Hi all! Intern Lucy here. Our second annual Day of Dialogue and Demonstration was two Saturdays ago and it was the best! I’m here to wrap it all up for you, for those who were attendance as well as those who couldn’t make it this year.
It was a beautiful day at Dvorak Park in lovely Pilsen. We could have not asked for a better spring day or a more appropriate venue for our event. Outside was our bike corral, where ladies stopped by all day to check out bikes from vendors including Legacy Frameworks as well as share rides on their own bikes. Ladies also helped one another with basic bike maintenance and discussed care of bikes as well as cargo bike options (for heavy loads — and kids!). It was a treat to get to try out many different types of bikes, especially for those of us with just one main ride.
Keynote speaker Angela Ford kicked off the day with a great talk about what being a cyclist means to her. She began her talk by reminiscing, “Like many of us, I abandoned bike riding at the age of 16 when I got my driver’s license.” She went on to discuss her journey rediscovering biking as not only a way to get around but a way to live a more sustainable lifestyle. As the CEO of her own sustainability consulting firm, her bike is now a very important part of her life.
Angela asked all of us to leave the event with three groups of friends who we would take on a bike ride, to spread the wealth of knowledge we learned during the day with a new crew of people. I reflected on my own community of bicycling, which I want to expand to a larger circle of friends. With summer fast approaching, I am excited to recruit my friends, family and coworkers to ride all summer long with me.
Throughout the day, we had six workshops. The first workshop I attended was Commuting, orchestrated by Anne and Veronica. One of the key points of this discussion was public transit, and how to configure taking a bike on public transportation to accommodate the various needs of a busy schedule. Anne and Veronica were very thorough in their explanations of bike rules on the CTA and Metra, and there was no other workshop I attended that day where quite so many thoughtful questions were answered with just as much thoughtfulness. It was a success.
A highlight of the day was Anne and Eboni’s workshop, “How To Plan a Ride.” After briefly discussing routes and safety, we split up into two groups to plan hypothetical group rides. The first group opted for a lengthy route along the upcoming bike path, The 606, which consisted of a hilly terrain and an informal architecture tour of the industry in the area. My group planned a more casual ride; about 5 miles of biking and 4 stops at ice cream and sweets shops made up this “Sweets and Treats” excursion. Both have merit and both would be very easy to plan in realty — so stay tuned! Everyone was a fan of this interactive planning dialogue. No better way to conceptualize a bike ride than actually planning one.
The last workshop I had the privilege to attend was Julie and Samantha’s “Biking Safety, Comfort and Style.” They discussed bike clothing at length and addressed concerns about bike comfort on all different types of bikes. I learned everything I never knew I needed to know about layering while biking.
The icing on top of the day was the raffle that concluded our festivities, and there were plenty of prizes to go around. Highlights included a year-long Divvy membership and several pairs of mountain biking shoes donated by Beverly Bikes.
I was inspired by how many women attended who have been long-time riders. As a young person who commutes almost solely by bicycle, I think of myself doing that because I have multiple jobs and it is a cheap and fast way for me to get around Chicago. However, seeing women who have established lives and even families ride their bikes daily puts the importance of biking into perspective for me.
Thank you to all who attended Women Bike Chicago’s 2014 Day of Dialogue and Demonstration. The event has grown so much in just one year, and we cannot wait to see where next year takes us! Happy biking, and happy spring to all!