Results for category "Bike-Friendly"

13 Articles

Racking up the save: Mike Honnold

Recycled Northwood's Mall rack at Studios on Sheridan. Thank the man in the Caterpillar cap.

Recycled Northwoods Mall rack at Studios on Sheridan. Thank the man in the Caterpillar cap.

He’s a former president of the Illinois Valley Wheelm’n and creator of Peoria’s bicycle-rack locator, wherestherack.org. His bike advocacy efforts both preceded and informed those of Bike Peoria. And now he’s moving to Georgia.

So here’s a picture of Mike Honnold at Studios on Sheridan behind Broken Tree Coffee–and the story of the Great Northwoods Mall Rack Migration of 2015.

“We were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping at the mall, and I noticed the older bicycle racks had been replaced by a new, smaller style. The only reason I recognized the change was due to the fact I’d already mapped out the racks at our www.wherestherack.org website and was familiar with the facility.

“When I got back home, I researched online and found e-mail and phone contacts for Northwoods Mall. I immediately contacted the manager, and she let me know that the racks were only days away from being scrapped out, but they’d be saved back if I could move them within a few days.

“Bushwhacker had some storage space at their warehouse on the north side of Peoria, so we were able to quickly move the racks until better plans could be made for their final placement. There were six racks originally, but in order to make four good ones, we borrowed parts off the others.”

There you go: renewed life for old bicycle racks, all thanks to a guy who believes in keeping his eyes open.

I believe down South, that makes him a peach.

Rack ’em up at 1) Peoria Brewing Company, 8012 N. Hale Avenue; 2) TNT’s Sports Bar and Grill, 4319 N Prospect Road; 3) Peoria Heights Suburban Lions Club Park; and 4) Studios on Sheridan, 929 N. Sheridan Road.

Click here for more background on wherestherack.org.

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Four things a bicycle expert can do to help a friend

Originally posted January 2015 on 16incheswestofpeoria.wordpress.com.

Picnic setup outside of a village shop in Newcastle, County Tipperary, Ireland. Photo taken by Julian Westerhout during a tandem tour, August 1, 2014.

Picnic setup outside of a village shop in Newcastle, County Tipperary, Ireland. Photo taken by Julian Westerhout during a tandem tour, August 1, 2014.

The worst axiom in English may be, “It’s just like riding a bicycle; you never forget.” The problem is many people think they know how to ride a bicycle, but a lot of them are wrong.

Riding a bicycle is more than balancing a bicycle long enough to move forward. It’s also riding a bicycle on the right side of the street, which in the United States is, ding-ding-ding, the right side of the street.

(By the way, how much do you really know about riding a bicycle?)

Given the number of United Statesians who ride on the left side of the street, a more accurate saying would be, “It’s just like riding a bicycle; the less you’re willing to learn, the less likely it is that anyone can convince you you’re doing it wrong.”

At the same time, it’s possible to know too much, especially when it comes to helping someone with a bicycle issue. That’s right: Your big bike brain can work against you.

What to do?

  1. Understand the problem. If your friend doesn’t ride because the chain is jammed against the chain stay, but you think your friend doesn’t ride because your friend doesn’t have a $10,000 bicycle, the two of you aren’t working on the same problem. Use the most important tools you have: your ears.
  2. Maintain friend-speed at all times. I don’t know your level of expertise. Maybe you move households with your cargo bike. Maybe your riding goal for this year is 75,000 miles. It doesn’t matter. What matters is helping, not overwhelming, your friend. If your friend wants to ride to a store three miles away, ride to the store with your friend–don’t invite your friend to next week’s double metric century.
  3. Check the tires. If I could wave a magic wand, everyone who buys a bicycle would buy a pump at the same time because bicycle tires lose air way faster than car tires. But since I don’t have a magic wand and you have a pump, offer to air the tires. If your friend only rides once in a while, your friend will be amazed by the difference.
  4. Make sure the saddle and seat post are securely attached. Most of the time, the problem with nuts and bolts isn’t that they fail, it’s that they come loose. A saddle that was at the right angle tips and slides backward; a seat post slides into the frame. Readjust and secure both items, and your friend will be more comfortable—and more likely to ride.

Now this might be where you say, “But there are a lot more ways to help a friend with a bicycle. There’s adjusting brakes and derailleurs, fine-tuning the person’s fit on the bike, teaching a person how to work on a bicycle, getting a friend to ride more often, encouraging a friend to get stronger, faster. And what about clothes?”

Here’s where I say, first thing, you’ve got the big bike brain. You may be right. Second thing, you’ve got the big bike brain; you may be wrong.

The only way to move forward is to weigh your enthusiasm for the bicycle against your friend’s interest in the bicycle. You have to keep everything in balance.

It is, after all, just like riding a bicycle.

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It’s not about the bicycle; it’s about the infrastructure

Originally published March 24, 2011 on 16incheswestofpeoria.wordpress.com.

I enjoy the technology of the bicycle: the machinery that makes self-propelled travel possible; the machinery that an average owner can maintain at reasonable cost with a few simple tools. Moreover, I really enjoy how that technology has been steadily improving over the past 40 years.

But I don’t need the latest and greatest equipment. A bicycle is still a bicycle: it’s not going to pedal itself.

In fact, you could argue that the general outline of the machine – a seat here, handlebars there, equal-sized, air-filled tires and rear wheel drive – was settled in the 1890s, though you have to admit that 120 years of refinement have made bicycling way more enjoyable.

Today’s tires are lighter, livelier and more durable. Frames are more precisely constructed, with similar results. Brakes are easier to adjust and maintain. Multi-gear systems match the rider’s limited power to a wide range of wind and road conditions.

There’s only one potential problem with today’s road bicycle, and that’s the environment in which it is (or isn’t) operated. What we’re talking about is infrastructure: the existence and quality of bicycle-friendly roads, paths, trails and parking. Bicycle access.

Some locations have better infrastructure than others. Sometimes it’s by design, a conscious decision to introduce improvements; more often, it’s the result of benign neglect. In other words, they haven’t screwed up a good thing yet.

Erik & DanielleFor instance, a city that simply continues to support and extend a 19th-century street grid is likely to have a mix of high-speed and low-speed roads, with more or less traffic on certain streets. Chances are good that people riding bicycles in that city can 1) find a route that suits their comfort level and 2) use that route to get to the places they want to go.

Rural areas have their possibilities, too, especially for recreational riding. For instance, farmers in central Illinois and other states have long been the reason behind the continued existence of the paved and lightly traveled roads that are so amenable to bicycle travel. I’ve used farm roads to comfortably ride from Appleton, Wisconsin, to Peoria and from Peoria to southern Indiana and to central and southwestern Missouri.

Such roads are one of the reasons that Illinois can promote the Mackinaw Valley Trail, a combination of on-road and off-road connections.

Unfortunately, there’s no natural law that ensures bicycle-friendly areas remain bicycle friendly. Many communities, including Peoria, abandoned the grid in the 1950s and 1960s in favor of a cul-de-sac planning mentality that eliminated low-traffic, low-speed connectors in favor of dead-end neighborhoods tied to high-traffic arterials.

Similarly, some rural roads were summarily bisected by interstate highways, reducing local travel options for all road users.

And that’s a shame. When you damage the diversity of a transportation system – a diverse system being one that addresses the needs of pedestrians and people on bicycles as well as other travelers – it’s difficult to re-establish it.

Just as we tend to forget what an area looked like before an historic specimen oak was cut down, we tend to forget the travel options available to our predecessors, but denied to ourselves. Moreover, people can sometimes confuse the status quo with its desirability, such as when Illinois Representative Joe Walsh said one reason to question the cost effectiveness of high-speed rail was the idea that Americans love their cars.

That’s not to say we don’t love our cars. But a lot of Americans really don’t have any transportation choices besides the car. It’s like two people stranded on a island. Yes, they might love each other, but it’s just as possible that they would have liked to consider some other options before settling down.

That’s what bicycling can and should be: another transportation option. And that’s why having the most advanced bicycle derailleurs, wheels and frameset just isn’t all that interesting to me. You can improve the bicycle all you want, but at the end of the day, you need access.

You need bicycle-friendly infrastructure, which depends on a society that values transportation diversity.

What you don’t need is someone’s stereotypically romantic assessment of the relationship between car driver and car. What you don’t need is “love.”

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Take me to your Reader. Erik Reader

Erik_Reader_0029-2In 2013, Erik Reader wrote about walking in Pekin, specifically walking to the grocery store–a simple task 100 years ago but more challenging in the 21st century due to consolidation in the food industry. (The fact that we call it an industry points out another change in the grocery business.) Consolidation–the loss of the corner grocery store–reduced the number of stores, increasing the distance between people and their grub.

A walkable catchment, or ‘ped shed,’ maps the area one is willing to walk to get to their destination is a good tool for looking at the reality of the situation,” he wrote in 2013. “A 1/4 mile radius equals 5 minutes and a 1/2 mile radius equals 10 minutes. Generally, once you get out of that range you’re more prone to taking something more convenient than your own two hooves.

He walked 14 minutes that day and turned that walk into a question for his readers: How far would you walk for food? It was a rhetorical question–the answer is pretty clear: Most people will walk to their car.

And today, it will take them about as long to drive to the store as one hundred years ago it took to walk–which can be discouraging if you think about it long enough.

Perhaps, say, during a walk.

Today, Reader, president of Bike Peoria, continues to exercise shank’s mare, but organizationally he’s more focused on travel by bicycle, a form of transportation with its own unique challenges. “Personally I’d rather have a walking movement and more walkable communities, but that’s not as exciting as biking. Walking number one, biking number two, bus and train three followed by driving.”

And that’s why we met at Two25 downtown to talk about bicycles and Bike Peoria, not about walking and Schnucks. The pizza was pretty good, too.

Tell me a bit about the Bike Peoria journey.

We really hesitated from making this a formal organization for such a long time because of existing membership groups trying to get people to ride bikes. Additionally, there were so many different people with such a variety of different viewpoints involved, which gave us many directions to consider.

150We think we’re filling a gap where other organizations weren’t quite tackling the advocacy side of things. So we were able to insert ourselves immediately into something that wasn’t there. But with doing that comes expectations, some fair, some otherwise, but things had to be more organized for the sake of growing the movement.

To me, it seems like there’s still that traditional consensus that things have to be organized in a manner that other people can understand for them to participate, donate, etc. And so you can answer questions like, “What does a more bike-friendly Peoria look like and what areas are you serving?” You have to be able to explain the mission and vision–aside from we all like to ride our bikes and be around other people who ride bikes.

So we took a lot of raw energy and formalized it, which is interesting with a lot of creative different minds and personalities. You have people who just want to get out and ride, people who really just want to do advocacy work, and other people who want to work on bikes.

Getting the foundation built is extremely important for sustaining success, but it’s not much fun. We’ve done a bunch of legal, financial and planning stuff behind the scenes. I’m a glutton for punishment.

962Yes, Bike Peoria now has legal non-profit status. What does that mean?

bike peoria logo smallOur non-profit status legitimizes and adds credibility to the movement, but it also allows people to donate to us and get that tax exemption, just like when you drop off a bunch of clothes at Goodwill. We are able to apply for grants for bike-related infrastructure, host events, and receive funding which will keep the wheels of progress moving.

So the focus is the city of Peoria?

For simplicity’s sake I think we have to focus on Peoria, but that’s not to say we shouldn’t care about other areas. Even from an advisory standpoint it helps to be in the mix. Some of us live in different cities and work in fields professionally that could help make changes possible.
For example, two of our board members work for the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. Our eyes and ears are open to things going on around the region, but because there’s so few of us we have to concentrate our efforts at the moment.

What are your hopes for 2015?

A couple of well-structured events that have Bike Peoria continuing to collaborate with other organizations and get more people on their bikes for everyday purposes. A big opportunity is the Bike Peoria Co-op, and we’re trying to program that with more workshops and educational activities.

The city-wide bicycle master plan should be completed, but the biggest thing I want to see is the public works department continue to implement some of the things we’ve wished would happen. Things like bike lanes, signage and racks. Slow progress is what needs to be made. Continuing to build off each year’s progress is going to be crucial the next four to five years.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I was always riding my bike as a kid. To practice, a friend’s house or downtown where I grew up in Geneva.

However, spending a semester abroad in the Netherlands kind of shaped what I thought could be possible. It was something of a novelty to me 10 years ago, but later I recognized how the way they did things could transform how you function daily.Leeuwarden

They made a decision, in the sixties, not to be so car-reliant, and when I was living there I didn’t have a car. It was easy to walk everywhere. When we first got into town they showed us where we could rent a bike. For $25 you could rent a bike for the semester. You could ride to the bar, ride to school. It was natural.

They also had great public transportation in their bus and train systems. It made it almost effortless to not have to get into a car. There, we used a car maybe five times in five months. Here, people use the car for every little occasion, whether it’s going to the grocery store or getting your hair cut.

You live in Pekin but you’re working on Peoria. Why?

Even crazier is that I moved from Dallas to Pekin to work in Peoria. My wife is from Pekin and the transition there made sense at the time. Peoria has its issues as a post-industrial city but still has many assets. I see it as a blank canvas to work on with a lot of things. 

In Pekin I tried, but we’re not there yet. Culturally speaking that is. They’re working on Court Street right now, they have a trail going out to the east part of town. Pekin’s known for the park system, but they haven’t figured how to connect all the dots with an overriding leisure and recreational lifestyle with infrastructure that builds it into your everyday life.

So when there was activity about starting up a group like this in Peoria, I wanted to get involved. People are the ones to push policy makers to understand its importance. For me, it’s not about hating cars but simply trying to build more equitable, easy-to-get-around cities.

How can someone get involved in Bike Peoria?

We can get you plugged in to where you want to be, whether it’s planning an event, raising awareness, working on bikes or leading a ride. The public is welcome to come to our first Tuesday meet-ups where we talk business and bikes. Visit us virtually at bikepeoria.org, then email us at bikepeoria@gmail.com. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to join the conversation.

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The Chain Link: The League Of American Bicyclists

Under links we like, we have to start with the one that has been working the hardest to make biking in American cities a reality – The League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists

Amongst all of the things they do, the League promotes bike-friendly communities across America. What is that exactly?

Bicycle Friendly Communities

Bicycling is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges. It’s an opportunity to make your community a vibrant destination for residents and visitors — a place where people don’t just live and work, but thrive.

For more information, please check out The League of American Bicyclist website here.

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How Bikes Can Save Us

We here at Bike Peoria enjoy the simplicity of riding a bike, but we also love technology. Infographics are changing the way we look at things, and they’re doing it in such an appealing way. Let’s start with this one.

Transportation alone accounts for 20% of an American family’s budget, the 2nd biggest cost after housing [STUDY]. Easily one of man’s best inventions and most underutilized inventions, the bicycle can help us Americans save: money,  lives, and ourselves from one of man’s other greatest inventions – the automobile.

This infographic puts it all into perspective that, well, just maybe, bikes can save us.

Source: Visual.ly

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5 Reasons Why Women Should Ride In Peoria.

0 Miles Biked – 500 To Go
By: Kelsie Barnhart

I love setting goals, and occasionally meeting them, but mostly the setting part. I love giant outbursts of enthusiasm. Of excitement. Of a rejuvenated spirit. So when classes ended in May, I had lots of time and consequently goals. I drove home in Scotty, my premium-gas guzzling 1995 Mercedes and grabbed my whiteboard to make a list of summer goals. I sloppily scrawled: Ride 500 miles.

This objective seemed do-able. Entirely. Except I hadn’t ridden my bike (a blue boys mountain bike I bought for like thirty bucks) in months. Even then, I could count the number of times I had ridden it on one hand. But hey, my utter HATRED of spending money on gas was so grand that bike riding seemed perfect. My first trip was to the bank. Alone. On a major street. It was 5 miles round trip and SPOILER ALERT I survived. Which got me thinking: biking is totally rad! Not only can I get where I want to go, but I can also get there for free and get a free tan (albeit one with freakish tan lines)!

Enter many rides since that fateful first day to almost every corner of our fair city: Grandview Drive, the Riverfront, West Peoria, Pioneer Park and the Rock Island Trail. As a fairly new rider I am still figuring so much out but I think I’ve got some basics:

 

1. Groups are great – but so are solo adventures!
I love the out of the box ride ideas put on by the Pedal Peoria Series, the Peoria Bike Summer, and the Illinois Valley Wheelm’n but I sadly haven’t actually been able to attend any! If I waited to schedule all of my rides with local groups or friends I would NEVER reach 500 miles in 106 days.  Which is why I started riding to each planet in Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Community Solar System. I also started riding to all the local ice cream parlors in Peoria! It forces me into areas of the city I’ve never been while racking up those miles.

2. Someone almost makes you road kill? Throw them a genuine smile.
I like to think I am a cautious rider who follows [most] traffic laws but that doesn’t stop me from almost getting hit each time I go out – even if I am on the sidewalk! And can we blame the drivers in Peoria? We are not known for being a city that encourages or boasts a high biking population. So these poor folks are simply not used to sharing the road with us. Rather than giving them a dirty look, consider smiling so they understand we are here to stay and look forward to developing better bike-car relationships. Wow, that got corny. But true nonetheless.


3. You don’t need EVERY piece of biking equipment EVER.
I get that everyone is different and requires unique products to help them feel safe while riding. However, your bike doesn’t need to be decked out in everything sold – not to mention how pricey it can be. Stick to the basics: helmet and proper shoes. That’s really all you need to be safe. With that said, I also have invested in a speedometer/odometer sold by Cat Eye and a Yakima bike rack. For my goal I need to know mileage and getting outside of the city limits can make for more peaceful riding.

4. Ladies: Be comfortable.
I personally don’t mind the hand blisters (now calluses) and sore tush that comes from riding daily. But if you are letting those things hold you back, then ride to Bushwacker and pick up some gloves and a softer seat. And don’t be afraid to bike in clothing you want to. Believe it or not, sports bras are actually socially acceptable and so much cooler.

5. The best way to make Peoria bike friendly is to ride even when it’s not.
We can hope for new bike lanes and racks till the cows come home but we will never be Seattle. Who cares? Get out there today. Ride on the road or the sidewalk. Lock your bike to a stop sign or a fence. But whatever you do, make your presence known because you have as much of a right to be on the road as a car.

 

I look forward to seeing you all on the road as I get closer and closer to my goal every day. In case you were wondering, miles remaining: 261.79. Not bad for a chick who started riding in May.

 

———-

 

We can do it!

We can do it!

Kelsie is a Peorian, born and raised, entering her senior at Bradley University studying Public Relations and Studio Art. You can follow her biking shenanigans at seventysixspokes.tumblr.com or @kelsiebarnhart on Twitter.

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Save The Rock Island Trail!

Over the last few months one of our greatest treasures not only to Peoria but Central Illinois is slowly being washed away. When all discussion and local news has been pointed to the loss of homes and industry we forgot about the beautiful Rock Island Trail and its need for preservation. Its time has come to be noted as the areas greatest recreational trail system and be given the attention it is deserved.

For more than a decade, the City of Peoria, the village of Peoria Heights and the Peoria Park District have been working to develop a recreational hike/bike trail on the right-of-way of the Kellar line that runs 8.9 from Pioneer Park to Adams Street.The Peoria Park District has secured grants to complete most of the trail construction with an asphalt surface. The southern 2.2 miles at the southern end of the Kellar line will remain intact to service O’Brien Steel Fabrication and the 6.3 miles of right-of- way through Peoria Heights and Peoria will become the trail and will end at Harvard Street where it will link up with the route through Springdale cemetery.

While we tend to think this is the most important part of the trail is within the Peoria area. We would be wrong. This trail spreads from Downtown Peoria all the way to Toulon with as many as five more towns in between. The RIT is and will always be my favorite escape from the city life in Peoria and watching it fall apart over the last few months due to the pour weather has been a horrible and terrifying experience. The changes that have been made by drastic amounts of water to the trail has been detrimental to all of the progress that has been made over the past 20 years. If something isn’t done soon this treasure will be lost or damaged for a very long time if not forever.

While having a discussion with the President of Friends of The Rock Island Trail he said that the most rewarding and motivational moment in his 20 plus years of being president was “seeing the smile on a child’s face riding on the trail for the first time” and loosing that experience would mean loosing a whole generation of outdoor enthusiasts and supporters of the RIT. Lets not let this happen.

The following pictures are of the Spoon River erosion and how it has worsened to the point that it is no longer safe to pass. Also a section of trail has been washed out between Streitmatter Rd and County Line Rd. It is approximately 25 feet across and 10 feet deep. The trail is now closed in this area as well as the previously closed sections from Wyoming to Toulon. This washout severs the trail continuum between Wyoming and Princeville.

HELP!

HELP!

Not passable!

Not passable!

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Now… Lets get weird Peoria!

Now that Peoria Bike Summer is over and we have received a great amount of attention and the ears of the City Council and Mayor we can finally lay back and get weird…. I’m talking about going back to the feeling you had from riding as a kid. Or if you are a kid make us cool and ride with us. If you’ve never road as a child then you are one lucky duck because you still have that feeling. Lets get together and RIDE!!!

This past Sunday on our closing ride we had a ton of fun. We had one flat tire… and a minor spill but we survived and made it to the party. As we ended back at Studio 825 we had one hell of a BBQ with some amazing music. As the party began a beautiful young lady that went by the name of Michelle got up and decided she wanted to ride the tall bike. She literally rocked the block!

Michelle is doing it right on a tall bike!

Michelle is doing it right on a tall bike!

 

A the party went on and we decided to take the music to the streets with our newly developed bike trailer that has was donated personally by Dr. Dre and Beats! I know it… we are awesome! Thanks!

CLICK ON THE LINK TO SEE IT IN ACTION!! 

SOUND TRAILER!

Taking the party to the streets!

Taking the party to the streets!

So if you would like to be apart of Bike Dance Party on 4th please feel free to meet up and move those wheels. We are going to be in the West Peoria Parade as well as a ride after the fireworks. Please feel free to join!

DON’T FORGET,

"I can do a bunny hop"

“I can do a bunny hop”

 

GET WEIRD PEORIA!

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Guest Post: What Would It Take For You To Bike Peoria?

Our tires are pretty pumped about having our first Guest Post here on our blog. When it comes to creating a movement or a culture change, it’s not always about who speaks the loudest or the most often – it’s about giving people a voice who don’t normally speak out about something they’d like to see done differently. Thank you to Sondra  for taking a minute to put those thoughts down for us to share!

sondra

What Would It Take For You To Bike Peoria?

Guest Post by: Sondra Ruffner, Peoria resident

S.Ruffner

When I was first learning to ride a bike, I would excitedly wait for my Dad to come home from work so I could ask him if he could take my training wheels off. He would usually give in to my request and with a twinkle in his eye he would help me on my bike and give me a little push start. I would eagerly peddle for a minute then suddenly realize I was doing it all on my own. I would hesitate and subsequently fall over.

It’s funny to look back and think about the excitement I felt and the hope I had that I might finally be ready to ride without training wheels. Oh the freedom!

I know individuals that let nothing get in the way of their love of biking. I have seen die-hard bikers on route 40 headed north, and I have friends that have biked across the United States, but most people I know that enjoy biking are casual riders and aren’t training for a race or a cross country biking trip!

People shouldn’t feel limited and guided by these extremes: a) Extremely dedicated despite physical safety b) Extremely desperate to ride in safety so they exclusively use special designated safe trails (paved or otherwise, most often a place they need to drive to).

path

I know others that make the extra effort needed for them to ride to work or the supermarket and end up turning it into an integral part of their daily transportation needs. It would be rewarding to be part of a community/society that promoted being regularly out and active, over being primarily in cars rushing from one indoor spot to the next.

Peoria has potential to be very bike-friendly. It has a good grid and network of streets, several parks with trails, as well as plenty of shopping locations and places of interest to become destinations. So why don’t we see more bikes on the road? I think it revolves around the amount of time it takes to bike to a destination and the level of safety one feels while out on the road.

I have seen a few signs dictating designated bike routes and I live close to one that I have not used. I have no desire to use it mainly because it goes into University Avenue (there is no bike lane or cross walk to walk your bike across to the route – I’ve seen lots of car accidents happen there – so I believe they expect you to just dart out into 45mph traffic and hope for the best) and has you use the turn lane which will lead you into a neighborhood that essentially leads to nowhere.

My problem with this particular bike route scenario is that many motorists don’t pay attention to other cars or motorcycles (for various reasons), and they also don’t pay attention to pedestrians (where there are/aren’t sidewalks), so why would they pay attention to me slowly peddling in a regular lane? It is nice that these routes exist, but they shouldn’t be confused as our safer option when they aren’t.

If we want to ride, we should feel free to do so efficiently with motorists while also feeling a certain level of safety. I believe that bike lanes and bike parking would provide a mental and physical awareness to drivers that there are others on the road and reassure bikers that they have a place to ride and a place to lock up and park.

If Peoria had a physical place for me on some of its primary roads, I would most certainly bike more. What would it take for you to bike Peoria?

 

Would you like to contribute to the Bike Peoria blog? All thoughts are welcome and no, you don’t have to be a pro. Please contact us with your thoughts and ideas!

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Alley Cats and Bike Paths

 

ALLEY CATS & BIKE PATHS

Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 11.45.22 AM

The race check points and most common route

This past Sunday we had a very exciting day in the Peoria Bike Scene. It all started bright and early at 3:30pm in Giant Oak Park where a top secret five card poker run Alley Cat race was held. When we arrived the race promoters gave us four check points, a special edition playing card, a map and 30 minutes to figure out our route. We started the race with an old fashioned arm wrestling contest and then we took on the streets of Peoria!

Keep fighting until you finally win!

Keep fighting until you finally win!

 

The Check Points:

Start: Giant Oak Park

  • McClure Branch Library
  • Franciscan Recreation Center
  • Glen Oak Park Pavilion
  • Parking Garage on Water St.

End: Giant Oak Park

It was a really exciting and close race having Steve Hinrichsen taking the high podium spot at first place and Dan Waite coming in a close second and Brad Nauman taking all the glory at third place. Keeping the top three times under 45 minutes climbing some of the most traitorous hills Peoria has to offer. With all of three of these class A athletes taking the podium we had a lovely young lady named Jasmin Garcia take the best hand with four 10’S. She by far brought the whole race to a stand still of anticipation with a victory for the female riders of Peoria. All in all it was a great and very exciting race! Can’t wait to do it again.

Steve(1), Dan(2) and Brad(3)

Steve(1), Dan(2) and Brad(3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the Guerrilla Streets and Sanitation work while Rocking The Block later that day we the Alley Cats of Peoria took on the appropriate task to break all the barriers and make our own bike lane. In proper

The Real Champion of the Day!

The Real Champion of the Day!

action to show our unhappiness with the decision to not incorporate any bikes lanes in the new construction plans for washington street we decided to make our own. A little DIY street work before they tore up the street and began construction. The turnout was minimal but effective. We hope to gain momentum from all of this and get the word out and have more people at our next gathering.

DIY_BikePaths

 

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye… Peoria Welcomes Bikes!

In preparation for June 25th’s Bike To City Hall Day, Bike Peoria received a proclamation at last night’s City Council meeting.

Bike Peoria Proclamation

As concerned citizens for the health and well-being of our Peoria neighbors, we here at Bike Peoria believe that one way to promote a better quality of life in our city is to get out and ride a bike. Not only for fun, but as a viable means of transportation. It’s not only good for the waistline, but your wallets! Seriously, have you seen gas prices?!

bikes in front of City Hall

Tuesday, June 25th is the next City Council meeting, and there’s no better way to get it in the mind’s of our decision makers, leaders, and the general public that bikes are welcome than to get it in writing and proclaim it to all.

Here’s what the proclamation reads:

Whereas, For more than a century the bicycle has been a utilitarian, economical, environmentally sound and effective means of personal transportation, recreation and fitness; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois encourages the use of bicycles as a means of transportation; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois recognizes bicyclists as a legitimate roadway users and therefore are entitled to legal and responsible use of all public roadway facilities in Illinois except highways constructed to interstate standards; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois encourages the increased use of the bicycle, benefiting all citizens of Peoria by improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion and noise, decreasing the use of and dependence upon finite energy sources, and fostering exercise; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois recognizing the use of bicycles as a viable mode of transportation, endeavors to promote safe and responsible bicycling and is committed to incorporating the development of bicycle facilities in the vision for revitalizing Peoria’s urban core; and

Whereas, Bike Peoria, the League of Illinois Bicyclists and the Mayor encourage all citizens to ride their bicycles to work, to the store, to the park, around their neighborhoods and with friends and family to promote the personal and societal benefits achieved from bicycling.

Now, therefore, I, James Ardis, Mayor of Peoria, Illinois, do hereby proclaim June 25, 2013 as “Bike To City Hall Day” in the City of Peoria, Illinois.

Imagine the Mayor, City Council, City employees, and all Peorian’s riding together to their monthly meetings…

You are invited to join us on Tuesday, June 25th to Bike To City Hall! The meeting starts at 6:15pm.

Helmet

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What Would A BICYCLE Friendly Peoria Look Like?

Daniel Waite

I’ve lived in, and ridden my bike in Peoria for the past 2 years. I’ve often wondered why riding a bike here isn’t as easy as in other cities. From nearly being ran over by cars to getting yelled at – I’ve wondered, what would a bicycle friend Peoria look like?

It could be a safer and more reliable city for alternative forms of transportation while transforming the way people travel from one place to the other but it also has the power to completely transform and reincarnate a depleting economy and positively affect whole neighborhoods.

Many people in our city have developed the point of view that a bicycle is merely a toy or a tool used to help the less fortunate get around. While this has a sliver of truth, it has also propagated to encompass an image of urban cycling while members of our community who have a strong passion for cycling sit on the curb in despair.

Some would say that it isn’t fair and we have been forgotten. I call your bullshit and say its our fault as a community to have allowed this to become the current ideal and the problem we have to deal with on a daily basis. Please spare me your empathy and take a stand this time.

We can start by riding our bike. RIDE! RIDE! RIDE! Ride everywhere! Get up 20 or 30 minutes earlier in the morning so you can commute on two tires rather than four. Ride the 3 miles to the grocery store to get that gallon of milk while getting a some exercise in. We can take a stand by riding and abiding by the law that protects our basic rights as bicyclists. Ride on the right side of the road with traffic and have the proper lighting or visuals while riding at night.

Its easy and simple. The only way we are going to show motorists that we should also be on the road with them we need to actually be ON THE ROAD with them. No matter how rude or stupid some people can be we have to muscle forward and show them we mean business. Stand strong and make your presence known!

After my little motivational lecture I think its time talk more in-depth on what cycling has to offer an everyday citizen. Things you should consider while pondering your decision to ride or drive.

Cyclists on average live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work through illness. (CTC)

On the same urban route, car drivers were exposed to more airborne pollution than cyclists, despite the cyclists’ higher respiration rates. (Rank, J., et al., 2001)

The bicycle industry is estimated to support 1.1 million jobs and generate nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2006)

Aside from these positive benefits to your health and wallet, you also have the freedom to go where you want when you want without the hassle of traffic or parking. It is a great way to move around freely with very little effect to the environment while pleasantly exploring your city and interacting with your community.

It has been proven that the more bicycle and pedestrian traffic on a street the more businesses will pro?t and this will also give them a reason to be open during non-work hours. With that happening the city can and will be a desirable place to spend an evening with your family and enjoy the amenities of a vibrant community.

Imagine a flourishing downtown Peoria on a warm summer night. Riding to the riverfront with your family and friends, enjoying some ice cream and watching a movie or live music in the park. Or being able to just cruise through the streets safely while enjoying an atmosphere full of arts, dining and events surrounding families. It’s a large but simple task. It all starts with you (:GETTING ON YOUR BIKE:)

While many people have ambivalent or cynical ways of looking at us and our views, it’s the basic fact that these are our rights and we should defend them. If you’re looking for a way to become a part of something and stand up for what you believe in then please take action and RIDE YOUR BIKE EVERYWHERE.

 

Bike Peoria and this site are dedicated to starting a movement to get more people on their bikes not just for recreation, but for everyday life. Follow along as we ride, write, and advocate for a more bike-friendly Peoria.

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