Results for tag "biking"

14 Articles

Main Street Makes A Statement

There was a buzz on the bluff last night. A public forum was held at Bradley University’s Westlake Hall regarding the proposal of making the intersection of Main and University streets in Peoria more pedestrian friendly. It seems there has been a push in the recent months of making things more walkable, bikeable, and more equitable for people who are moving around town sans auto.

westlake

What spurred this conversation is more of a happy accident than a true, dedicated effort to make things better for pedestrians [Water Main Break]. Either way, take what you can get. It was a full house of concerned neighbors, business owners, and people who are tired of Peoria being stuck in the proverbial four-wheeled rut. Local officials, engineers, and public administrators filled in the rest of the crowd.

Crowd

It became clear from the start, that the public’s input was not only appreciated but much-needed. The intersection today is pretty dangerous, and almost completely favors the car as you can see on the Google map view.

main-university

Just looking at the curbs, they are rounded, which if you think about it, makes it quicker and easier for you to make a turn. The faster you do that, the faster you can hit someone on foot or on bike. The sidewalks are compromised, and there are no bike lanes to speak of. When thinking of how to “fix” this intersection, the best way is to bring everyone into the room and see how they actually use this space.

To better conceptualize the intersection for people, there were 3 options of proposed options. Making things difficult is that these three options are all different in their concepts and thus, you force people to love it or hate it (see roundabout discussion).

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

To me, this meeting was a breath of fresh air. Mike Rogers, the new Public Works Director and new to town, brought up old plans like the Heart of Peoria Plan and even the Walkable West Bluff Campaign. By old, we’re talking 10 years ago, but still are extremely relevant to last night’s conversation These efforts were to create a vibrant atmosphere that encouraged walkability, bikeability, and to induce neighborhood regeneration by reducing auto-dependency and increased human interaction.

Mike

Over the past 2 years, the revival happening  on Main Street cannot go unnoticed. It has seen a revival, in part, due to adding on-street parking which as traffic school teaches us, actually slows down traffic and gives businesses parking for its patrons. We’re so trained at wanting to go fast and breeze through wherever we are driving to or through, that we don’t want anything to get in the way. As a whole, what high-speed traffic had done to Main Street, and Peoria in general, was remove the desire for anyone to get out of their car.

As one commentor put it:

We want Main Street to be a destination that people come to and spend time, enjoy it – not just drive through it.

Which is very true. Somewhere in our history, 50 or 60 years ago, we stopped creating places people want to go and spend time at. We have built our streets and buildings to be high capacity, high speed ways to get people in and out – usually at the lowest cost. This oldie, but goodie TEDTalk by James Kunstler spells this out very clearly.

Main Street has that ability to be a place that people care about. They already do judging by the turnout last night. People showed up literally and figuratively to say so. The comments made were awesome. Even without a roundabout pamphlet professing safety, we know we want things to be safe. When we show them images with people, trees, flowers and texture they get excited. Show them a car sewer and the mood goes down.

Let’s make not only this intersection great for people, but the entire street and the neighborhoods that they serve. It’s easy and what it takes is to put cars in their place. Pedestrians, bikers, buses, delivery trucks, then cars. I will guarantee you that this area will continue to revitalize and that there will be more and more activity in this part of town. It will set the precedent for other areas around town that are going to have the same conversation. Within a short amount of time, Peoria can rebuild around its people, not their cars.

For more coverage on last night’s meeting view the links below:

Peoria Journal Star

WMBD 31

WCBU 89.9

WEEK/WHOI

Thank you to everyone who came out and shared their thoughts!

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The Chain Link: Streetsblog

streetsblog.net

You can’t be pro-biking and pro-city without checking out Streetsblog. Streetsblog is a daily news source connecting people to information about sustainable transportation and livable communities.

Since 2006, Streetsblog has covered the movement to transform our cities by reducing dependence on private automobiles and improving conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. Our reporters have broken important stories about transit funding, pedestrian safety, and bicycle policy from day one. And our writing makes arcane topics like parking prices and induced traffic accessible to a broad audience.

Oh, and you can find Bike Peoria on the network of blogs.

 

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Bikes Around Town

I always see this one parked behind Simantel in downtown Peoria. Just wanted to say thank you for riding to work and totally dig your bike!

Simantel

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Kickapoo Fat Tire Festival

The Kickapoo Fat Tire Festival is coming up on August 24-25th. If you haven’t ever taken part in it, or don’t know what it is, the festival is put on by the Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club and is a weekend of fun at the beautiful Kickapoo State Park. There is riding fun for all skill levels.

KMBCFTF

The Kickapoo Super D will take place on Saturday, August 24. For this event we will have race day registration only ($10, open 9:00 am – 11:00 am), so come early!
The race starts at 12:00 pm. We will offer an open class with cash payout.

The Kickapoo XC will take place on Sunday, August 25. We highly recommend that you save $5 by pre-registering. Simply head over to our registration page to register online, or to find our printable form.

  • Race day registration will open at 8:00 am: $35
  • Pre-registration saves you $5! Get your $30 spot by going to our registration page
  • The Novice race at 10:00 am
  • Fatbikes (>3in tires) at 10:05 am
  • Men’s Sport and Men’s Expert at 12:00 pm with a staggered start.
  • All women’s categories will begin at 12:10 am.
  • A free kid’s race, which will take place on the kid’s loop, will begin at 11:30 am.

Each class will race the following:

  • Fatbike: 1 lap
  • Novice: 1 lap
  • Sport: 2 laps
  • Expert: 3 laps

I highly suggest that you go check it out even if you don’t want to ride. For more information visit the event website here.

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Why I Ride

Erik Bike

Post by: Erik Reader, President, Reader Area Development

I have been waiting for the right time to drop my own post on the Bike Peoria site for a while. It’s not that I haven’t had the words, I just haven’t had the time. But isn’t that the age old excuse. For those of you who are unfamiliar, I usually do my blogging over at Reader Area Development dot com. Sure, that’s some shameless self-promotion for myself, but what the hell, I’m an administrator on this site as well.

Like most, I grew up riding my bike around the neighborhood after school just to be outside playing. That evolved into riding to school, downtown, to baseball practice, a friend’s house, or wherever my legs could motor me. Somewhere around that pivotal age of 15-16 it became clear that it wasn’t cool to ride a bike. As we all know, the most exciting thing for every high-schooler is getting their driver’s license.

I remember my parents telling me that I would have to get a job in order to afford a car. So at the ripe old age of 14 I got my first real job – at McDonald’s. Yep… first you have to be humbled before you can be cool apparently. Needless to say, I saved up enough to buy a 1990 Chevy Beretta. How I kept the ladies at bay was a mystery, it just naturally happened.

At a time with $0.88/gallon gasoline (1998), I made my way to the bowling alley, movie theater, cross town to friends houses, to school and a few side trips my parents don’t need to know about. That was all fine and dandy, but I still had to work here and there to afford my new-found responsibility. With no other obligations to my name, this wasn’t a huge drag, but the real sticker shock would occur in the 15 years since.

The cost itself wasn’t just in the form of driving from A to B, it was everything else it represented. Gas, car insurance, maintenance, the occasional ding or scratch, countless hours staring through a pane of glass, and the hours working a job I hated to afford it all. I grew up outside of Chicago in the far western suburbs and that meant LOTS of driving. Want to go to a baseball game? Drive. Need a job? Drive across the ‘burbs. Thinking about visiting friends? More driving…. you get the picture.

In college, I had an opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands. Leeuwarden, a northerly city of 90,000 people exposed me to a different culture that has taken years to decipher what I really learned. The Dutch are widely regarded for their over-the-top biking culture. I didn’t really “get it” until my semester abroad started.

Amsterdam

We were told that we would probably want to rent a bike. The few Americans in the group looked at each other like it was a joke or something. Even me, I hadn’t ridden anywhere on a regular basis for several years didn’t understand it. We have cars … duh?  All kidding aside, they were serious. The best way to get around town is by bike. The town, which is hundreds of years old, is perfectly laid out for it. No bike? Well, walking is just as easy. Riding to the bar as a 21-year-old was probably the most freeing feeling you could imagine. You mean I can go do something stupid and follow it up with something responsible afterward? No shit…

Unless you’ve been, I have a real hard time of putting it into words and trying to explain it. That’s the reason why downtown Leeuwarden remains as my website header. To serve as a reminder that this other place exists.

Leeuwarden

After my tour abroad ended, it was back to Geneva, where that quaint, charming downtown existed but the biking culture didn’t. I was dying to bring back what I thought to be a slice of heaven back with me.  No one else felt the same. My excitement to ride faded as my jobs would take me here, there, and everywhere by car. It got to the point where I was filling up for gas twice a week. It became a repetitive and vicious cycle. I’d seen my Dad fall into it, and I knew it was killing him too. Spending hours in a car everyday isn’t healthy for you. That’s a no-brainer. So why do we get stuck in the proverbial rut?

We somehow accept this as our reality. We know in order to find work, we must drive. In order to find food, we must drive. In order to live, we must drive. After a year of life on the road, my then girlfriend, now wife, Danielle and I moved to Dallas, Texas. A change of scenery was interesting, and it provided the initial stimulation we needed. But something still seemed off. Gone were the Main Street’s and downtown’s of Illinois I was used too. Everything is bigger in Texas, even their big-box stores which dominated the landscape. Six-lane residential thoroughfares were the norm. Big hair. Big trucks. Big stereotypes. We enjoyed our stay, but after 5 years it was high time to head out.

Before we did, I came across a little biking movement that was taking over a south Dallas neighborhood. The Oak Cliff neighborhood was quickly becoming the “bike part of town.” I was curious, as I hadn’t heard of such a thing. Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, was one of those things that I needed to see at just the right time. “Ok, so there are people who have thought the same thing as me and feel the same way…” This wasn’t about racing, an extreme off-road excursion or loading up the bike for leisurely stroll at a park. This was about riding your bike for day-to-day things. I get that.

When we left Dallas for Peoria, I decided I’d like to take a slice of what I thought was a great citizen-led movement with me. We moved to Pekin, which admittedly, isn’t the biking capital of the world. I would talk about the Dutch, Dallas, and what I thought could be a bike movement in Central Illinois. The only thing more out of the ordinary than seeing someone without a DUI riding their bike in Pekin, is someone talking about “Bike Friendliness.”

Behind Bars

Back to the subject of stereotypes. The same freedom, liberation, and mobility I felt in Leeuwarden could and should be applied in Pekin, Peoria, or anywhere for that matter. Why is it that people think you must have done something wrong to be riding a bike in broad daylight wearing anything but lycra? To be fair, there are a good amount of those riding with some legal troubles, yes, but that’s why it is imperative for low-income, low-educated towns like Pekin to adopt a new transportation strategy. One that is equitable for all of its citizens. And for those who don’t want to hear my previous statement, I’m sorry, the 2010 Census blew your cover [DATA].

Whether you’re young or old, need affordable transportation, wanting to stay fit, or wanting to exercise your right not to drive, you should have that opportunity. So that is why, when a fate meeting with some other like-minded individuals early this spring brought us to the table looking to create a “biking movement” I jumped at the chance.

Erik & Danielle

My ride last night finally knocked loose what I was looking to write. I ride as much as I can right now. I wish it could be more, but you know, I have to drive to Peoria for a job. I am in meetings on opposite sides of town. I am renovating a house after all of that and need to carry random odds and ends around. I have seen more people out there who are curious. Those are the people who will help shape the future of Peoria. Having only lived here for two and a half years, I see an area that is dying for a breath of fresh air. We, as everyday, ordinary people can give that to the area we call home – one bike ride at a time.

For more of Erik’s musings, check out his blog at readerareadevelopment.com, follow him on Twitter @RADincorporated and Like ReaderAreaDevelopment on Facebook.

Want to be featured in Bike Peoria’s Why I Ride section? Email us at bikepeoria@gmail.com

 

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The Chain Link: The League Of American Bicyclists

Under links we like, we have to start with the one that has been working the hardest to make biking in American cities a reality – The League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists

Amongst all of the things they do, the League promotes bike-friendly communities across America. What is that exactly?

Bicycle Friendly Communities

Bicycling is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges. It’s an opportunity to make your community a vibrant destination for residents and visitors — a place where people don’t just live and work, but thrive.

For more information, please check out The League of American Bicyclist website here.

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People Like Us

PambaWe are always trying to find like-minded people or groups who are out doing great things in the area. One group is PAMBA, the Peoria Area Mountain Biking Association.

You may not have a street riding side to you, but deep down you are a rugged trail rider at heart. That’s cool, we get it. If you don’t know about PAMBA, here’s what they’re all about:

The mission of the Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association (PAMBA) is to promote off-road bicycling through education, trail creation, trail maintenance, and social events.

PAMBA was formed in April of 2000 in order to promote and protect some of the best off-road cycling areas in the Midwest and to promote the sport of mountain biking throughout the Peoria area.

Ride over to their site today PAMBAMTB.org and find out more!

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City Hall

Bikes Around Town

Guess where?

City Hall

Have you spotted any bikes or bikers around town? Send us some pics of bikes around town to bikepeoria [at] gmail [dot] com

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Biking Basics

Are you bike curious? Don’t be shy. You hear about everybody these days riding their bike everywhere and you kinda want to get back on yours. The problem is, you may not be the bike buff you once were. If only someone could show you the way… Well, here’s a great video to get you back to the basics of riding a bike courtesy of the good folks at Grist.

Make sure to like Bike Peoria on Facebook and follow on Twitter @BikePeoria

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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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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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