An Evening of Stylish Bikes and Advocacy

Trisha’s visit to Chicago was action-packed with bikey fun (our own little Pedalpalooza), including the Active Transportation Alliance membership mixer at Dutch Bike Chicago. The evening was an enjoyable way to connect with like-minded cyclists in a stylish and laid back environment.

kid is to candy store as Trisha is to Dutch bike shop

kid is to candy store as Trisha is to Dutch bike shop

First, we perused the shop. Trisha was especially interested in pawing the fabulous Po Campo bags. They look even better in real life than online. We also visited all of Oma’s Azor cousins, some fine-looking Retrovelos, and the new line of Vive bikes.

Rifling through Po Campo bags

Rifling through Po Campo bags

Azor and Retrovelo and Vive, Oh My!

Azor and Retrovelo and Vive, Oh My!

Later, some folks took the bakfiets for a ride. I don’t know how Trisha and I missed such a photo-op! She would have fit in the box nicely and I would have tried really hard not to crash.

Bakfiets Test Ride - hmm, she looks nervous

Bakfiets Test Ride - hmm, she looks nervous

We admired all the cool bikes locked up outside, especially these two below. My childhood bike had streamers and I sometimes miss them. They work on this cool homegrown bike. Another favorite was a Gazelle owned by one of our readers (nice to meet you!).

Fun Bike!  streamers and home-made skirt guard

Fun Bike! streamers and home-made skirt guard

Gazelle!

Gazelle!

Finally, the whole group gathered around to watch a 13 minute police training video on bicyclist rights and responsibilities. Active Trans produced the video on contract for the Department of Transportation. Having a cycling advocacy group create the video was a great idea, as the depictions of city cycling were spot-on.

Watching the police training video - Photo by Chris Brunn

Watching the police training video - Photo by Chris Brunn

Next perhaps they could train 311 operators (the city’s hotline) on how to take a proper police report for assault when motorists use their trucks to intimidate and run cyclists off the road. The day after this mixer, I tried to file a police report over the phone after a truck driver laid on his horn and pushed past me so closely that my fingers grazed the side of the truck when I put my arm out to signal for him to give me room, forcing me to pull off the road or else get hit – there was no room for both of us side-by-side. The driver then stopped and yelled, “Stay off the fucking road,” before peeling away. A real gentleman. All this on a quiet, one-way, tree-lined street only two blocks from my home, while I was minding my own business and enjoying the fresh air.

According to the 311 operator, that was just “ignorance” and there’s no police report to file for “ignorance.” Actually, it was “assault,” defined under Illinois law as putting one in reasonable apprehension of a battery (bodily harm), which I certainly was! Oh well, I decided to let it go and not visit my local precinct, even though I got his license plate number. I’m afraid of how angry I would get if the police react the same way. Anyway, my bike and I happily remain on the fucking road, while this guy is surely doomed to a miserable life, so I think I came out the winner.

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22 thoughts on “An Evening of Stylish Bikes and Advocacy

  1. Melissa Hope S says:

    Oh wow! I am glad that you are okay. And what a jerk to him. You should have told HIM to stay off the fucking road. Fucker.

  2. sarah says:

    you should link/embed the vid: http://www.chicagobikes.org/video/index.php?loadVideo=police_training_2009

    i don’t think you should be deterred by the 311 shoulder shrug. but that the same time i wouldn’t put a lot of hope in the police doing a lot either. that’s a pretty grim encounter you had. there’s a lot that go into cyclists’ rights and as you’ve shown we need some legal rejoinder for encounters like yours, both large and small. I’d contact the guy at http://chicagobikelaw.blogspot.com/

  3. That shop looks great!

    You said “Truck driver”? Does that mean he was employed by someone? If so, contact his employer. I’m usually not collected enough during such incidents to get lic. plates or company names. Good job on that.

  4. sarah says:

    does anyone know if there a document with all the pertinent Chicago/state laws relating to cycling compiled? i’d love to keep something like that tucked into the pack under my seat.

  5. Tom says:

    Yes Dottie, you are a winner. I love your attitude.

  6. Catherine says:

    ohhh drivers make me so angry. i somehow got sucked into a war of words on the post secret chat community regarding one of this week’s secrets (picture of a cyclist on the ground in front of a car with the words “when i see cyclists in the middle of the road on my way to church i’m tempted to knock them down!”). not suprisingly, a significant number of comments are pro- the secret and the cyclists commenting are sensitive selfish spandex hippies or something like that.

  7. Cyclin Missy says:

    You are so right. It will come back around to him. I’m so glad you’re OK, though! That is so scary and agravating.

  8. calitexican says:

    the power of positive thinking wins every time! and your right, someone who does something so awful to someone else for no reason is greatly unhappy and already leads a miserable life. just keep riding and smiling. :)

    i’m glad you are ok!

  9. sara says:

    Glad you are OK and am with you in the end about ‘winning’ by leading a happier life. I do, however, like spiderleggreen’s suggestion of contacting the company (if you could tell from the truck) where this driver is employed and write a formal complaint about his driving.

    So, I just saw that Portland’s Sprokette’s are going to be in Chicago this summer and are looking for some transportation hook-ups. They’re that cool women bike-dance group (think hot pink and black). http://sprockettes.org/2009/06/29/summer-tour-is-on/

  10. Trisha says:

    You are the grand-prize winner. And he’s the…what’s the opposite of that? Total, abject loser?

  11. academichic says:

    How scary and glad you’re ok! Really, what’s wrong with people?! I second the suggestion that you contact his employer, I really don’t think he should be able to get away with that.
    S.

  12. The sweet little gray Raleigh with the streamers is named “Wu” and proudly owned by our dear friend and neighboring business owner Wendy Beyer.

    Glad you’re OK.

  13. Sigrid says:

    how does a road fuck? were you interrupting something? not sure I get his logic….heh….heh… Your attitude is spot on sister!

  14. Jeff Schneider says:

    I too, remain on the fucking road despite being told I have no business there. Rules I follow: Never get close enough to a driver to let him door you or touch you without getting out of the car…Don’t try to educate the willfully ignorant – it’s hopeless…Feel free to yell a dismissive, “Fuck you” at a driver, if it makes you feel better ;-)

  15. Greyhound says:

    Hey, I’m another attorney/cyclist/triathlete/nerd who lurks here frequently. I’d encourage you not to let the vehicular assault pass. First, that driver may injure or kill someone in the future. He’s less likely to do so if he’s found and charged, and even if not found, he’s less likely to get get off with a slap on the wrist if there’s something in his file already. Second, as your call demonstrates, law enforcement personnel need to be educated on the rules of the road as well. Making a proper report may be one small step in doing that. I have been bullied before, even by a police officer who tried to force me off the road. I think the only way to make headway against that type of attitude is for cyclists to be united and consistent in their response to it.

    Keep on riding and writing. I love your blog.

  16. […] on my way home, both times on a sweet neighborhood one-way street (the same street where that guy ran me off the road last week). The first was a blonde woman in a BMW. There was a car directly in front of me, I was […]

  17. […] on my way home, both times on a sweet neighborhood one-way street (the same street where that guy ran me off the road last week). The first was a blonde woman in a BMW. There was a car directly in front of me, I was […]

  18. Tad Salyards says:

    Right on! You’ve finally gotten all militant on the cagers, Dottie :) It was just a matter of time. Your destiny lies with the dark side, young Oma rider.

    I’ve never in my life experienced anything as egregious as the stories you’ve told of late. A certain amount of rage is justified. Still, try and keep it in perspective and realize that there are idiots on both bikes on cars on the roads.

    Tomorrow’s is almost always a better one.

  19. dottie says:

    It was not a work truck, sorry for the confusion. It was just a guy in a huge pick-up. I used the term “truck” at first, but then remembered to link it to a person to make him personally responsible and added “driver” after truck. So there’s no company I could have called.

  20. […] In a thread on The Chainlink, a Chicago bicycling online community, I asked what one should do in the situation I was in last month. Recap: I was riding along on a quiet street, lalala, when a guy in an SUV […]

  21. […] In a thread on The Chainlink, a Chicago bicycling online community, I asked what one should do in the situation I was in last month. Recap: I was riding along on a quiet street, lalala, when a guy in an SUV […]

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