Monthly Archive: September 2013

We Bike the 25th Ward

wardcollage.jpg.pngWe have met a few other bike moms in the city, thanks to the chainlink website and forums.  Organizing a kidical mass ride for our neighborhood is my latest project, and Jennifer asked me if we’d like to spread the word at Alderman Solis’ “Bike the 25th Ward” event last Sunday.  First, it was a beautiful day for a ride.  And if you haven’t been to Pilsen, it’s worth a look.  The murals all over the neighborhood are bright, colorful, and thought provoking.

Alderman Solis' Bike the 25th Ward event

Alderman Solis’ Bike the 25th Ward event

So after saying we’d come with flyers, we were asked to ride marshal- I said as long as I don’t have to repair anything, we are in.  We found a smaller group than expected, with plenty of families, babies, and kids on bikes.  Our job was to encourage riders in the middle to stay together and watch out for problems… no problem.

The kids really liked the entertainment from the Redmoon Theater- their “mobile DJ” was amazing.  Bubbles.  Music.  Balls.  Snacks.  The kids were happy to run around at Harrison Park before the ride.Infrastructure-wise, the ride was very pleasant- besides a few bumpy stretches.  Spectators were in a pretty good mood too- an organized ride on a Sunday has a pretty mellow feel (as opposed to a Critical Mass ride, where people in a hurry honk and scowl.)

I was particularly impressed by a group of 6 year old girls who looked like they were having the time of their lives!

I guess the reason ridership was down this year (this was the 4th event, I believe) is because a lot of residents are angry over the demolishing of La Casita in August.  I totally side with the parents on this, and they have my sympathies.  However, if there is an opportunity to get more people out on bikes and comfortable with the idea of bringing families along, I’m in. CPS…  don’t get me started.  I worked for them for 7 years, and in that time we had four CEO’s.  I’ll probably talk about some of my experiences teaching for CPS in the future, but don’t care to digress just now.

Ride to Ravenswood

Today was a go-somewhere for a reason sort of day.  We handed over our keys and transferred the title yesterday and are now sans car.  I feel a little pinch of anxiety at times, even though I’m certain it was the right move to make for our family.  Our Zipcar membership is all set up, I have booked a car for two out-of-town trips coming up, (via Relayrides ) so nothing seems too difficult.  Yesterday, as I rode back from Kenosha to Chicago with my Little Guy falling asleep on my lap, I felt intensely grateful…  We’ve ended up in a great spot in life right now.  We love where we live, I have this amazing opportunity to stay home with my kids and work flexible hours, my husband can keep us comfortable…

Is Ravenswood too far from the South Loop?  On a cargo bike?  Now I know- nope!  It’s a totally doable weekend ride.  We have family up in that area, so we loaded up the Yuba and headed North last Saturday.  I was able to talk my brother-in-law into taking a ride on the back, but not his wife :)  On the ride up, we headed West to Damen and then North, on the way back we took Damen only as far South as Milwaukee and then into the loop, it was a much better ride.  (More cyclists, better lighting, less vacant buildings.)

At Damen and Wellington, there is a well-kept ghost bike memorial I’ve passed many times.  Now I’m going to admit this- before we took to biking all over, when I was primarily a driver, I remember thinking that a lot of these memorials were for daredevils who blew lights, weaved all over the road, and rode recklessly.  My new interest has prompted Googling when we see these, and some quick mental math (20 years young) made me particularly interested in Liza, or “Lil Bit” as it said on the sign.  You can read more about the memorial and the young Loyola student here.

For all the “be carefuls!” I get from pedestrians and drivers, I don’t believe biking is any more dangerous than riding regularly in cars.  It’s hard to say,  an apples-to-oranges kind of deal.  However, I know the numbers…  So far this year, 3 cyclists have been killed, as well as 11 pedestrians.  Number killed in cars: ___  (getting some conflicting data here, will update soon.)

We stick to protected lanes whenever possible, wear bright colors, lights, and ride very defensively and predictably.  So I assure everyone, I am “being careful.”  Thanks for your concern!

Sleeping again! Head slump in the Yepp Maxi…

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imageAugh.  My poor boy… he was tired again.  You can see two things we’e attempted to keep him more comfortable when he dozes off, and I think we’re making progress.  Since I took these photos, someone suggested we make sure his harness is tight and to possibly bind his arms to keep him from leaning forward.  I have a clip on the back of the helmet attached to the back of the Yepp, and I’m pretty satisfied that it is safe, but it isn’t 100% keeping him upright, either.  With this setup, he can look around just fine while awake, and when he falls asleep, he at least stays partway up.  It’s a little too slack, though.  I felt around his straps and it seems the weight is solidly on his forehead, no extra tightness under the chin.

I started asking about Yuba’s “Monkey Bars” but I’m not sold.  It says on the website they’re good for tired kids… but sleeping kids?  I’m not sure. Big boy is still a bit young, I think- he’s scared to ride stoker in front of his sister when we’ve tried at the park.  But… maybe.  Something new to add to the arsenal.   One friend online said it’s more difficult to lift big kids in than to let them climb up, but I’m thinking it will be warmer for Winter, as well.  Since they’re frequently backordered, I’m not even sure I can get them.  Decisions…