I like bikes. They’re fun, cheap, and practical. They keep you fit (or get you that way) and get you where you need to go. With a little ingenuity, a rack and milk crate and/or a trailer, you can haul all kinds of stuff (dogs, refrigerators, pies, palm trees, kegs, sacks of dirt or wheat, straw bales, other bikes, groceries, your friends or children, crazy speakers for a mobile dance party, your entire apartment full of stuff one load at a time…). And yes, I and my friends have transported all of the above and more! What’s not to like? Zeus loves going for rides in the trailer- someday, we’ll get a Cycletote (fancy dog and cargo trailer handmade in Colorado) and set off into the sunset. Or to the Mississippi at least! For now, his DoggyRide gets him to the vet and back, and luckily for him, fun places too. The park! The lake!
But what about the winter? Yes, you can ride year round… it’s really not that bad, even in the worst that a Chicago winter can dole out- you just need windproof mittens (army surplus are good and cheap) and a shell (and you can find plenty of serviceable ones for under $10 at thrift stores) , and a woolly or fleece balaclava (get a FREE one at a bike winter event!), and a front light (More to be seen than to see by: if you get hit and don’t have one, you’re out of luck even if the crash wasn’t your fault. Get one- you can get a cheap one for $10-$20, or duct tape a flashlight to your bars, whatever). And of course, a helmet is highly wreckomended. Safety first! You’ll never get stuck in the snow, and if you do, you can always push your bike. Try doing that with your car! Plus, your bike runs on doughnuts, which unless you’re making biofuel in your backyard (and kudos if you are) your car can never do. And speaking of doughnuts: when biking, losing your spare tire is a bonus, not a liability! Or something. Ok, enough puns… looking for information?
Get layered, get in gear, and get up on that thang:
Get a new/used bike here, or get your clunker tuned up, and you’ll support a great community shop with programming for youth and adults:
If you have shop skills and need a place to work on your bike, or want to take an inexpensive class to learn said skills, just pop into the back of Cyclo Urbano and there’s a fully equipped community bike shop at your disposal, and probably helpful volunteers who can give you pointers! Just remember to put some cash in the can (the donation can, not the toilet, aka the can, as the note in the bathroom will tell ya… in case you were wondering) to support the shop! Your donations help keep the shop lights on and support bike programming for city youth! Shop closed? There’s a tool-station and pump on the street corner chained to a work station outside the shop! How cool is that? Seriously. This place rocks.
or head here for south siders… coolest bike shop in Bridgeport, with a fat feline CEO. Tell ’em Vanya’s former mom sent ya, and hug the fatty for me (I miss the guy, but not the dose of daily Claritin I had to take to live with him…):
Yes, there are lots and lots of great bike shops in our city, these are just two of my favorites. Want more info on your local shop? Check here:
chat up other local cyclists here, find out about group rides and events… this is a great place to meet riding buddies to show you the ropes of navigating the mean streets… they’ll be friendlier in no time!
Or just go for a ride with a bunch of new friends! This is a Slow Roll ride from the west side to the lake… Slow Roll is an organization working to get more folks on bikes and better bike access and infrastructure for the south and west sides. Yes!
You can move heavy things… like a cast iron slaw cutter!