The Chainlink

It doesn't exist yet, but it will. And I really think that it could be awesome.

 

The impatient side of me wants to do it in September, but I know, deep down inside, this is a springtime thing (unless we want to start off with an intermediate-riders' Bike Winter class).

 

I am thinking it'd be a month, maybe a couple classes, a couple days a week for maximum attendance, maybe after spring break (when's that?). Maybe more than a couple teachers. Maybe more than a couple meeting spots. One on the north side, one on the west side, etc. Field trips, show-and-tells, speakers...

 

The whole month of May (or whenever it happens to be) could be completely freckled with newbie events and one great big calendar to tie them all together. Feel like you're especially confident and competent about something? Some area of the city? Something important to cycling? Listen up!

 

This would be a practical course with practical lessons like:

-How to put your bike on a bus/hours to ride the trains (I'm thinking a field trip to somewhere the busses sit)

-General etiquette in the streets and on the Lakefront Path

-How to change a flat. Maybe in conjunction with West Town and/or The Recyclery?

-List or map of seasoned cyclists' favorite N/S, E/W quiet streets to ride. Maybe a group ride taking one or three of them (North side ex: Wolcott, Ravenswood, Glenwood, Kenmore/Winthrop, Ardmore to the Lakefront Path...)

-What to do/who to call if you are injured

-And more

 

It would also be sortof an intro to the cycling community with information like:

-Intro to TheChainlink.org

-Intro to the need-to-know organizations like Break The Gridolck and Active Trans.

-A handout w/blurbs of the various mass rides and significant annual rides (which means we might have to lock in some dates earlier in the year)

-A North Side (and others) Crit Mass (and maybe the "final" is downtown CCM?) and Crit Mass etiquette, a Kidical Mass for the parents

-Where are the bicycle-friendly establishments?

 

I'm thinking that it would be awesome to have an event with speakers, people who have something to present or something to say. Speakers from organizations. People who can testify from personal experience to NOT do something like, wear flipflops while riding, not wearing your helmet, carry a grocery bag on your handlebars (which I recently learned), etc.

 

My vision for this class is an opportunity for real Chicago cyclists to find and take the would-bes under their collective wing and to show them how much fun we are, and how much fun it is, who we are and how wonderful the community is.

 

Teachers must be fun, competent, unjudgemental, and remember (or at least kinda understand) what it's like to be a driver, a commuter, or what it's like to be new.

 

So I guess the questions I have are:

1) When is Spring break over?

2) Who might be interested in leading a class?

3) How likely is it that I could get funding for this from BTG or Active Trans or West Town or someone for getting things like tire levers and blinkies and stuff?

4) What things already exist that might belong on this calendar?

5) What goes on the cirriculum?

6) Has anyone ever seen a Bicycle Rodeo?

7) Can anyone think of any catchy names for the calendar? Acronyms?

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What?

What "what?"

The idea is that the cyclists of Chicago find the people who want to be cyclists in Chicago and include them in a lot of fun and educational events. 

I've heard from more than a few people that they want to ride their bike but have a bunch of excuses. I'm thinking this might be the thing.

Count me in to take groups on rides in traffic.
If you want to get a jump on this now on a small scale, you can teach classes on Dabble - www.dabblehq.com.
I would be interested in leading a class.  Preferably in the spring when I can have a freewheel bike built with functional mechanical hand lever brakes.  I also have some personal experience on winter tips to help beat the slippery slush when out on the road!
But, then they'll need to come up with a whole new set of excuses.

Jera Sue said:

 

I've heard from more than a few people that they want to ride their bike but have a bunch of excuses. I'm thinking this might be the thing.

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