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LISC Honored During 'Bike to Work' Rally

There are plenty of good reasons to ride bicycles these days, whether to work or anyplace else. Gridlock traffic, exorbitant gas prices and crowded, sometimes unpredictable public transit are just a few. Throw in the exercise factor and pedal power’s a no-brainer.

Cyclists mill about during the June 13 "Bike to Work" rally at Daley Plaza.

Gordon Walek

Such was the consensus at the “Bike to Work” rally at the Daley Center on June 13, when hundreds of cyclists gathered for a series of presentations and events designed to celebrate and encourage traveling on two wheels. Chicago, with 100 miles of bike lanes, 50 miles of bike paths, more than 10,000 bike racks and generally flat terrain, is a bike friendly town. And getting more so every day.

LISC/Chicago was acknowledged for its contributions to BickerBikes, a four-year-old program of Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation and West Town Bikes that teaches Humboldt Park youth how to repair old bikes and use them for the sort of transportation the mayor so heartily endorses.

LISC/Chicago has also been a strong advocate and supporter of Sunday Parkways, in which boulevards in Logan Square, Humboldt Park, East Garfield, North Lawndale and Little Village this fall will be closed to vehicular traffic and available for cycling and pedestrian use.

The June 13 rally culminated “Bike to Work” week, in which a variety of businesses and institutions – the City of Chicago, Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, Whole Foods, Goose Island, Blue Cross Blue Shield, etc. – encouraged people to ride to work.

Anecdotally, cycling to work definitely seems more popular since gas prices skyrocketed.

Gordon Walek

Whether they did or not isn’t clear because, according to the Chicago Tribune, there’s no system currently available to measure bike traffic in the city (though one’s coming). But anecdotal evidence (say, eyeballing the commuter bike traffic on Milwaukee Avenue between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. weekdays) suggests that participation is definitely up.

Among the dignitaries addressing the cyclists was Mayor Richard M. Daley, an avid rider himself, who said he wants to see “more bike trails, especially longer ones in downtown. I hope to get 50 miles, so all of us don’t have to go out to other states to do the 50-mile or 100-mile bike rides that many of us want on the weekends.”

Daley also said he hoped to build more bike stations, presumably similar to the hugely popular one in Millennium Park (secure bike parking, showers and other amenities) not only downtown, but throughout the city.

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Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago connects neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.

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