How serendipitous. Chicago Bike Blog just posted a nice piece reflecting on the spirit of community and the role it plays at the local bike shop level. There you’ll read about Laura and find a link to Sunny Safe Commute, “a marketing, training, and consulting firm focusing on bicycle commuting and cycling adventures,” which Laura started when she tired of selling “units.” Sunny Safe Commutes is about providing ordinary folks with services (i.e., not just stuff) they really need in order to give bike commuting an honest shot. For example, they’ll help you design a route tailored to your needs and destination; they’ll recommended gear that regular commuters find useful; they’ll help you find a place to shower and to store your gear; and they’ll even ride with you once or twice a week until you’re locked in. Yeah, wicked cool, and thoroughly practical help. Nice work, Laura.
Meanwhile, have you ever visited Chicago Bike Blog? Take some time to do so soon, and be sure to plant a bookmark, because you’ll definitely want to return. I found Chicago Bike Blog to be one of the most useful sites when I was first pondering whether to get back into cycling, and especially whether to become a bike commuter. Run by owners of a shop that specializes in bikes for everyday use, so to speak, the blog is loaded with smart, commonsense tips and with articles that clearly view both the world and cycling through the eyes of commuters. Their articles on Basic Bike Maintenance, Bike Locking Strategies, and Carrying Stuff on Your Bike are excellent multi-part guides that will help you think through the basics and thereby alleviate some of the concerns you may have about leaving your car behind. If you just happen to live in or around Chicago, they offer twenty-plus links to bike-friendly places, groups, and events in the area. (If you don’t live anywhere near Chicago, visit these sites anyway to be inspired about what could be done in your community. That’s what I do.)
Being only minutes away from taking my first ride with my oldest daughter (a mere twenty months of age and totally digging her new helmet), I’m going to give their Biking with Kids article another quick review right now.