posted By on 11.28.12 at 06:00 PM

Nice place to start a family
Having grown up in the burbs of southwestern Ohio, I maintain a bizarre affinity for strip malls, craft smoothie shops, and Monte Carlo nights at neighborhood churches. One thing I don't miss? The necessity of owning a car. Not having regular access to a motorized mode of transportation as a suburban 18-year-old was a kind of social maiming. Way too much waiting around for much cooler friends or, even worse, your much cooler mom to pick you up, and rarely getting a chance to explore a backseat with Jenny Cheerleader or Johnny Quarterback—unless, of course, you were able to borrow the minivan for the night.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On the scene at Cranksgiving Chicago, the annual "food drive on two wheels"

Posted By on 11.21.12 at 03:40 PM

Cranksgiving riders
  • Nico Deportago-Cabrera
  • Cranksgiving riders
Last Saturday, Adrian Gonzalez, a bike delivery person with an empty messenger bag and a mental to-do list, whipped down Oakley Avenue, away from Bucktown's Holstein Park and toward his first stop: the nearest grocery store. Like many errand runners last weekend, Gonzalez was racing to pick up canned veggies, bagged stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

Unlike most other shoppers, Gonzalez was racing, literally, against a small throng of Chicago bike messengers and cycling enthusiasts. He and the others weren't pedaling in the name of recognition or jonesing for sweet prizes. They were part of Cranksgiving, "a food drive on two wheels," according to the New York organizers who dreamed it up back in 1999. The race aims to provide cyclists with an opportunity to give back—and in the process, to soften the sometimes prickly reputations attributed to members of the cyclist subculture. The last 13 years have seen Cranksgiving events crop up everywhere from Seattle to Miami, with 40 rides organized in 2012 alone.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Keep up with the Lakefront Trail on Twitter

Posted By on 11.14.12 at 06:00 PM

Free and clear
  • Vxla / Wikimedia Commons
  • Free and clear
On the surface, the impetus for a bike ride from Logan Square to Hyde Park this past Saturday was to see about a jankity vintage couch from Craigslist that I presupposed I wouldn't buy. Mostly, though, I just wanted to cruise the south side of the Lakefront Trail. Living in Logan and generally hanging in its surrounding areas (meaning, say, watering holes and venues west of Ashland), I don't ride the southern section of the Trail nearly as much as I'd like—and it's really some of the city's best riding, with smooth, winding stretches that hug the lake, Instagram-ready pull-offs, and less cycle congestion overall.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

The best Craigslist ad for a vintage, early-70s motorcycle that I've seen today

Posted By on 11.09.12 at 01:14 PM

Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock - "THIS OLD THING? FOUND IT ON CRAIGSLIST."
  • "This old thing? Found it on Craigslist."
  • Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock

Trolling Craigslist for vintage motorcycles in any condition is one of the greatest and most enjoyable time sucks during a drudging workday—an hour or two on Bring a Trailer ain't bad either—because some days you find a gem like this one:

Hey there junior badass, ever feel like there's a caged animal trapped inside of you?

Only one cure for that: getting a fucking sick motorcycle. A 1971 Honda CB350. This golden lady will get you to work like a full-blown go hard, transport you and your shotgun through the zombie apocalypse, and give you a new platform for barreling down the boulevard with the wind tearing at your clothes screaming, "I AM ALIVE!" on the way to fucking bikram yoga.

Runs like corn through a goose. Engine rebuilt a year ago with ~400 miles on it since then.

I put new tires on the old girl, because you don't deprive a classy lady of classy shoes. I gave her a new chain because she needed some fucking jewelry.

Electric start, kickstart, fucking push start, you name it.

Why am I selling it? Cos being alive rules, and I'm far too gnarly of a dude to have a motorcycle. I see a ramp, I'm gonna hit that motherfucker going 300 mph, backflip over the 405.

$2300 gets you the Golden Lady, two helmets, some fucking saddlebags, a shop manual, a quart of oil (plus all the oil that's up in her right now), a full tank of PREMIUM MOTHERFUCKING GASOLINE (91 octaaaaaannneeee), some links to my favorite YouTube videos, a short story about robots, a cup of coffee with me, and whatever kind of donut you want.

Pristine bike, perfect sell.

(h/t Dan Duffy, founder of local indie magazine The Handshake)

***About ten minutes after this post went live, the Craigslist ad was flagged for removal. Pretty cool ***

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Can you stop a bike from getting nicked?

Posted By on 11.07.12 at 06:00 PM

Sitting ducks
  • David Hawgood
  • Sitting ducks
Several of us here at the Reader believe in cycling to work. We also believe in jamming our bikes onto crowded freight elevators, riding with them up ten flights, and leaning them against our cubicles. And maybe sneaking a glance every now and then to make sure they're still there. I wouldn't say it's paranoia as much as it's . . . well, never mind, it's straight-up paranoia.

As far as I'm concerned, that extra attention helps keep my bike in my possession and out of the hands of a bike thief. Just this morning I considered locking it to the racks outside the building, but ultimately decided against it. I've been warned and warned again that thieves will chop or bash through cable locks, U-locks, and chain locks to get at a bike. Basically, it's just waiting to get stolen.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Becoming Elliott, E.T. not included

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 06:00 PM

Red American Apparel hoodie (check)
Gray discarded milk crate (check)
Ragged white blanket (check)
Savvy bike posse (check)
Keen ability to outwit the Man (check)
Anxious, stumpy brown alien (still looking)
Power of flight (when I find the alien)

Happy Halloween.

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