As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

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Tailgate

Bicycling Mon Mar 30 2015

Race the 2015 Gapers Block Criterium

Half Acre Cycling Gapers Block CritsStill in your winter malaise? Haven't really prepared for bike racing season? Well your chance is next week with Half Acre Cycling at the 2015 Gapers Block Criterium in Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G, starting Monday, April 6 and running through April 9. For four days, racers of all genders interested in criterium racing can come gain experience and motivation to get ready for the upcoming racing season. Registration costs $40 for women's cat 5, $60 for men's cat 4/5 or 5.

Jake Payne

Bicycling Tue Apr 22 2014

Chicago College Students, Grab Your Bike for Bike2Campus Week

b2campus_week.jpgBy Nick Wright

If you're a college student in Chicago who bikes to campus, this is your week to shine. Don't ride much, or at all? Air up the tires of that Schwinn 10-speed, or grab a Divvy bike. It's Bike2Campus Week.

During this week (April 21-25), Bike2Campus Week is part collegiate competition, part challenge that encourages students from ten local colleges and universities to use two wheels for trips to and from class. At the end of the week, the school with the highest participation percentage will earn a winning title. Prizes, too! The top pedaler at each campus gets a one-year Divvy membership, and the top rider overall earns a four-year Divvy membership with his or her photo featured on divvybikes.com.

Continue reading this entry »

Tailgate

Bicycling Fri Mar 28 2014

Half Acre Cycling Hosts Sixth Annual Gapers Block Crits

By Nick Wright

gapers block crits 2013This week, the Tribune ran a story about the delays that spring sports — baseball, soccer, softball — are facing because of the still-frozen fields. Talk about a bummer. It's supposedly been spring for a week now, but it seems Mother Nature's joke is on us.

Ice-afflicted earth aside, the end of March always marks the beginning of road bicycle racing season in Chicago, beginning with the sixth annual Gapers Block Criterium, hosted by Half Acre Cycling. The series is four days (Monday, March 31 through Thursday, April 3), with races each evening for men and women. If you're new to road racing, this is the chance to test the waters. The course is a 1-mile loop at Calumet Park on Chicago's south side, a stone's throw from Lake Michigan.

What's a criterium, you ask? Essentially, a criterium (or "crit") is a race in which road cyclists ride laps around a closed course for a set time. Beginners race for 30 minutes, and higher competition categories race longer. The races are usually held on closed-off city streets, and the course is generally 1 mile long. (As a first-time crit racer last year, I often describe it as NASCAR for bikes.)

Continue reading this entry »

Tailgate

Bicycling Tue Sep 03 2013

What are a Bicyclist's Rights in The City of Chicago? Let's Find Out.

Bicycle Accident CardAccording to Bicycling Magazine, Chicago ranks 5th in America's Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities. We should be proud, but we're not, are we? Would we have been happy if the Chicago Blackhawks got the fifth place in hockey? Heck no. We're Chicagoans. We want to be the most bike-friendly city in America. Whether you're a cyclist or not, some education about the Chicago bicycle laws will help us get to number one. We can do it!

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Willens / Comments (8)

Bicycling Wed Jul 31 2013

The Importance of Bicycle Collision Data

Chicago-Bicycle-Accident-Map.jpgCycling in Chicago is becoming more and more popular not only as a source of recreation and exercise, but, for many, as the primary method of transportation. The warm weather attracts people to their bikes and now with the Divvy bike-share program expanding on what seems to be a daily basis; more and more cyclists have taken to the road. Many commuters have also replaced vehicles with bicycles as a way to save money, avoid traffic and parking woes and help the environment.

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Willens / Comments (1)

Bicycling Thu Jul 18 2013

Children's Bicycle Safety in Chicago

As a father of three children under the age of 13, I am hyper-sensitive to the issue of child bicycle safety. It wasn't too long ago that I taught them each how to ride a bike.

How do we teach our children to ride a bicycle? Do we teach bicycle safety?

Here was my process: 1. Removed training wheels from bike; 2. Put child on bike and said, "I'm going to hold onto you, jog down the block for a bit and then let go"; 3. Started jogging along with them until they seemed steady; 4. Let go of bike; 5. Watched helplessly as they lost control and fell; 6. Helped them up; 7. Watched them get mad at me and run inside house to pout for a bit; 8. Repeated steps 3 and 4.

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Willens

Bicycling Thu Jul 11 2013

There Are More Bikes But Are There More Helmets?

Divvy-Bikes.jpgHere's an equation that I ask you to solve: bicycles + cyclists unfamiliar with Chicago bike laws - helmets = ? Read on, come back and fill in your answer.

If you haven't noticed, Chicago has a new bike-share program called the Divvy bike-share program. There are racks of bikes set up all through the city and people can rent them for limited periods of time. There will be 300 bike-share stations open in Chicago by August. You can rent a bike from one rack and return it to another. You may have seen these bikes around (photo above).

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Willens / Comments (8)

Bicycling Tue Jul 02 2013

Protected Bike Lanes: Who Needs Them? We Do!

Why do Chicagoans need protected bike lanes? Recently, there was a car vs. bicycle accident on Clybourn Avenue in Old Town. The driver of the bicycle, Bobby Cann, 26, was killed, sending shivers through the biking community. Some think this accident could have been avoided if this stretch of Clybourn had protected bike lanes (PBLs).

The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has proposed building PBLs on Clybourn. However, the street is under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and IDOT has "red lighted" PBLs on roads under its jurisdiction until 2014, when there's three years of safety data in Chicago to consider. Many question why IDOT needs years of data to study when it's quite obvious that designated bike lanes help keep cyclists out of harm's way.

Continue reading this entry »

Matt Willens / Comments (4)

Bicycling Mon Mar 25 2013

Half Acre Cycling Celebrates 5 Years of Gapers Block Crits

gbcrits5.jpgBy Annette Stahelin

It's March, which in the Chicago cycling community means it's about time to see how we've all fared over a winter of joyless indoor biking and finally get to test our mettle against one another in the first criterium race series of the season! Now in its fifth year, Half Acre Cycling's Gapers Block Crits is a week-long race series held at the beautiful and little-known (to Northsiders) Calumet Park! Fun fact about Calumet Park: it's home to the Lake Shore Model Train exhibit -- check it out on the Wednesday of the series when it's open to the public!

Half Acre Cycling has been throwing this race series to provide an entry point for beginner bike racers looking to get their feet wet -- offering four days of racing at affordable prices in a low-key racing environment. A criterium offers spectators the ability to watch racers each time they come around the typical 1-mile or less closed circuit, with excitement growing as racers near the final lap.

The first race starts at 6:10pm each day, with the last starting at 7:30pm. Online registration is closed; walk-up registration is $20 per day for men and $10 per day for women. And even if you're not riding, you can watch and cheer racers on for free!

~*~

Annette Stahelin is a member of Half Acre Cycling; Gapers Block is a team sponsor.

Tailgate

Bicycling Fri Jun 17 2011

Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein Meets Chicago's Bicycle Community

by John Greenfield

Today's Bike to Work Week rally in Daley Plaza was inspiring, a far cry from last year's lackluster event, thanks to big plans for bicycling from new mayor Rahm Emanuel and forward-thinking transportation commissioner Gabe Klein.

In 2010 Chicago's efforts to become a world-class bike town had stagnated. The city had installed over 100 miles of bike lanes and over 10,000 parking racks, achieved bike access on transit and educated multitudes about safe cycling, but we seemed to be resting on our laurels. Meanwhile other U.S. cities were pioneering car-separated bike lanes, automated bike sharing systems, on-street parking corrals, traffic-calmed "bike boulevard" streets, car-free "ciclovia" events and more.

2011biketoworkrally.jpg

Continue reading this entry »

Tailgate / Comments (5)

Cycling Mon Jun 13 2011

On the Right (Cycle) Track?

Chicagoans sound off about the new car-separated bike lanes on Kinzie

by John Greenfield

Richard M. Daley had a widespread, if somewhat undeserved, reputation as a bicycle-friendly mayor. But with Rahm Emanuel in power, along with progressive new transportation commissioner Gabe Klein, it looks like there's going to be a sea change in the way the city pushes pedaling.

Emanuel's Chicago 2011 Transition Plan includes three bold, possibly unrealistic, bike goals. But it's refreshing that the City is finally making big plans that have, to paraphrase Daniel Burnham, magic to stir cyclists' blood.

The mayor's bike proposal, obviously influenced by transition team member Randy Neufeld, former director of the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, calls for expanding our anemic automated public bike sharing system from only 100 bicycles to thousands of vehicles. The mayor also promises to build the Bloomingdale Trail, a 2.65-mile elevated rails-to-trails conversion on the Northwest Side within his first term, although it's taken two years just to get the design contract approved and the price tag for the trail is estimated at $50-70 million.

The third goal may be the least realistic but most exciting, and there's already rubber, nay bike lane paint, on the road. Rahm has pledged to install 100 miles of European-style "cycle tracks," bike lanes that are physically separated from cars by medians, parked cars and/or posts, within his first four years in office. This would require a lot more money than is currently spent on striping eight miles of conventional bike lanes per year, and it would involve taking away travel lanes and parking spaces from automobiles.

Continue reading this entry »

Tailgate / Comments (7)

Bicycling Sun Nov 28 2010

WTTW's Geoffrey Baer Discusses His New Show, "Biking the Boulevards"

This article was submitted by John Greenfield.

geoffreybaer.jpg"Biking the Boulevards," premiering on WTTW on Monday, Nov. 29, at 7:30pm, focuses on three topics: Chicago's 28-mile boulevard system, the often-overlooked neighborhoods and parks connected by the boulevards, and the history of cycling in Chicago.

In the show, host Geoffrey Baer, a veteran of many local travel and architecture documentaries, leads a tour of this network of tree-lined streets, first developed in the 1860s, from the seat of a Pashley Roadster Sovereign bicycle, showcasing features you might not notice while speeding by in a car. He pedals by landmarks like Bronzeville's Walk of Fame, Laredo Taft's Fountain of Time sculpture on the Midway Plaissance, the golden dome of the Garfield Park field house, and Logan Square's eagle-topped Illinois Centennial Monument.

I recently talked to Baer about the making of the program, aspects of the boulevards and local bike history that may come as a surprise to Chicagoans, and his own ideas about how to improve cycling here.

Continue reading this entry »

Tailgate

Bicycling Tue Aug 31 2010

Cupcakes! Bikes! Cupcake Bike Tour!

bike cupcakes
You get the idea.
(photo by Flickr user freefakesmiles)

Normally wouldn't pair bicycling and eating cupcakes, but I'm certainly not going to argue against it. Far from it. This Saturday, Sept. 4, is your chance to take your buns and your baked goods (see what I did there?) on the road for a Cupcake Bike Tour. Hosted by the gals at Cupcakes Take the Cake, the tour starts at Fritz Pastry and continues to Sweet Mandy B's and Molly's, ending at Phoebe's Cupcakes. The whole shindig kicks off at 1 p.m. and is free -- though be sure to bring cash to purchase cupcakes along the way. RSVP to participate on their site.

Kara Luger / Comments (1)

Bicycling Fri Aug 27 2010

Happy Friday

Gapers critical mass use.jpg

(The following does not represent the official views of Critical Mass or of Gaper's Block and is merely one bicyclist's perspective.)

Today is a Happy Friday and not just because it will be the weekend soon and it is still quite nice out. It's especially happy today because of Critical Mass, the bicycle movement that this city just wouldn't be the same without. Even though other cities celebrate Critical Mass, I like to think Chicago's is special because of the welcoming people that are here to enjoy it. This is the kind of thing that neighborhood kids jump up and down over. This is the same mass that people watch from their balconies, clapping and smiling. It brings a bit of joy to people in different areas of the city and what they see passing by may just be thousands of bicycles to the naked eye but symbolizes community and possibilities.

Continue reading this entry »

Kirstie Shanley / Comments (73)

Bicycling Thu Aug 05 2010

Dirt Jam a Total Success

IMG_6881

So the skies opened up last Friday and the Garden Dirt Jam, CAMBR's big party for celebrating the "official-and-legal-ness" of The Garden (3400 N. Rockwell) went off Saturday with few hitches despite the dampness.

For those who don't know, the Garden is located on a long-abused and ignored patch of land behind Lane Tech High School. BMXers and MTB trials riders took over the grounds and built a passel of jumps, berms, and platforms that utilized demolished building foundations and the natural terrain to create a short and fast pump track. Over the past year, volunteers from CAMBR have cleaned up the grounds, removed trash, and made the Gardens into a place where the public can come, ride bikes, and enjoy themselves without fear of a ticket for trespassing.

Saturday was the big party to welcome this thing into being. Races, demonstrations, and lots of sweet jumps ruled the day. Click here for a massive album of photos from the Dirt Jam -- notice the big air and rad hits. The wet grounds were no match for a huge enthusiastic crowd, though the clouds of mosquitoes left everyone quite drained at day's end. Blame the drenching rains, not the tight jumps, for those bloodsuckers.

Zach Thomas

Bicycling Wed Jun 23 2010

Bikin' Around (in the Rain)

Biking in the rain sounds crappy, but it's basically biking in the snow, only less tedious and with fewer layers of gloves and socks. See? It's not so bad! There are a few precautions specific to biking in the rain.

bikinaroundlogo.jpg

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Joanis

Bicycling Wed May 19 2010

Snakebite Flats and a Biking Column

This is a new monthly, comic-style column covering bike riding, maintenance, and safety. The focus will be on basic bike ideas, for example today's topic is the vexing snakebite flat tire. Chicago may not have any hills, but it's got a few potholes that are basically manholes.

bikinaroundlogo.jpg

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Joanis / Comments (1)

Events Tue Jan 19 2010

Braving the Cold

The day: January 20. The year: 1985. Temperature: -27 degrees. Wind chill: as low as -93 degrees. The coldest day in Chicago on record, and to celebrate people are dusting off their bikes and pedaling to the office. The Active Transportation Alliance is putting on it's annual Winter Bike to Work Day tomorrow.

For those brave enough to bike in the cold, head over to Active Trans's location at 9 W. Hubbard Street between 6:30 and 9 a.m. for Caribou Coffee and a sweet treat. And don't worry, the weather will be much milder compared to twenty-five years ago.

Vanessa Day / Comments (2)

White Sox Tue Dec 08 2009

Conventional Wisdom

The roster of White Sox players attending the team's annual convention has been expanded with stalwarts Mark Buerhle, Paul Konerko and Gordon Beckham joining Freddy Garcia, Jayson Nix, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez, Matt Thornton and newly signed Andruw Jones at SoxFest 2010, January 22-24 at the Palmer House Hilton.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have announced that ticket sales for their annual convention in 2010 will go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. The convention will kick off July 30 at the Hilton and feature Blackhawks Hall-of-Famers and Team Ambassadors Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito and Denis Savard, General Manager Stan Bowman along with head coach Joel Quenneville and players Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane.

Ken Green

News Thu Sep 24 2009

Short Hops

  • Will he or won't he? President Obama may go pitch Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics afterall (with Arne Duncan in tow). But, as everyone knows, Oprah has the last word.
  • Whither goest thou, White Sox? Kenny Williams is trying to figure that out.
  • Milton Bradley says he's sorry. Does anyone care?
  • Cubs fans disillusioned by the outcome of this season can take a look back at the 1984 team. Not that the outcome then was any better, but still...
  • Seattle's T.J. Houshmandzadeh says he has something to prove when the Seahawks meet the Bears this Sunday. Meanwhile, the Bears seek to establish the running game. But if wide receiver Johnny Knox continues his ascent, we can wait a little while.
  • Mixed martial arts star Fedor Emelianenko is coming to Chicago in November. Take appropriate action.
  • And you find yourself...riding a bike down Michigan Ave. Musician David Byrne talks about his cycling fixation and cruising around Chicago.
  • Boxer David Diaz brings it back home this Saturday.
  • If you're participating in the sixth annual Salmon Classic this Sunday at Northerly Island, use this as inspiration.
  • The Chicago Fire prepare to honor another Chicago soccer team who weren't too shabby themselves in their day.
  • Late Chicago Olympian Willye White has a new park named in her honor.
  • The Big Ten football season kicks off this Saturday and while other teams discuss strategy for their upcoming opponents, Northwestern's gridiron gang has different concerns on their mind.
  • The Chicago Outfit close out their 2009 season this Saturday at the Windy City Fieldhouse. Get pumped up for the contest by checking out the cool video below.

The Chicago Outfit - The Latest Show Ever from Spencer M. Rohan on Vimeo.

Ken Green / Comments (1)

News Thu Jul 30 2009

Short Hops

  • Boy, you have one inter-team spat... Even though the Bears are denying any rift between Brian Urlacher and new QB Jay Cutler, USA Today has concluded that the team is the new Dallas Cowboys.
  • Can we leave the poor guy alone? A documentary is being planned on Steve Bartman and the "incident".
  • Speaking of the Cubs, the middle of their lineup (Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Milton Bradley) are heating up at just the right time.
  • If the Illini make it to the Rose Bowl again, they can thank... Donovan McNabb?
  • If you join up with the Fork In The Road biking and dining group, will you be having a well-rounded meal?
  • Not only are the Chicago Fire doing well in MSL action, but their developmental and Super-20 teams aren't doing too shabby either.
  • The Chicago Huddle, a weekly Bears preview and recap show, is looking for a spokesperson to open each program. Looking at the photo on the front of the video, I can't for the life of me figure out what they're looking for.
  • The Chicago Women In Baseball League and the Chicago Gems baseball club will take their skills to a bigger audience when they conduct and exhibition prior to the start of a Schaumburg Flyers game during Women In Baseball Day

Ken Green

Bicycling Mon Jun 08 2009

Bike To Work A Special Time...For Some

Yeah, we know. You don't need any special week as incentive to ride your bike to work. You're an everyday two-wheeled commuter, streaking past stalled traffic, your change of clothes neatly tucked away in your pannier, a system you've perfected after years of practice. Riding to the front door of your downtown office and maybe even outfitting your bike with special tires to blast through the snowy streets of Chicago in November.

So we can understand if you get a little smug as the rest of the city dusts off their barely used Schwinns or Treks and awaken long dormant muscles to take part in the annual Bike To Work Week that kicks off next Saturday and runs through June 19. Bike to Work week? Psh, everyday is bike-to-work week for you.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green / Comments (4)

News Thu Apr 09 2009

Short Hops

  • The Great Dewayne Wise Experiment is over. Ozzie's going with Chris Getz in the leadoff spot for tonight's game. Getz says he's ready for the change.
  • Bears tracks: Orlando Pace says he came here to play with a winner; Will Cutler fit in with the Bears, and if so, will he be throwing to this guy?
  • ESPN's much-ballyhooed (never thought I'd write that word) Chicagocentric website debuts Monday.
  • If you like your sports bloody and brutal (other than badminton, I mean), you probably already have your tickets to the upcoming World Extreme Cagefighting match at Allstate Arena
  • A Pennsylvania man is biking 840 miles to Chicago to bring awareness to the fight against brain tumors and take part in a special 5K.
  • The Chicago area just missed out on another championship as the Chicago Mission lost in the title game of the USA Hockey Nationals.
  • The first-year Red Stars are looking to succeed where other Chicago soccer franchises have failed and their victory over St. Louis puts then on the right path. You can see for yourself at their home debut on April 19.
  • The Chicago Force kick off their 2009 season this Saturday, April 11, in Iowa vs. the Crush, before returing to North Park University for their home opener April 18 against the Wisconsin Warriors. You can hear head coach John Konecki discuss the upcoming season this Friday on AM 1240 (11 a.m.) and on WJJG-AM 1530 at 4:15 p.m.

    Ken Green

News Thu Nov 20 2008

Short Hops

  • And the Cubs post-season post-mortem examination continues, with Lou Pinella blaming that old standby, the media, while Ryan Dempster says the team flatout wasn't ready. Hey guys, sorry, no do-overs.
  • Meanwhile, the White Sox, who seems to have come to grips with their playoff loss, work on keeping Bobby Jenks around. But did Nick Swisher phone it in for much of the season?
  • Four area college soccer teams have made it to the NCAA tournament.
  • It was bound to happen after that embarrassing loss to the Packers: The "Fire Lovie" talks are heating up. Here is one blogs' 10 reasons why he deserves the ax. Meanwhile, Fanhouse questions Lovie's assessment that the Bears receivers are "pretty good".
  • The Bulls' Derrick Rose sits atop most Sports Illustrated NBA writers' list of early top rookies. Naturally.
  • It's not the major draw it used to be, but prep football is still a big deal in Chicago. The Catholic League is gearing up for its title game, pitting Loyola Academy against De La Salle.
  • A disabled cyclist bikes 1,064 miles from Jacksonville, Fla. to Chicago. His final destination? Where else: Oprah.
  • The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation gets a new name.
  • The Chicago Outfit wants YOU... well, that is, if you're a female and don't mind getting knocked around a little. There's a recruitment Q&A tonight at 9:30
  • The Onion reports on an unusual source of nourishment for the BearsHungry-Bears-Defense-R.jpg and God's plans for the Cubs.
  • If you haven't had enough of cornhole, and really who has (OK, put your hands down), there's a Thanksgiving tournament coming up called the "Turkeyhole Classic" coming up here in Chicago. No, really.

Ken Green

News Thu Oct 23 2008

Short Hops

  • Not a big fan of the ultimate fighting myself (Saturday nights in Wrigleyville about 10 years ago... Been there, done that). But for those who are, this is a big weekend in UFC-land, including a weight-in and Q&A open to the fans on Friday at the Chicago Theater. The main event, of course, is Saturday at the Allstate Arena.
  • If you think you want to give it a shot yourself, there are tryouts on Monday. Note: There will be blood.
  • Not to be outdone, UFC's bastard cousin, pro wrestling, has a bunch of events lined up in the coming days as well on the local level.
  • USA Today is as surprised at Kyle Orton as we are.
  • A Chicago woman is at the center of a controversy on how marathons are timed. The recent Chicago Marathon also has a mini-controversy base on the timing system.
  • Chicago State University has a new AD and a new conference.
  • A new fan joins Bear Nation...but hangs on to his Detroit Lion allegiance. Why?
  • Cool Hunting has a story on Chicago's new Dutch Bike shop.
  • The Windy City Rollers crack the seal on their new home, the UIC Pavilion, with a match against the Carolina Rollergirls. Oh, and there's supposed to be free beer!
  • The bye-week Bears talk about their scariest Halloween costumes. Probably not as scary as their game against Atlanta, but still...

Ken Green

News Thu Sep 25 2008

Short Hops

  • The White Sox ship may be sinking, but Juan Uribe is worried about a different boat.
  • Cubs' manager Lou Pinella talks about his future with the Cubs.
  • "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks has added to this personal roster.
  • With talk of the sale of the Cubs heating up again, a YouTube video offers one possible outcome.
  • That All-Time Cubs/White Sox team has irked one fan... in Indianapolis.
  • The White Sox will take on the Reds in next year's Civil Rights Game.
  • Donovan McNabb says he's fired up to play against the Bears this Sunday. Great... just great.
  • An AIDS activist is running from New York City to Chicago to raise awareness of the disease's devastating affect in Africa
  • The Chicago Red Stars of the Women's Professional Soccer league obtained the rights to four international stars.
  • "Cicero Fury" comes to, well, Cicero in the form of an evening of boxing on October 17.
  • Brush up on your Big Wheel skills. The Urban Assault Ride is coming to Chicago this weekend.
  • More pedal-powered fun: bike polo.

Ken Green

Feature Thu Sep 11 2008

Short Hops

  • No, we didn't expect the Bears to beat the Colts last Sunday night either. But if they're going to build on that, there are three things they must do to beat the Carolina Panthers this Sunday.
  • Even if they don't win the game, the Bears are still scoring touchdowns at the bank.
  • Arguing over who gets the last drumstick is one thing. But a Cubs-White Sox World Series could drive one family nuts.
  • REALLY old school White Sox fans will mourn the death of former manager Don Gutteridge.
  • Current White Sox star Carlos Quentin hopes to be healthy by the playoffs. Question is: will he be playing or watching?
  • Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes, the Blackhawks' Teen Titans (OK, they're not really teens but it's not far off) get some more (inter)national publicity.
  • From Kansas City to Chicago on a bike: Are gas prices THAT high?
  • The marathon gold-medalist from this year's Olympics, Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania has joined the field (pdf) of runners for the 2008 Chicago marathon. Hopefully, we'll have better weather this year.
  • The Sky take on the New York Liberty in their next-to-last game of their WNBA regular season.
  • Chicago teams finished third, fourth and fifth in the 2008 North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association Gay Softball World Series.
  • You're in Lisle. You're riding your bike. You have a hankering to see a play. What are you going to do?

Ken Green

Cycling Thu Aug 28 2008

Register Now for Cyclocross Clinic

Register now for the Chicago 'Cross Cup's cyclocross skills clinic, on Saturday September 13, hosted by Ben Turner of Cycle-Smart, a CX racer who has raced in Europe, doing well in a racing environment that many Americans seem to not do so well in. The race flyer with more information on it is here.

And if you pre-register for the clinic, you get in line to receive a free copy of Cycle-Smart's "Solutions for Cyclo-Cross" DVD and other schwag. Everyone likes free stuff and when you couple free stuff with coaching and advice from a real expert, well, the deal's made even better.

Last night and this morning, I was out practicing my CX skills in anticipation for a busy autumn of racing and the point that technique and skill matters just as much as a set of strong legs and lungs was really hammered home. Yeah, you can pedal hard on the flats and up the hills, but if you can't dismount and remount without coming to a complete stop or crashing, well, you're gonna need some help. And judging from my bruised shoulder and posterior earned after tripping over the barriers and flying over my handlebars, it might not be a bad idea for me to register for this clinic, too.

Zach Thomas

News Thu Aug 28 2008

Short Hops

  • Stories That Will Not Die 1: Mariotti says he's not going to Boston, which leaves only five bazillion other cities for him to tell us where he's not going. Also, the Sun-Times takes a parting shot at their one-time star columnist.
  • Stories That Will Not Die 2: The Wall Street Journal says Barack Obama isn't the only one down on the Wrigley Field Experience. And Sports Illustrated jumps on the pile, too. But another website turns the other cheek and tries to link White Sox-lovin' Obama with the Cubs.
  • Stories That Will Not Die 3: Another week, another standing: Now, Chicago is supposedly the front runner for the 2016 Olympics.
  • The City of Chicago has a plan to make use the most bike-friendly place in the world.
  • Professional squash fever: Catch it! An international pro squash tournament is headed here.
  • A lesson in how not to write a press release, this one involving the Bears. My favorite sentence: "The Chicago Bears tickets have many sources of power that let the team to be so."
  • Among upcoming events at Soldier Field: the Chicago High School Kick Off Classic this weekend.

Ken Green

Bicycling Mon Aug 25 2008

One Championship Down, One to Go

The Illinois State Road Race Championships, aka The Tour of Oak Brook, was held this past Saturday. Official results aren't yet up, and here they are. The grapevine's come around with news of the race, and while numerous crashes and registration issues marred the good times a bit, by and large, the race went off well.

Chris Padfield's already made a big name for himself in the 3's, earning big props for a huge solo effort that while didn't earn him the win, at least let him earn a bit of an reputation.

Check out this link to CBR for additional race reports.

And as a reminder, coming up this weekend is the North American Cycle Courier Championships. A messenger prom, bike polo, and gratuitous and impressive displays of package handling will be the main attractions. Oh, and BBQ. It ain't a party unless someone's grilling something, and if bike action's not enough to get you out of your house, maybe the vague promise of grilled eats will. And yes, all events are open to "civvies."

Zach Thomas

Cycling Mon Aug 18 2008

Downers Grove to Oak Brook

While summer's heat still rages, the regional criterium racing is starting to wind down. Superweek was a blast, same with Elk Grove, and the Chicago Criterium, and now cyclists are setting-up their cyclocross bikes, ordering their cowbells, and practicing their dismounts for the upcoming Chicago 'Cross Cup. However, 'cross season's not here yet - there's still plenty of road and crit racing to be had.

This past weekend saw a whole lot of race action in Downers Grove, in which Rahsaan Bahati of Rock Racing earned the stars and bars and became the National Criterium Champ, by coming in ahead of Alex Candelario of Kelly Benefit Strategies and Mark Hekman of Toshiba Santo.

In the men's 3/4 race, Ryan Freund, a member of the IIT/Cycle Smithy squad, took first, leaving second and third place to Julian Baumgartner of Burnham Racing and Ricardo Otero of Team Mack, respectively. Local cycling talent in the Women's 1/2/3 race was shut out from the top places, but in the 3/4 race Catherine Burnham of Bartlett came in third place.

Looking ahead, the Tour of Oak Brook on August 23, which also serves as the Illinois road race state championship seems to be the biggest highlight. The course, a winding 3.2 miler (nearly the minimum distance for a road race, and not much longer than a crit) should break up the field with two hills, or whatever passes for hills in Chicagoland.

Registration's filling-up fast, so if you want to earn the right to sport the Illinois Champ's jersey for next year, better head on over.

Zach Thomas

News Thu Jul 17 2008

Short Hops

  • The Windy City Rollers threw the smack down in their 138-19 trampling of the Tuscon Saddle Tramps in roller derby action.
  • The Blackhawks' Nikolai Khabibulin to the Ottawa Senators? Reports out of Canada say it's in the works.
  • Never let them see you sweat: Barack Obama is apparently a gym rat.
  • Women's Health Magazine is asking local female fitness buffs: "Are You Game?" (pdf)
  • The Chicago Bandits have a chance to move into first place in the NPF when they continued their four-game series against the league-leading Philadelphia Force tonight. The Bandits beat the Force 3-1 in the series opener on Wednesday.
  • The 2008 Aberdeen Street Dodgeball Ninjas will host their summer tournament this Saturday at Sheridan Park. If nothing else, it should provide some interesting photos.
  • The Chicago Cycling Club hosts a "Baseball Nostalgia Tour", which includes stops at 10 present and former ballparks and lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern.
  • And speaking of baseball, an all-Cubs channel? I thought we already had that...and referred to it as the local news (said the White Sox fan with the inferiority complex).

Ken Green

Bicycling Mon May 19 2008

Car Culture on Lakefront Path

Lakefront Path is one of Chicago's primary alternate transportation arteries. Over eighteen miles of trail pass through Southshore, Lincoln, Jackson, Burnham, and Grant Park allowing thousands of cyclists, skaters, tourists, and runners to pound the path daily. The path is both a reminder of Chicago's rich architectural history (skyline views are plentiful) and glimpse of a potential future where alternative transportation methods replace gas hungry automobiles.

Nuzzled next to Chicago's famous Lake Shore Drive, however, the path adopts many components of car culture. A familiar mixture of pedestrians, stoplights, informative signage, and different sized vehicles litter Lakefront Path. Pay attention to the below analogies and always remember to avoid Gapers Block (the social phenomenon not the publication).

Sedans, SUVS, and Hybrids
. Driving down Lake Shore Drive usually presents an interesting collage of vehicles ranging from taxi cabs to Hummers, all driving at different speeds with separate destinations. Filling the role of the Hummer and large SUV on Lakefront Path is the in-line skate. Both SUVs and in-line skates boast a disproportionate "energy to distance traveled" ratio and also consume an excessive amount of lane space. Scientific studies from the Angelos Foundation suggest one skater occupies the space of 2.5 cyclists with road tires.

Continue reading this entry »

Andy Angelos / Comments (1)

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