The Chainlink

I splurged and got myself a brand new bike with my very limited funds last summer- I'm glad I did.  I am a victim of the recession.  I have nothing but a room to stay in in Uptown until I find proper employment.  Life is hell here- we had a SWAT team after some fugitives barricaded themselves in a building nearby earlier this week and we were all warned to stay indoors and away from windows.  There are shootings constantly- 3 more people were just shot a mere 1/2 hour ago.  I heard the hail of gunfire in my room.  I have a college education, I worked full time for many years before this slump- never had much but a good bike was always in my possession.  Thank goodness, I can get on that bike and be in Boystown, Anersonville or Ravenswood in 10 minutes.  Totally different worlds- and safety.  Just my little homage to my very loved two wheeled freedom.  I love my bike.

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I understand. I biked through Wilson and Broadway that day, it was very surreal. I moved to Uptown last summer, haven't heard shots near my apartment, but I tend to avoid spending any time near Wilson/Broadway. The only reason good enough to be around there is to get to Uptown bikes.

Amber.  In April of last year, I gave a two week notice for the job I had.  They escorted me out of the building that day.  lol.  The next day I went and bought my bike and have been in love ever since.  Ah freedom.

That's a bummer of a story, but a good twist with the magic carpet that whisks you away to all the better places and moments.

Happy Riding! Soon it will be a ride to work, from a nicer apartment. 

Amber,

I love the way your avatar brightens up the main chainlink page!

-h'

lol, my quitting was a necessary thing, not a luxury.  These things happen and that is why a good goal is 6 months living expenses saved.  It will take me awhile to get back up there, but I am enjoying the ride!

Amber said:

Although I lost my job- didn't have the luxury of quitting during this recession!  I had a low wage position at a local arts center. Paid shit and barley insured, however it was a really fun place to work and I met some very, very exceptional people.

+1

I agree. 

Jeff Schneider said:

I hope you get the opportunity to see some of the good things in Uptown.  I've been here a few years and have never loved anyplace more.  It is diverse, fun, bike-friendly (compared to most of Chicago), and as you pointed out, a great base for bike travel all around the North Side.

As a fellow Uptown resident I hope you also bought one or more high quality locks. ;)

Yay! post of pic of that sweet ride! Where did you get it? How was the buying experience? How do you keep it safe in Uptown?

It's not just Uptown, but stay warm and safe.

I live in Ravenswood, on the west side of the Metra tracks.  I've been riding through Uptown for the past 11 years on my way to and from the lake front.  

More than a few times local resident school kids have thrown eggs at me.

Several times and typically early in the morning, local teens have stepped in the street in front of me while riding through and have mimed shooting me.  Nice.  

I usually get some epithets thrown my way and it doesn't matter which bike I'm riding nor how I'm dressed.

I have a lot of choice words for Uptown but I'll just say it's not really my favorite part of Chicago.

Like any Chicago "community area," Uptown has some good spots and some not-so-good spots, and I think it does a neighborhood a disservice to make negative generalizations.

That said, not too long ago I tried playing with an Orchestra that met on Lawrence about 5 blocks east of Broadway.  Each time I made that walk between the red line station and the rehearsal location (carrying a rather expensive instrument) I felt a little dumber for putting myself in that situation.  Ultimately I quit, mostly due to the distance I needed to travel to get there, but in significant part due to fear.

I am not doubting the veracity of your observations-- only suggesting that it may not be fair to cast as wide a net as the entire community area when discussing them.

In terms of cycling, I would always hope to see the most prepared and educated body of cyclists possible, so I think it would be more useful to identify specific streets or intersections when discussing problems with harassment or aggression. Otherwise the message people might take away is "don't ride a bike in Uptown." Considering many readers live in Uptown, and many others have to traverse it on their commutes to keep the distance reasonable, that's a little like telling people not to ride at all.

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