Drive My Bike

Big City Bike Commuters Just Doing What It Takes

A couple of weeks ago I was in the Midwest on business, and I wanted to share some pictures and observations of the hardcore Chicago bike commuting scene.


I was in Chicago for several days, and I think the warmest it got was about 20 degrees (F), not counting the wind chill. The average temperature was probably about 10 degrees (F), and it dipped as low as 2 degrees (F) while I was there. Counting the wind chill I’m sure that things were well below zero.

Did these cold temperatures scare the bike commuters back inside? No way! There were commuters on bikes everywhere, at all times of the day. I was driving back to my hotel one evening, after 11pm, in the cold, and I probably passed at least ten bike commuters in the three mile drive. I was impressed.

What kind of conditions were these folks riding in? The road and traffic conditions were equally as bad as the bitter cold. Here’s some pictures I grabbed with my cell phone while I was driving…

You can’t read this sign very well, but it says, “Shared Lane Yield To Bikes”.


On the roads they have this symbol…


So basically what this means is that there is no bike lane. Instead bikes have the right of way in the right lane and as a bicyclist you have to hope that the motorists respect that right. Here’s what that looks like…


You can see the slush and snow on the side of the road, as well as the parked cars. This bicyclist was holding his own, aggressively taking the lane amidst the busy rush hour traffic. Again, there were bicyclists everywhere, and this was the norm.

So, this pretty much takes away most of the excuses that I have heard.

Bitter Cold? Heavy Traffic? Poor Road Conditions? Snow? Ice? Not a problem.

I guess when you ride in Chicago you just do what you have to do.

Props to you, Chicago bike commuters. Stay Warm. Stay Safe.


1 Comment so far
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I love this post! Of course, as a year-round Chicago bike commuter, I’m a bit biased. Seriously, though, great pictures and so interesting to read about the city from a visiting cyclist’s point of view. I might think these guys were crazy if I weren’t one of them 🙂

Comment by dottie

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