Category: chicago

Bakfiets in Chicago

Seattle bike dealer to open Dutch bike shop in Chicago

Stephan Schier of the Dutch Bike Company Seattle plans to open the Dutch Bike Company Chicago (aka Dutch Bike Chicago) in September. “We already have an enthusiastic customer base in Chicago,” Stephan tells me, so it made sense for them to open a dealership there.

Dutch Bike Seattle is currently one of only a handful of North American dealers who imports the Bakfiets cargo bike, as well as other utility bikes from WorkCycles, Amsterdam’s utility bike experts. Stephan plans to carry these bikes in the new Chicago store, as well as bikes from the Azor brand (Oma, Opa, and Transport bikes); Danish Velobris bikes; the German Retrovelo brand; Birdy folding bikes and more.

Stephan is pretty excited about his Chicago plans. “Anyone visiting the city can see volumes of cyclists on the main boulevards on all manner of bikes and in all manner of dress. They are vying for a shot to host the Olympics and a well developed transportation infrastructure, which includes cycling, will make Chicago a highly attractive candidate.”

Bikes from WorkCycles in Amsterdam

The Dutch Bike Company will ship bikes anywhere in the United States, but shipping charges are pretty high for these heavy duty bikes. They recommend that buyers make a trip to the store and then ride the new bike home because there’s “plenty of room for your camping supplies and a cooler!”

Alternatively, Stephan says, “If there are a bunch of Bafiets aficionados who want to make a group purchase, we can likely palletize a batch, ship them by truck and drastically reduce the freight charges.”

Learn more:

Chicago passes bicycle safety ordinance

(I almost wrote “ordnance,” which could either be really good or really bad for cyclists).

The City of Chicago passed the Bicycle Safety Ordinance this afternoon. The new law now establishes fines for turning left or right in front of a bicyclist, passing a bicyclist with less than three feet of space, and opening a vehicle door into the path of a bicyclist. Fines range from $150 to $500 and go up to $500 if the violation results in a bicycle crash.

It also establishes a fine for double-parking in a marked shared lane, and increases the fine for driving, standing or parking in a bicycle lane.

“We are committed to making Chicago the most bicycle friendly city in the country, and safety is a very critical part of the plan,” Daley said after the measure passed. “More than 6,000 crashes between bicycles and motor vehicles were reported in Chicago between 2001 and 2005. Unfortunately, 30 bicyclists were killed. These new laws will help prevent injuries and save lives.”

Daley defended bike messengers when asked about their sometimes risky riding and rude behavior. “The bike messengers are a breed unto themselves,” Daley said, smiling. “I got to meet a lot of them so I know a lot of them. They’ve got a job to do, and like anything else, they are respecting the laws on the road and all that, and the rules.”

From Chicagoland Bicycle Federation via Jennifer in Chicago. Dave also points us to an illustrated PDF with photographic examples of the types of actions this law prohibits.

Bicycle snow plow

It’s been at least a year since somebody has mentioned David Peterson’s bicycle snow plow.

David Peterson's bicycle snow plow
Peterson rides his bike seven miles to his job at Fermilab in Chicago Chicagoland. When he built this snow plow for his bicycle several years ago, the bike paths he took to work weren’t plowed, so he started walking to work with a shovel and shoveling the path along the way. He soon moved up to a push plow, a contraption he pushes like a baby stroller with angled blades to push the snow to the side.

In 2002, he built his tow-behind snow plow.

david peterson and his bicycle snow plow
David Peterson posts the history and detailed construction plans for the bicycle snow plow at his website. I have no idea if he still uses this (the website was last updated in 2005), but I’ve sent Peterson an email and we’ll see what he says.

Here’s another bicycle snow plow photo I found randomly on the web.