Â (From The Active Transportation Alliance)
Winter held its grip to the bitter end this year, with a cold, wet April justifying why we have six months of efforts to equip and encourage cyclists to stay in the saddle when the temperature, rain and snow start to fall.
Through workshops, events, stickers and gear giveaways, Bike Winter helped thousands of people discover that every day can be a great day to ride a bike.
â€œOnce I realized my bicycle could be a reliable form of transportation year round, I decided to sell my car,â€ explains Julie Hochstadter, one of this yearâ€™s Bike Winter co-chairs and also a real estate agent who rides to showings in business attire.
While many enjoyed late-night â€œsnow ridesâ€ and the temporary traffic calming effects of the â€œSnowpocalypse,â€ Chicago knows how to get back to business quickly.
â€œBike Winter helped me realize that if the roads were clear enough for me to drive, they were definitely clear enough for me to bike,â€ said Holly Rhode, a blogger on the Bike Winter website: www.bikewinter.org.
One of the highlights of the season was the Chicago Cycle Swap, co-organized by the Active Transportation Alliance and Bike Winter. Â It brought together more than 50 bike shops, merchants, nonprofits and individuals offering great deals, demos and presentations on topics ranging from the proposed velodrome on the south side of Chicago to using a car minimally as a family.
The event raised $1,000 for Bike Winter, which will be used for future events and promotion efforts.
â€œIt was great to see so many people come out in the middle of winter to shop and learn about bikes and the community,â€ said Hochstadter. â€œAnd we are very grateful for the partnership with Active Trans. Bike Winter is run entirely by volunteers, so the extra funds will go a long way to keeping our momentum going.â€
Lowell Nelson, another Bike Winter co-chair, adds, â€œBike Winter took volunteering to new levels this year; we didnâ€™t just encourage biking, we encouraged volunteerism on behalf of other groups. We did a pledge night for WTTW and distributed food to those in need with the Night Ministry on one of the coldest nights of the year.â€
While many Chicagoans feel like they are just emerging from hibernation, the Bike Winter effort keeps cyclists in high gear year round.
Bike Winter is an all-volunteer, grassroots project that began in Chicago in 1999, and has since spread to other cities and towns that boast proper seasons. We are bicycle commuters, weekend warriors and anti-car activists united in a shared belief that every day is a great day to ride a bike. Dozens of volunteers organize events and promote Bike Winter. In the last ten years, between the website and our events, we have converted thousands of â€œfair weatherâ€ riders to Bike Winter veterans.Â For more information please contact us at email@example.com.
The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance is North Americaâ€™s largest transportation advocacy organization, supported by nearly 6,000 members, 1,000 volunteers and 40 full-time staff. For more information on the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.