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6073Re: Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

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  • Claude Willey
    Jul 26, 2003
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      Hey Bob,

      You are definitely 100% correct that Chicago is the more bike-friendly city
      when compared to L.A. You have pointed out the many reasons why this is so.
      Seems like the place has become kinder to cyclists over time. I lived there
      for years and loved it, cold weather or not. But, some of us have other
      reasons why they live where they live. When talking with James Howard
      Kunstler a few months back via email he asked: "Why do you live in L.A.?" If
      I had responded, it would have been a very long and detailed answer.

      San Fran is another very attractive bike friendly city, but the costs
      associated with living there are frightening. One suggestion, Bob: you may
      want to qualify your "Mexifornia" statement. Could be highly offensive to
      some. I don't think your statement was aimed at the ethnic population, but I
      just thought I'd mention it.

      By the way, where do you live in Chi-town? I lived a few blocks from
      Hermitage and Division and moved out West in 99. I may be back out your way
      when the 2025 water crisis hits. Save me a place in your basement! Just make
      sure the Jardine Water Purification plant is still running.


      Claude Willey wrote:
      > I lived in Chicago for 5 years and rode my bike everywhere, even when it was
      > zero degrees and everyone else was on the CTA.

      Thanks to Chicago Bike Winter http://www.bikewinter.org (started by
      activists from Critical Mass in 1999) there is a formidable and growing
      number of winter cyclists in Chicago. It turns out that winter cycling in
      Chicago isn't really that bad. Usually there are only 10 days between Nov.
      1 and Apr. 30 that have 1" or more of snow. And it is +21F or warmer
      60%-80% of the time.

      > I would say Chicago is a very
      > bike-friendly city, but you do have dense traffic and (on-road) bike lanes
      > that are not maintained or just ignored by motorists.

      I'd say Chicago's bike lanes are very well maintained. Maybe the city
      didn't have a bicycle coordinator when you were there. There is one now and
      he is quite responsive to cyclist complaints about such things. Cagers
      still double park in the bike lanes in some areas, but the police are
      supposed to start enforcing that better. There is a story about it at the
      CBF web site, http://www.biketraffic.org About a week ago a cager a cager
      was driving in the bike lane on Elston and when a cyclist pointed it out to
      a cop, the cop pulled the guy over and gave him a ticket. Like most cities
      Chicago is in a financial bind so ticket revenues are especially attractive.

      Chicago also has about 8,000 bike racks now too.

      > I would get soaked all the time in Chicago
      > and the many careless urban drivers almost did me in more times than I can
      > mention. Los Angeles has great weather and you can use the MTA with your
      > bike (they allow you to place your bike on the front rack of the busses).

      As of June 13 this year all CTA buses have bike racks. We can use them any
      time. We can take our bikes on the L anytime except weekday rush hours.

      Perhaps the best thing about Chicago is the strong bike culture there. The
      Bike Winter program has events like a bicycle art show, bike film festival,
      bike poetry night, a polka ride, a tikki ride, free winter cycling classes,
      and much more. There is now free valet bike parking at big city festival
      events, a big Bike to Work Day Festival, the Bike the Drive ride where Lake
      Shore Drive is closed off in the morning for 15,000 riders, and the L.A.T.E.
      ride where LSD is closed off at night for 10,000 riders. There is the
      Chicago Cycling Club and the Windy City Cycling Club, and of course there is
      the big monthly Critical Mass ride that meets at Daley Plaza the last Friday
      of the month at 5:30pm, which happens to be tomorrow! About 1,000 riders
      are expected.

      Probably the only place I could live in Mexifornia would be San Francisco
      because of the strong bike culture there. I like all the cultural events
      offered by a big city like Chicago-- the free symphonies and festivals,
      dozens of theatres, foreign/indie film venues, ethnic restaurants, literary
      events, etc. New York is too big. Chicago is just right.

      -Bob Matter
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