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RE: Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S.

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  • Claude Willey
    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. I would say Chicago is a very
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 20 10:51 AM
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      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. 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. Moving to California
      in 99 I found biking extremely easy in low-density Irvine, CA where few bike
      for 'transportation' purposes. I now live in Los Angeles, and I'm certain
      that most folks could never imagine this place being a bike-friendly city. I
      would say it is to an extent. I travel all over Los Angeles using a
      Cannondale touring bike (sometimes using my Bike Friday folding bike) and
      though it can sometimes take 2 hours to get to my destination, I feel I have
      quite an interesting lifestyle. 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).
      L.A.'s sister-city Pasadena is also a very bike-friendly city and there is
      almost no bike-theft. Everybody is driving.

      I know that Los Angeles has a problematic future due to its size and its
      resource limitations, but it is a city that is fast becoming
      bicycle-integrated (bit by bit). By no means is it a walking city (on the
      whole), but it is a city suitable for bicycle exploring, travelling and
      commuting. Most of the people who know I live in L.A. without a car think
      I'm totally nuts. But, I have no car payment, no gas expenses, no insurance
      costs, no auto-related expenses, and little stress derived from commuting.
      And, I have a knowledge of the city that few motorists can aquire.

      ---Claude W.
    • Robert J. Matter
      ... 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
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 24 1:07 AM
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        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
        -----------
        "War in Iraq is inevitable. That there would be war was
        decided by North American planners in the mid-1920s.
        That it would be in Iraq was decided much more recently.
        The architects of this war were not military planners
        but town planners. War is inevitable not because of
        weapons of mass destruction, as claimed by the political
        right, nor because of western imperialism, as claimed by
        the left. The cause of this war, and probably the one that
        will follow, is car dependence."
        --Ian Roberts, The Guardian
      • Claude Willey
        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
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 26 9:47 AM
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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.

          ---CW



          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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