Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chicago: More commuters choose to pedal

Image of crowded bike rack at Metra station
From the Chicago Tribune, 06.14.08:

More commuters choose to pedal right past pumps
When Chris Glynn's Ford Explorer was totaled in an accident last year, his first thought was to replace it with another Ford, or maybe a Honda, for daily commutes and trips to the store. But after browsing car lots and watching the numbers at the gas station roll higher and higher, he turned to a different option: his bicycle.

"Given the way gas prices were going, the way traffic is, the difficulty of parking, I realized a car just wasn't that cost-effective," said Glynn, 41, a 5th-grade teacher in Bucktown. "So I never got around to buying another car."

To judge by the packs of cyclists streaming down Milwaukee Avenue every morning, the overstuffed bike racks at suburban train stations and the cash registers of area bike shops, many in the Chicago area appear to be choosing life in the bike lane this summer.

Bike shop owners around the region say business is booming, including sales of commuter-style bikes and accessories—baskets, racks and attire-protecting fenders—that suggest uses that are as much functional as fun. Requests for service are also up. (Read more.)
Great report from Chicago, where last week's Bicycle Commuter Challenge attracted 8,000 new commuters at 350 companies, an increase from last year's 205 participants. Bike lanes are crowded, bike shop sales are booming, and bike racks at the region's Metra transit stations are overflowing.

The Tribune website features several related stories, including a helpful bicycle commuting how-to, based on insights from local cyclists.

Image: Chicago Tribune.
Visit: Chicagoland Bicycle Federation
Visit: Elburn promoting biking to train station, The Beacon News
Visit: Chicago: Commuter Challenge promotes bicycling, Bike Commuting Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


John in calgary said...

I can't help but wonder where all the bikes will go when the first cool snap hits Chicago this fall. Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself. It will be a glorious summer for riding on two wheels!

saha said...

is it only chicago that experiences a change in bike commuter counts when temperatures (and wind chills) drop to frigid temps? i think overall this is great news! traffic is horrendous and only continues to get worse as the summer road construction intensifies.

Bernt said...

I think biking is a great way to help save the environment in addition to relieving traffic! I have made a list of other small things we can do to help save the environment on my site. Have a look if you're interested!

Paul Dorn said...

Where will the bikes go in cold weather? Many will keep riding. See:
In Chicago winter, hardy cyclists keep riding.

Anonymous said...

As a society, we spend billions to make our roads safe and comfortable to users however hostile the weather may be...why not the same treatment for cycling commuters? Main routes should be designed to provide better drainage, safety features, etc., Perhaps in cold climates, roofs over paths and timely snow plowing services. In Chicago, the elevated el lines should be used this way where appropriate.