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Added Apr 08 2014

Hey there,
I know Logan Square is big on biking and I was wondering if some of you cyclists can share why you choose to bike. Is it economics, hobby, health or environmental? Personally I'd like to see more and safer bike lanes.

  • RaleighsMa Not fauxraged but may contain typos.

    Mental and physical health are the primary reasons for me. It's often times the only opportunity between waking up and going to bed when I have time to myself and to clear my head. It's way more fun than the L and there's no guessing about the commute time. I also get a chance to see what's going on in the neighborhood that I would otherwise miss (i.e., new restaurant openings, art installations, etc.). And, it doesn't hurt to save myself $22.50 to/from work every week.

  • Sophie M Logan Square resident, food fanatic

    I don't really need a car to get around, and biking is my preferred mode of transportation most of the time. It's fun, it's cheaper and often faster than taking the CTA or driving, and it's exhilarating. Plus, I get some exercise on the way to my destination.

  • Lindsey Albany Ave. resident

    It is really the only way I can get around to work in the morning. I work extremely early shifts and CTA isn't really running around my area. I also really enjoy biking, except for parts of this winter. I don't really see the need to own a car or have a license, get a zip car for the days you might need one. It saves a ton of money, I can keep relatively in shape the whole year, no worries about pollution, and faster than most other modes of transportation

  • Jon

    All of the above. I have a car as well, but we try to use it as little as possible. I commute all year long to downtown by bike. It clears your head, it's cheaper and more reliable than transit, and for myself, it's really the only daily exercise I get. We have kids and recently got a cargo bike, so we try to use that as an alternative to driving, but this past winter made it rough.

  • Agreed with all of the above. I've been biking year-round since 1992. I get so used to it that I'm not sure what to do when I actually took the bus a few times this winter. I like it for clearing my head, especially when I go to work at 5:00am - streets are so empty. I mainly use it for commuting, It saves big bucks, especially if you maintain your bike. I'm not a recreational biker though, I think of it only as transportation device.

  • I love biking from Logan Square into downtown- this time of the year,I will take my bike downtown in the early morning on The CTA Blue Line...and then ride home. It's a 5.5 mile ride for me and takes me 30 mins or so. The train from Logan Square to downtown is about 18-20 minutes, I prefer to bike when I can. WATCH OUT for potholes.

  • It's way faster than driving in almost all circumstances. Last summer I biked to Evanston every morning about 20 minutes quicker than I could drive. It's fun. It's exercise.

  • Mr Castro Logan Square resident since 2000

    As for protected lanes it's not Amsterdam or Copenhagen but Chicago is trying in earnest. If you are concerned about riding on the main arteries ride through the back streets. Less stressful and take in the neighborhoods. Also it's so much easier to get anywhere, parking is not a problem and you feel like your flying!

  • It makes me happier. I used to commute 25 minutes by bike and just felt amazing each day, both arriving at work and arriving home at the end of the day. Part of it is just the mental benefit of exercise, but part of it is, as others said, getting to clear your head.

  • Nicole Semple Activist/Architect/Baker

    Hi GF - I bike for all the reasons you listed: hobby, health, economics, environmental. I am happier when I commute by bike, and I feel as if I can do anything after my commute, instead of being lulled to sleep by the train or bus. As silly as it sounds, my bike has empowered me in ways I never imagined. I don't own a car, and don't feel I need to - I can accomplish whatever I need to with my bike trailer or car-sharing. If you'd like to get more involved in advocating for bike lanes and infrastructure in our neighborhood, feel free to contact Bike Walk Logan Square - we're a small group of neighbors advocating and advising alderman on cycling and pedestrian issues:

  • i'll ride a bike if I need to run a quick errand and too tired to walk, and traffic is bad that I don't want to take the car.

  • nick 19-year North Center resident

    Hey, can anyone recommend a route to downtown from Lincoln Square/North Center? I want to bike but to be honest the traffic freaks me out a little bit. Any suggestions for a wannabe biker?

  • I agree with almost everything everyone else says - my commute is generally quicker than the train/bus (plus it's so amazing not to be packed in with tons of people), I feel great when I get to work, I love leaving somewhere whenever I want and not relying on the CTA schedule, and it is really nice to have that time to myself. I also feel like biking is really mentally engaging - there's a lot to be aware of at all times and that part is really quite fun. Plus, it really is a great way to explore the city on a block-by-block level.

  • Sophie M Logan Square resident, food fanatic

    Nick: Approximately what are your coordinates on both ends of your trip? I will gladly recommend a route for your start and end points.

  • And if anyone has suggestions on how to get from Milwaukee to UIC, I'm all ears. I still haven't found anything great (Halsted is the obvious answer, but I've lost more tubes to potholes under the highway than I care to count). I've been taking Damen/Jackson, but it'd be nice to get something a little faster.

  • nick 19-year North Center resident

    Thanks Sophie. Irving/Western to Madison/Wells. Being a father of three my main concern is I don't want to be riding down Western! Thanks again.

  • Sophie M Logan Square resident, food fanatic

    Nick, if you're not averse to meandering routes, here's one recommendation.

    Byron east to Hoyne. Hoyne south to Wellington. Wellington east to Damen. Damen south to Crystal. Crystal east to Wolcott. Wolcott south to Erie. Erie (I prefer Erie to Hubbard through this stretch because there's a light at Ashland) east to Noble. Noble south to Hubbard. Hubbard east to Green. Green south to Kinzie. Kinzie east to Des Plaines. Des Plaines south to Monroe (Monroe is a lot calmer than Washington, IMHO). Monroe east to Wells.

    Allow 15-20 minutes more than you think you'll need the first time you ride to work. Experiment with different side streets. Be careful, and have fun!

  • nick 19-year North Center resident

    Awesome...Thanks again Sophie. I will give it a go and just plan on an hour plus the first time.

    Next question: Can anyone out there recommend a bike shop to help convert my ancient Klein mountain bike to a city commuter?

  • Lindsey Albany Ave. resident

    I highly recommend comrade cycles on Chicago ave. The guys there are very helpful and will tell you the real deal. It's also a worker owned shop and they are very commuter friendly. 1908 w. Chicago ave!!

  • I would love to start riding my bike all over but the traffic intimidates me. And then I worry about my bike getting stolen. People somehow steal bikes even though it's chained up. How do you lock your bike up properly? And how do you get over your anxiety of riding along with traffic??? If I can get over that, I would definitely use my car and the CTA way less!!!

  • Lucy,

    Regarding locks: Go with a heavy-duty chain and a U-lock. Use the chain to lock the rear wheel to the rack/post/what-have-you. Make sure it goes through the wheel AND the frame. Use the U-lock to lock the front wheel to the frame.

    It's clunky and a lot extra to carry around, but here's the deal with bike thieves: All a lock does is delay them. But the longer the delay, the less attractive the prospect. So when your well-locked bike is next to the bike hooked onto the rack with a safety-pin and a prayer, the thieves have a pretty easy decision.

    Also ride the side streets at first. Get comfortable on those, and then start hitting the heavier traffic. Have fun with it!

  • Thanks Tom! Breaking it down for me like that makes it doable. That's my goal for the summer.

  • Today, I rode from Logan Square at 4AM into downtown- a strong wind in my face from the south/southwest, which I hope will make the ride home a breeze (so to speak), Very few potholes on Milwaukee which was my direct route into the loop..and the bike lanes past Grand Ave have some new runway lights designating the bike lane.... 5.5 miles, 30 minutes. I smiled as I saw my usual Blue Line Train pass the Western Stop...Thanks for the inspiration EVERY BLOCK!

  • Nicole Semple Activist/Architect/Baker

    Lucy - another good way to try biking without as much liability is Divvy. You can get more familiar with the streets in short increments (30 minutes), and then you'll feel more comfortable taking your own bike out. Remember - it's supposed to be fun! Another great organization is Chicago Bike Buddies, who are experienced riders that help new rider get comfortable:

  • Jon

    If you are just getting into biking, I'd recommend easing into it by riding less busy streets and preferably ones with bike lanes.
    Stay off Western, Ashland and Fullerton. But don't let the fact that there's a bike lane give you a false sense of security either. Always pay attention to everything around you and after a while you will start to develop great peripheral vision and spidey sense for what's ahead. I always assume the person in front of me is going to pull a no look turn into a parking spot, or the pedestrian on the sidewalk is going to dart across the street in between cars, etc. I'd also recommend favoring the street and traffic as opposed to park cars with the possibility of being doored. At least someone driving behind you will see you, where the person opening their door will not. You will get more comfortable every day you ride. Pedestrians are also more unpredictable and you have to give them the right of way. I honestly believe the lake path is more dangerous in the summer than any city street. But if you can get south of Navy Pier, it's an awesome ride. Also one more bit of advice for bike theft, if you have to lock your bike to a street sign, make sure it is securely bolted to the ground and not loose. Thieves will loosen some sign poles and when you lock your bike up to it, they can just pull out the pole, get your bike and return the pole for the next victim. Give biking a shot, and maybe Divvy is the way to go at first. I feel like it's going to be a gateway drug for a lot of potential bikers. Also wear a helmet.

  • Thanks everyone for your advice and suggestions. I think I will start with Divvy and stop by a bike shop to get a proper fitting helmet

  • I took a few pics on my ride home today- despite a little rain, It felt so good NOT to take the train...and the money I saved was lunch money- I stopped and got a Cuban Sandwich for the price of my train ride.... feel free to look at the pictures and leave comments if you want.

  • Maz ethnic/cabaret accordionist, bungalow owner

    Economics, health and environment. I bike to work weather-permitting, an 8-mile ride each way. Last year I saved about $400. Every summer I get toned and buffed up. By September I'm looking pretty hot. And, it allows me to indulge my inner judgmental teenager. "Lookit me! I'm not polluting! Plus, I'm not gonna steal your parking space!"

  • Mark Rector Logan Square and loving it!

    I biked to work in the Loop today from Logan Square. Such a lovely ride!

  • I've actually been thinking about why I bike, since I was mugged while on my bike last September, but it hasn't deterred me from biking around the city. I don't know if this makes me insane, but it all comes down to the fact that it's fun and improves my quality of life. I'm definitely more careful about choosing my routes and more wary of my surroundings since.

    1. It makes me really happy
    2. It's earth-friendly
    3. I hate having to look for parking
    4. Predictable travel time (often taking the same amount of time or less than taking the CTA)
    5. It saves money

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