Monday, July 27, 2020

Let Chicago teach you to ride a bicycle

   Karlla Guirola grew up in El Salvador during the war. Alex Raynor was raised in Houston. Bryce Polk is 6 years old.
     Widely diverse upbringings that nevertheless brought the three together in two important ways.
     First, it put them in an elite group: the 6% of Americans who cannot ride a bike. OK, when Raynor was growing up in Texas, she could ride, she says, but couldn’t turn or brake, two skills that complicate bike riding in their absence.
     And second, the three comprised the entire class of attendees who showed up at 6 p.m. a few Thursdays back for a Chicago Department of Transportation “Learn to Ride” free bicycling class for adults. (Bryce, being 6, would seem to be too young to qualify; but in that marvelously adaptive quality that city programs sometimes display, nobody seemed to notice or care, and I certainly wasn’t about to point it out.)
     I can ride a bike, but I was there because, with all the city of Chicago has to do — combat crime, filter water, wrangle statues and more — that it also teaches residents to ride bikes, for free, well, that seemed charming in a 1930s, WPA, summer camp kind of way.
     “Biking is good for our bodies and a cheap, fast way to get around,” said Emme Williams, one of five instructors at the class, known as SAFE (Streets Are For Everyone) ambassadors.
     A short section of West Fedinand Street in East Garfield Park was closed off with orange cones, and the pedals removed from three bikes so the beginners could practice scooting forward.

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  1. I have 3 son's all now in their 20s . My youngest didn't learn to ride a bike till he was 16. No skate boarding, roller blades. Nothing with wheels. The other two boys learned all that very young. He just wasn't inty in anything with wheels. He still doesn't drive. He's freakishly athletic pitching college ball on a scholarship downstate. If it bounces he's down. If it rolls he's just not interested. Go figure

  2. Hopefully there was a lesson on how to watch out for the idiots in cars and trucks, who often aren't too respectful of "social distancing" with cyclists.

  3. Every time we visit we bicycle on the Lake Shore Trail. It’s one of the many special things to do in this city. It’s safe. It’s beautiful. Great exercise. So happy to see Chicago becoming even more bike friendly.

  4. Nothing is perfect. Just saw a news clip of young men on Divvy's high jacking a car on the near north side.


  5. Coincidentally the Wall Street Journal's A-Hed did a similar story. Both very good. I did not realize some people never learned how to ride a bike. I find it one of the great things in life and great exercise.


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