Bike News from the Trib

It's been a lousy summer, cycling wise. I have not had many opportunities to ride and my waistline is complaining about it. A got a flat about three weeks ago and did not get around to fixing it until Sunday. I hope to make up some miles in the fall, but I am not promising myself or anyone else.

In the meantime, there were some interesting cycling stories in the paper (by which I mean the Chicago Tribune) this week. The first was another story on the sudden popularity of fixed gear bikes. Read that here: Look, Ma! No brakes Chicago Tribune.

I may have mentioned that I final rode one of these. It belongs to my nephew who seems to be smack in the demographic in which fixies are popular. He is a 22 year old college kid living in Chicago. Riding it was disorienting at first. Even the process of getting on the bike required additional though. My usual habit of rolling forward while jumping on and then clicking into the pedals did not work because the pedals did not stop when I applied pressure. They just kept rotating and smacking the bottom of my shoe. Once I got going, everything was fine until I decided I needed to turn around. Normally, I would coast, brake, and turn. Of course, the first two items on that list were not options available on bike. I slowed my cadence to get to a safe turning speed and headed back to the house. Fixie riders claim their bikes make them "more connected to the ride." I get that. All the same, I will stick with brakes and gears to avoid being more connected to the pavement, or a parked car, or a moving truck.

Here is another story. This one is about a guy on the South Shore train line in South Bend returning to Chicago (apparently after a ride). He was ousted from the train for not having his bike properly stowed. As a result, he ended up with a $150 cab ride back to Chicago. The train company ended up refunding his fare (both for the train and the cab) since they let him get to South Bend to start with. The odd thing is that Metra, the major commuter railroad around here has a bikes on the train policy. The Metra policy continues to prohibit open bikes during rush hour, but they should get credit for the policy they have adopted. The South Shore might want to do a little benchmarking with Metra on this issue.


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