Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There's a Water Taxi to Chinatown

This may not be news, but at least on the weekends and holidays there is a $4 per person (3 years old +) water taxi that leaves from under the new Trump Tower (old Sun-Times building) downtown and goes to Chinatown every half hour. Here's their site. The little yellow boat gives you great views of the city, the headquarters of an unknown evil genius at 301 Taylor, the giant field and scrubland that ought to be a park near River City, and gets you to a fun place and back quickly. Or from a fun place to the center of town.  We are always happy to find another way to get around the city and this one is really fun for everybody in the family. And you can take your bikes!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CRITICAL parts failure is a MASSive Adventure

We had quite a time on the Critical Mass tonight, stretching from the Loop through Boystown and on to Uptown, down Argyle and up Sheridan on a terrific route with lots of new and old friends. Even our neighbors downstairs took the ride. The air was just warm enough and we had a surfeit of snacks and chocolate to keep everyone chipper even though they weren't on their own bikes. Argyle was tempting us with a late, after Mass, Vietnamese supper as we passed along.

Unfortunately, at Hollywood and Kenmore, ten and a half miles from home, the sprocket sprang off the rebuilt Nexus 8 hub we keep whining about, then the roller brakes failed on that wheel. Both of these things have happened before. Perfect timing. I took the bike apart as best as I could with an adjustable wrench on the sidewalk, but I couldn't get to the

Monday, May 23, 2011

Biking the Drive Family Style

Bike the Drive is coming right up this weekend, early Sunday the 29th. If you are wondering if it might be fun but have never given it a go this could be the year to try it.  We've had a great time each year with everything from a little baby on the back of a bike to the whole crew mixed on their own bikes and riding on ours.  Our guys love the feeling of having an expedition that they get by sneaking out of bed early and taking to Lakeshore drive in the morning air with no cars. 

We've had the best time taking it easy and enjoying the feeling of having the road all to bikes -- not being in a rush to get from the top to the bottom of the route. It's good to know that

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Metal Guys Strike Back

Well, it turns out that the Gods of the Prolerizer didn’t smile on our recent blog post as much as we were hoping. We were headed out on Friday morning to facilitate the Bike Train to school and I went to put the

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here Comes The Terrible Swede

We'll be at the Tillie Anderson celebration tomorrow and then Friday at the family riding

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicago Ride Of Silence

Tomorrow the 18th of May is the Annual Ride of Silence, an international celebration of the many cyclists around the world who have lost their lives in bicycling accidents. As we ride the city, the boys know the Ghost Bikes that we often pass.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Boobs Barf and Bikes: First Rides With a Baby

I've been coming across more pieces on biking with babies these days. Usually these articles come with pictures of sweetly sleeping or calmly happy infants, so cute, riding placidly along. I think that choosing when to ride with your whenever-old baby is your own special decision and that's not my topic. I have ridden with three babies of varied ages now and I think it's good to consider that anything with an idyllic picture of an adorable quiet baby / sexy new mom blissed out in a bike periodical can be viewed with a healthy skepticism or just a good laugh. Real life can be a little messier sometimes. 
Riding with small people is really fun and no big deal, but also different from being on your own. Traveling on a bike the first few times is a new experience for any parent and sometimes it can be a little like Mr. Bean with a baby. Here are a few suggestions about taking those first few rides no matter how old the baby, as if you haven't gotten enough already.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Agony of the Chin Strap Pinch

A friend who has taken up riding with her three kids on a new Madsen stopped me today to ask if there was any way to avoid  the dreaded chin strap pinch. Hurrying to leave the house she was helmeting her youngest when the wailing began. Ooops.
Lucky it was just a low grade - all tears and no bite. She just wonders if there is a way to adjust the strap so that it never happens...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ask Not for Whom the Prolerizer Tolls

After we leave the big kids at school we often find ourselves pedaling east toward the lake and passing through the industrial strip that runs between Elston and Clybourn, where Finkl and Sons Steel pours huge glowing vats of metal into sparking cauldrons (and nearly runs us down with its Finklmobiles) and where a few other companies put the rubber on the road where it comes to recycling.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Our favorite rickshaw

We pass this bike on our way to school on one of our routes.  It's a favorite of the kids'. We've never seen it out on the road and always seems to be there when we pass. Our guys just want to go for a ride in it. Has anyone ever seen it out on the road?

The other rickshaw we usually see is in Uptown in front of Uptown Bikes. We've never seen that one out either but we're keeping our eyes out just in case. We think that one gets out on the road on special occasions.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Without love from Amsterdam

As you may have seen we hit the waves yesterday on the twitter feeds for Amsterdamize and Copenhagenize. Today we're on the Fietsnieuws Krant. Very surprising!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Dutch" Bikes - build 'em yourself - take 2

from this...
to this for about $400 using new parts

OK, so everybody and their sister is writing blogs about how great Dutch bikes are. Here's a list of some. "They're great, great, great!"  Some people call them Danish bikes. Actually, they use the same things in Germany, too, and probably most of northern Europe. They also used to use them in England. People don't throw them away so it's pretty common to find 60 or 70 year old bikes in regular use.

These practical, durable, heavy city bikes really are great for urban year round transportation.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Dutch Bikes" - build 'em yourself

Hello, and thank you for linking to Chicargobike. Many people are coming to our site from the Amsterdamize twitter feed. We are a family biking blog based in Chicago, where we take our 3 kids and ourselves most places by bicycle. Chicago is not a very friendly place to do this - we don’t have cycletracks, we have only a few painted bike lanes compared to other US cities like New York, and few children or retirees ride their bikes. We try to encourage other people here in Chicago to get on a bike they like and ride somewhere. 

So have a look around, enjoy our site, and leave a comment if you’d like.

The post which you are looking for from the link is here. The first few comments are below this post. As you will see if you read it, there are stereotypes about Dutch bikes on the post (heavy, steel, skirtguards, locks that are useless in Chicago...), and also links to modern manufacturers’ sites that expose these stereotypes (Azor, Gazelle, Batavus...). We do say, without a shred of evidence, that it rains in Holland. Sorry. And we forgot to mention the tulips and cheese, so here they are now.

Come ride in Chicago sometime.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Night Ride Home

We had a spring night ride on Friday's Critical Mass. Remembering the cold last month neither of our big guys wanted to take their own bikes yet, loaded up with some books and snacks, they wanted to do the ride on the tandem or in the box bike. Off we all went in the warm air. After a run south, and along the west side the ride turned east and we ended up at the beach off of Fullerton. Much warmer than March, April's ride was also far more populous. The view from the beach of the night city was beautiful. Green Lake Michigan waves roiled beyond the edges of the Lake Front Path. Soon those empty beaches will be filled with people but Friday it was just us and a few other stragglers heading home in the glow.