Bike Peoria

Guest Post: What Would It Take For You To Bike Peoria?

Our tires are pretty pumped about having our first Guest Post here on our blog. When it comes to creating a movement or a culture change, it’s not always about who speaks the loudest or the most often – it’s about giving people a voice who don’t normally speak out about something they’d like to see done differently. Thank you to Sondra  for taking a minute to put those thoughts down for us to share!

sondra

What Would It Take For You To Bike Peoria?

Guest Post by: Sondra Ruffner, Peoria resident

S.Ruffner

When I was first learning to ride a bike, I would excitedly wait for my Dad to come home from work so I could ask him if he could take my training wheels off. He would usually give in to my request and with a twinkle in his eye he would help me on my bike and give me a little push start. I would eagerly peddle for a minute then suddenly realize I was doing it all on my own. I would hesitate and subsequently fall over.

It’s funny to look back and think about the excitement I felt and the hope I had that I might finally be ready to ride without training wheels. Oh the freedom!

I know individuals that let nothing get in the way of their love of biking. I have seen die-hard bikers on route 40 headed north, and I have friends that have biked across the United States, but most people I know that enjoy biking are casual riders and aren’t training for a race or a cross country biking trip!

People shouldn’t feel limited and guided by these extremes: a) Extremely dedicated despite physical safety b) Extremely desperate to ride in safety so they exclusively use special designated safe trails (paved or otherwise, most often a place they need to drive to).

path

I know others that make the extra effort needed for them to ride to work or the supermarket and end up turning it into an integral part of their daily transportation needs. It would be rewarding to be part of a community/society that promoted being regularly out and active, over being primarily in cars rushing from one indoor spot to the next.

Peoria has potential to be very bike-friendly. It has a good grid and network of streets, several parks with trails, as well as plenty of shopping locations and places of interest to become destinations. So why don’t we see more bikes on the road? I think it revolves around the amount of time it takes to bike to a destination and the level of safety one feels while out on the road.

I have seen a few signs dictating designated bike routes and I live close to one that I have not used. I have no desire to use it mainly because it goes into University Avenue (there is no bike lane or cross walk to walk your bike across to the route – I’ve seen lots of car accidents happen there – so I believe they expect you to just dart out into 45mph traffic and hope for the best) and has you use the turn lane which will lead you into a neighborhood that essentially leads to nowhere.

My problem with this particular bike route scenario is that many motorists don’t pay attention to other cars or motorcycles (for various reasons), and they also don’t pay attention to pedestrians (where there are/aren’t sidewalks), so why would they pay attention to me slowly peddling in a regular lane? It is nice that these routes exist, but they shouldn’t be confused as our safer option when they aren’t.

If we want to ride, we should feel free to do so efficiently with motorists while also feeling a certain level of safety. I believe that bike lanes and bike parking would provide a mental and physical awareness to drivers that there are others on the road and reassure bikers that they have a place to ride and a place to lock up and park.

If Peoria had a physical place for me on some of its primary roads, I would most certainly bike more. What would it take for you to bike Peoria?

 

Would you like to contribute to the Bike Peoria blog? All thoughts are welcome and no, you don’t have to be a pro. Please contact us with your thoughts and ideas!

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Alley Cats and Bike Paths

 

ALLEY CATS & BIKE PATHS

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The race check points and most common route

This past Sunday we had a very exciting day in the Peoria Bike Scene. It all started bright and early at 3:30pm in Giant Oak Park where a top secret five card poker run Alley Cat race was held. When we arrived the race promoters gave us four check points, a special edition playing card, a map and 30 minutes to figure out our route. We started the race with an old fashioned arm wrestling contest and then we took on the streets of Peoria!

Keep fighting until you finally win!

Keep fighting until you finally win!

 

The Check Points:

Start: Giant Oak Park

  • McClure Branch Library
  • Franciscan Recreation Center
  • Glen Oak Park Pavilion
  • Parking Garage on Water St.

End: Giant Oak Park

It was a really exciting and close race having Steve Hinrichsen taking the high podium spot at first place and Dan Waite coming in a close second and Brad Nauman taking all the glory at third place. Keeping the top three times under 45 minutes climbing some of the most traitorous hills Peoria has to offer. With all of three of these class A athletes taking the podium we had a lovely young lady named Jasmin Garcia take the best hand with four 10’S. She by far brought the whole race to a stand still of anticipation with a victory for the female riders of Peoria. All in all it was a great and very exciting race! Can’t wait to do it again.

Steve(1), Dan(2) and Brad(3)

Steve(1), Dan(2) and Brad(3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the Guerrilla Streets and Sanitation work while Rocking The Block later that day we the Alley Cats of Peoria took on the appropriate task to break all the barriers and make our own bike lane. In proper

The Real Champion of the Day!

The Real Champion of the Day!

action to show our unhappiness with the decision to not incorporate any bikes lanes in the new construction plans for washington street we decided to make our own. A little DIY street work before they tore up the street and began construction. The turnout was minimal but effective. We hope to gain momentum from all of this and get the word out and have more people at our next gathering.

DIY_BikePaths

 

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye… Peoria Welcomes Bikes!

In preparation for June 25th’s Bike To City Hall Day, Bike Peoria received a proclamation at last night’s City Council meeting.

Bike Peoria Proclamation

As concerned citizens for the health and well-being of our Peoria neighbors, we here at Bike Peoria believe that one way to promote a better quality of life in our city is to get out and ride a bike. Not only for fun, but as a viable means of transportation. It’s not only good for the waistline, but your wallets! Seriously, have you seen gas prices?!

bikes in front of City Hall

Tuesday, June 25th is the next City Council meeting, and there’s no better way to get it in the mind’s of our decision makers, leaders, and the general public that bikes are welcome than to get it in writing and proclaim it to all.

Here’s what the proclamation reads:

Whereas, For more than a century the bicycle has been a utilitarian, economical, environmentally sound and effective means of personal transportation, recreation and fitness; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois encourages the use of bicycles as a means of transportation; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois recognizes bicyclists as a legitimate roadway users and therefore are entitled to legal and responsible use of all public roadway facilities in Illinois except highways constructed to interstate standards; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois encourages the increased use of the bicycle, benefiting all citizens of Peoria by improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion and noise, decreasing the use of and dependence upon finite energy sources, and fostering exercise; and

Whereas, the City of Peoria, Illinois recognizing the use of bicycles as a viable mode of transportation, endeavors to promote safe and responsible bicycling and is committed to incorporating the development of bicycle facilities in the vision for revitalizing Peoria’s urban core; and

Whereas, Bike Peoria, the League of Illinois Bicyclists and the Mayor encourage all citizens to ride their bicycles to work, to the store, to the park, around their neighborhoods and with friends and family to promote the personal and societal benefits achieved from bicycling.

Now, therefore, I, James Ardis, Mayor of Peoria, Illinois, do hereby proclaim June 25, 2013 as “Bike To City Hall Day” in the City of Peoria, Illinois.

Imagine the Mayor, City Council, City employees, and all Peorian’s riding together to their monthly meetings…

You are invited to join us on Tuesday, June 25th to Bike To City Hall! The meeting starts at 6:15pm.

Helmet

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Dozer Park

Win Or Lose, We Still Cruise

Great night last night for baseball at O’Brien err… Dozer Park. It was a high scoring affair and the Chiefs staged a late comeback, but the LumberKings held on for the 8-5 victory.

Peoria Chiefs

No worries though, a great time was had at Bike Peoria’s first-ever “Bike To The Ballpark” ride. In case you missed it, here is a brief recap of the scenes around the park…

bike valets

Bike valets. This should be a new “thing” in Peoria.

bikes

Bikes around the ballpark. So much less space needed than a boring old parking lot.

Friends of the Rock Island Trail

PAMBA

Friends of Bike Peoria showing off their duds. Thanks to Multi-Sport Extravaganza, Friends Of The Rock Island Trail, and Illinois Cycle and Fitness for having your representative tables there. Special thanks to Bushwhacker for providing the rack and the Peoria Chiefs for having us!

Tim

Tim and his Bike Peoria bike. This fan favorite is one tall drink of water.

And of course the most ridiculous thing you could imagine during the 8th inning. BIKE JOUSTING!


If you couldn’t make the Chiefs game, don’t worry, there’s another great event tonight. The Peoria Bike Summer Bike Art Show is taking place at Studio 825 in Peoria from 5-10pm. Ride up and check out some really unique art!

If you want to know when our next events are, please check out the Peoria Bike Summer and Pedal Peoria links to the side. Peoria Bike Summer is not only about some great events, it’s about taking in normal day-to-day activities by bike.

Follow us on Facebook & Twitter

 

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Sunday Sunny Sunday

I’m pretty sure we’re all sick of the rain around here by now, so today looks to be a great day to get out and ride. There’s a lot happening around  Peoria, so make sure if you’re going, go by bike!

Day 2 fun of Bike Summer:

  • Bike to Church – Didn’t make the early service? Join your fellow parishioners, clergy men and women in riding your bicycle to service on the holiest day of the week.
  • Where’s The Rack, Peoria? – Where’s the Rack Ride – Come out and have some fun riding bikes with friends while helping to complete the Peoria bicycle rack map! We’ll start at Terwyn Park (2219 Idaho Street) around 7 AM, and split up in teams to cover major streets in Peoria (Sterling, University, Sheridan, Knoxville, Wisconsin, & Prospect) noting locations of bicycle racks along the way. All routes will end back up at Leaves and Beans in Peoria Heights for coffee & prizes! This ride is FREE and helmets are REQUIRED to participate. We will not be returning to Terwyn Park after the ride is over, so we highly recommended you ride your bike to the start! All routes will be between 8-10 miles. Please bring a camera or camera phone with you to help document the rack locations. Notebooks will be provided if you do not have access to a camera. For questions, please contact Mike Honnold at 309-696-2591 OR cannondale_25@juno.com

Also, there is the Market On Moss today from 9-3. If you haven’t been in years past – it’s a must do. Check out their Facebook page to find out more Market On Moss.

Send us your pictures of you around Peoria on bike! Instagram or Twitter #bikepeoria

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What Would A BICYCLE Friendly Peoria Look Like?

Daniel Waite

I’ve lived in, and ridden my bike in Peoria for the past 2 years. I’ve often wondered why riding a bike here isn’t as easy as in other cities. From nearly being ran over by cars to getting yelled at – I’ve wondered, what would a bicycle friend Peoria look like?

It could be a safer and more reliable city for alternative forms of transportation while transforming the way people travel from one place to the other but it also has the power to completely transform and reincarnate a depleting economy and positively affect whole neighborhoods.

Many people in our city have developed the point of view that a bicycle is merely a toy or a tool used to help the less fortunate get around. While this has a sliver of truth, it has also propagated to encompass an image of urban cycling while members of our community who have a strong passion for cycling sit on the curb in despair.

Some would say that it isn’t fair and we have been forgotten. I call your bullshit and say its our fault as a community to have allowed this to become the current ideal and the problem we have to deal with on a daily basis. Please spare me your empathy and take a stand this time.

We can start by riding our bike. RIDE! RIDE! RIDE! Ride everywhere! Get up 20 or 30 minutes earlier in the morning so you can commute on two tires rather than four. Ride the 3 miles to the grocery store to get that gallon of milk while getting a some exercise in. We can take a stand by riding and abiding by the law that protects our basic rights as bicyclists. Ride on the right side of the road with traffic and have the proper lighting or visuals while riding at night.

Its easy and simple. The only way we are going to show motorists that we should also be on the road with them we need to actually be ON THE ROAD with them. No matter how rude or stupid some people can be we have to muscle forward and show them we mean business. Stand strong and make your presence known!

After my little motivational lecture I think its time talk more in-depth on what cycling has to offer an everyday citizen. Things you should consider while pondering your decision to ride or drive.

Cyclists on average live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work through illness. (CTC)

On the same urban route, car drivers were exposed to more airborne pollution than cyclists, despite the cyclists’ higher respiration rates. (Rank, J., et al., 2001)

The bicycle industry is estimated to support 1.1 million jobs and generate nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. (Outdoor Industry Foundation, 2006)

Aside from these positive benefits to your health and wallet, you also have the freedom to go where you want when you want without the hassle of traffic or parking. It is a great way to move around freely with very little effect to the environment while pleasantly exploring your city and interacting with your community.

It has been proven that the more bicycle and pedestrian traffic on a street the more businesses will pro?t and this will also give them a reason to be open during non-work hours. With that happening the city can and will be a desirable place to spend an evening with your family and enjoy the amenities of a vibrant community.

Imagine a flourishing downtown Peoria on a warm summer night. Riding to the riverfront with your family and friends, enjoying some ice cream and watching a movie or live music in the park. Or being able to just cruise through the streets safely while enjoying an atmosphere full of arts, dining and events surrounding families. It’s a large but simple task. It all starts with you (:GETTING ON YOUR BIKE:)

While many people have ambivalent or cynical ways of looking at us and our views, it’s the basic fact that these are our rights and we should defend them. If you’re looking for a way to become a part of something and stand up for what you believe in then please take action and RIDE YOUR BIKE EVERYWHERE.

 

Bike Peoria and this site are dedicated to starting a movement to get more people on their bikes not just for recreation, but for everyday life. Follow along as we ride, write, and advocate for a more bike-friendly Peoria.

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