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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.