Results for tag "riding"

7 Articles

People Like Us

PBCSo you want to take your cycling to the next level? Well there’s a club for that. Have you heard of the Peoria Bicycle Club?

Peoria Bicycle Club is set up for the cyclist in the Peoria area to meet other competitive cyclist and be part of a local team recognized by USA cycling association. Our club includes cyclist male and female, and juniors from all category ranges. Our team focus’s on training for racing, with lots of resource’s available like a world class indoor training facility and USA cycling certified coach. Anyone interested in taking up their cycling fitness up a notch, this is the club for you.

Ride over and see the PCB at PeoriaBicycleClub.com

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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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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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How Bikes Can Save Us

We here at Bike Peoria enjoy the simplicity of riding a bike, but we also love technology. Infographics are changing the way we look at things, and they’re doing it in such an appealing way. Let’s start with this one.

Transportation alone accounts for 20% of an American family’s budget, the 2nd biggest cost after housing [STUDY]. Easily one of man’s best inventions and most underutilized inventions, the bicycle can help us Americans save: money,  lives, and ourselves from one of man’s other greatest inventions – the automobile.

This infographic puts it all into perspective that, well, just maybe, bikes can save us.

Source: Visual.ly

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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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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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