The Chainlink

Hi All!

I'm really interested in organizing a ride in our neighborhood, and would really appreciate your input!  I've reached out to my meetup group of moms here, but am a little unsure about which route would work best.  I'm also unsure of the distance you usually cover...  And how to cross some of our streets down here.  Unfortunately we haven't been to any other KM rides, though we really wanted to we had conflicts all summer.  Thank you for any help!

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Thinking Oct. 13th to start...

Nevermind the 13th, that's the marathon.  It's on our meetup calendar tentatively for the 5th.

regarding a route. let me suggest circular route in Dearborn park I and II
starting at the park behind Dearborn station, going south to cotton tail park then back north on federal cross thru the parking lot back to Plymouth. there is a path roosevelt park then back Dearborn station.  repeat as needed.
I live in that area and I rode this route many times with my nephew.

Thanks, I was thinking the same, so "repeat as needed" will come into play!  But that's the route that makes the most sense.  

I am glad someone can help with routing since it has been years since I've lived in that area and definitely pre-child biking.

My kids have been riding with the Logan Square Kidical Mass since it's start and on occasion we lead the ride.  The guidelines put out in the flyers do accurately reflect what the ride usually entails - kids wear helmets, ride usually takes about an hour and cover 2 to 3 miles, and it is suitable for children riding on their own (balance bikes and training wheels usually have difficulty covering that distance).  Younger children generally ride on parents bikes and everyone should be accompanied by an adult.

Have you done group rides in the past? With or without children? The route you plan should be able to be ridden by a child safely.  This is not necessarily the same route I would take with kids on my personal bike.  To cross major intersections, 4 way stops are easiest but lights can also work (if the group is large, it can be difficult to get all kids thru on one light).  It helps to have an adult or two willing to cork at such intersections (not legal technically but it helps with groups of children and most drivers are understanding).  We ring bells and wave a lot and generally make it a festive and friendly atmosphere.  On one way streets - which are great for riding with kids - assume that you will take up most of the street and that it will not be safe for cars to pass.  Have a plan to pull over to the side and let traffic pass should a few cars begin to travel behind the group.  If you travel on a two-way street, be sure that the kids understand that they should stay to the right.  In other Kidical Masses, some adults to generally try to stay to the middle of a two way street to give guidance so kids don't move to far past middle.

Starting and stopping at a park work best.  Bonus if there is a restroom at the ending park.  Sometimes we frequent a local business - particularly if weather is bad.  It's not true of all the other masses, but most start with a loop around the beginning park.  This helps kids and parents get a feel for whether or not all bikes are in rideable condition and as a leader you can get a feel for which riders might lag behind.  If some show up with training wheels, this helps to determine whether or not they will be able to do the whole ride.

I would encourage you to plan and ride your route on a Saturday since you are planning the ride for a Saturday.  Weekday and weekend traffic differs immensely so it's good to know how busy the route really might be.  October will begin to push out of block party season which, while fun to ride through, routes traffic on streets that otherwise might be a good choice.

Good luck with your planning.  My family would love to attend another ride but unfortunately already have plans for that date and will likely be riding in the new Roscoe village Kidical Mass the next day.  Should you need more help or want someone to ride the route with you prior to the event, let me know.  I'd be happy to help out.

KayCee, it's great you are taking the initiative on organizing this.  I can come out to support if it's Oct. 5th.  I just made a commitment to support another new ride in Roscoe Village on Oct. 6th.  If  you've been on other CKM rides you've probably seen me with my dog, trike, trailer and sound system playing music.

It would be good to organize a ride to distribute flyers.  Bike shops, park field houses, libraries, bike racks (especially by schools, parks and other destinations for kids) are all good spots to flyer.  Route scouting might also be done on the ride.

If you are ready to commit to the time & place for the ride we can update this group's page info, make a post on the chainlink calendar, update ChicagoKidicalMass.org and the Facebook page.

Hi KayCee, just wanted to say it's great to hear you starting a Kidical Mass in the South Loop! We've had two Lincoln Park Kidical Mass rides so far, and the next one is on September 29th leaving from Oz Park, if you (or anyone!) would like to join us. The event is already on the Chicago Kidical Mass website calendar. I can vouch that Todd and his rocking playlist really added to the fun for our initial LP KM -- thanks again, Todd!  And good luck KayCee!  -- Michelle

Thank you all!  I think we're almost ready to roll :)  October 5th it is, I'm thinking 10:30 am to gather- and Cottontail Park Pavilion makes the most sense.  We'll do the loop up to Dearborn Station and around the little park there, then back- maybe wind through the neighborhood by the school.  Sure do wish we had bathrooms, but it will work well otherwise...  I plan to attend the ride on the 29th, my kids and I have been increasing distance over the past few weeks and now I know we can make it (our big old Mundo doesn't do CTA!)  Excited to see it, Michelle!

Todd, that would awesome if you can attend!  I'm taking the Field of Dreams approach here- since we know very few families who bike here, but I'm hoping there are a bunch we haven't met.  

Anika, thanks for your offer!  I didn't originally want to plan so close to the Roscoe Village ride, but hopefully we will be able to work out a different schedule as we continue (optimism.)  I really appreciate your offer!  If you'd like to take a ride out here, it would be great.  It's a good neighborhood to check out anyways, so let me know if there is a good time for you?

Do you think it's worth it to reach out to an alderman or anything?  Otherwise I'll be fliering, and spreading the word at the playgrounds.  I've already put it on our Meetup calendar, but I'm afraid that won't reach many families with older kids- we see a lot of babies...  My daughter missed the Kinder cutoff by a few days and is one of the oldest kids still home during the day.

Which is why I'm glad Anika brought up the training wheels.  My son regularly "trikes" to Cottontail and back (from Wells and Polk!  at 2!  I'm proud.) But I'm thinking we may end up with some serious ability discrepancies, and I'd love to have a contingency plan.  If anyone has been to Cottontail, you know it has a nice, small circular path around it.  So that might be a way for little ones to feel like part of the "parade."  

We've only done the 4-star as a family, the 22 mile route, and had a ball.  Kids held up way better than adults.  It's good advice to try this route on a Saturday, since we usually visit these parks during the early evening during the week- I'm not worried about intersections on these streets.  I'd initially wanted to end at Women's Park and Gardens, since many families get food and picnic there, but crossing State, Wabash, and Michigan is a bit much for kids!  

Todd, would you add it to the calendar for us?  I'll be ready to distribute fliers this weekend- I'm out of town for a few days. I'd love to get the email set up as well.

I'll be in touch with frantic questions, I'm sure.  Thank you for spreading the word and for all your help!

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