RTA Celebrates National Bike Month

JoeM Bike Week1

Why do I bike to work? Well, the short answer is that it is fun! It is also a great way to get a work-out before and after work. Biking is also a great stress reducer and a way for me to shed that spare tire I seem to get every winter. I also like the fact that I am reducing my carbon footprint by riding my bike to work.  (My “other” bike is the CTA Red Line).

I’m lucky; I live close to the lake so I can take advantage of the Chicago Lakefront Trail for most of my commute. In the morning, riding south on the lakefront is absolutely beautiful, on good days, the sun reflects on water, and the view of the city is just spectacular. Yes, occasionally I have had to dodge rain drops and waves.

My bike commute is about 6 miles one-way, 12 miles round trip. It takes me about 45 minutes to get to work on my bike. I carry a change of clothes in a saddlebag called a pannier. There is a health club in my building where I take a shower. It’s an optimal setup for commuting by bike. During the “good weather” months I try to bike to work 2 to 3 times a week.

For folks just starting out biking to work I recommend starting small and building up-to-it.  Cycling to a CTA, Metra station or Pace bus stop is also a good way to “bike to work”.    Think of it as your personal two-wheeled shuttle vehicle (…and you don’t have to pay for parking!). Most stations are within a short biking distance.   If you happen to be commuting to downtown Chicago, Divvy may be a fun and convenient option for you to reach your ultimate destination.

Bicycle parking racks are installed outside or near most CTA rail stations. Some stations even have indoor sheltered parking. See here for more information about parking your bike at CTA stations, taking your bike on CTA buses and trains, Divvy, and other related cycling links.

Many Metra stations have bicycle parking racks too.  See this link for bicycle parking facilities at Metra stations, as well as Metra’s bikes on trains program and other useful bike to work resources.  The League of Illinois Bicyclists has developed useful Bike to Metra Map Guides for 39 suburban stations.

Divvy bike sharing features thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations located throughout the City of Chicago and near all downtown Metra terminals. Bikes are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Click here for details.

The Pace bus fleet is equipped with easy-to-use bike racks, making public transportation a convenient option for both work commutes and recreational trips.   Additional resources for biking throughout Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties can be found by visiting the League of Illinois Bicyclists and the Active Transportation Alliance.

A word about safety…

  • Bikes fare best when cyclists act and are treated like cars and others on the road
  • Ride on the right with the traffic flow and follow all signs and signals
  • Ride predictably and in a straight line
  • When passing a parked vehicle, be alert for opening doors
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Wear bright clothing and use lights on the front and rear of your bike if riding at night or dusk
  • Never assume a car recognizes your presence
  • Cycle defensively
  • For more safe riding tips, visit bikelib.org

But remember the Number #1 rule is to have fun.  Be safe and have a great bike commute!

Joe  Moriarty
Program Manager
Regional Coordination Division
Capital Programming, Planning and Performance

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