The Chainlink

Chicago commuter "CX" event for Chicago area cycling support or a charity?

So an idea popped into my head, and when that happens scary things are thought up.

I am sure many have read that article about "commuter racing" the incorporates the author's disdain for shoaling and such, but what about a "sanctioned" race strictly limited to riders on their commuters dressed in their commuting clothes?  No Cat 1/2/3/4/5, everyone races what they brought, nothing is really timed, and all proceeds (if possible) go towards funding something like the ATA or other cycling supporters in Chicago?

Something that incorporates things that commuters see, so a sort of cross race but without all the lycra (unless you commute in it, I do so no judging).  So there would be obstacles to represent broken glass, pot holes, angry car drivers, oblivious peds, traffic lights, and so on. There would be on road, grass, off road, gravel, and whatever else we can create to cover all the randomness we ride over on our commutes.

You'd have to ride in your commuting clothes as well as carry a bag, backpack, or panniers.  You'd have to (some how) prove the bike you are riding is your commuter, that way no one shows up on a TT bike or something else, might be proven with a picture or a post on here, who knows.

I really think this could be a great kick off to the start of the season in spring, but I have never ran or started an event like this.  Anyone have connections or could point me in the right direction?

Or am totally I off my rocker and this would totally flop?

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I think this event is called Bike the Drive.

And, why should commuting have anything to do with competition?

I think you missed the point of my post, or I am missing your humor.

This isn't a competition, this is idea would be a fundraiser with a "race" component to it.  If it was a race then every semi-pro CX'r would or could come out and ruin what would be designed to be something fun for everyone of all riding abilities.  The idea would be to involve the gal who rides an old stove-pipe steel framed classic in a sundress, to the business exec that rides to work in a suit, to the Divvy rider (yes I'd go there), to the hardened commuter that rides fully loaded with 2 huge panniers.

Bike the drive is none of that, yes it raises money but it also keeps people away because of the contain chaos it is.  I have no interest in bike the drive, mainly because of anyone that I have talked to that has done it either hates it, or had a horrible experience outside of stuffing their pockets with the goodies at the stops.

Think of a "race" (term I'd ask you'd use loosely) of riders on the bikes they commute on, in commuter gear as a bicycle flugtag, or more appropriately called fahrradtag (if my googling skills are right).  There wouldn't be any serious competition to this, yes there would be an organized event, a track to ride on, and poll positions to whatever rider that can complete however many laps, but the idea is there isn't any prizes per say, maybe a t-shirt or silly medal?  

Small entry fees, so not like Bike the Drive, short course, silly obstacles, but generally a loose and fun atmosphere, and open to anyone on anything (that passes a safety check of sorts of course).



Anne said:

I think this event is called Bike the Drive.

And, why should commuting have anything to do with competition?

I'm still trying to wrap my head around your idea of a fundraiser that is a race. Or an organized event on a prescribed course with pole positions that gives out silly medals? Why should anyone be given a medal to ride a bike? Plus, you're torturing your participants with the crap they deal with daily - glass, obstacles, etc.   Commuting already IS designed to be "something for fun and all riding abilities", let's not reinforce all those things that deter folks from riding.

Racing is not designed for fun and all riding abilities.

"Pro" riders don't ruin anything, they are doing a job on a prescribed course by an Organizer for prize money. A 'Race" is largely entertainment for the spectators (those you describe as "gal who rides an old stove-pipe steel framed classic in a sundress, to the business exec that rides to work in a suit, to the Divvy rider...) or to sell newspapers (tour de france). The beauty of racing is to watch those perform acts that is beyond our ability. Hence the offering of a 'prime' to have the riders go faster/harder. Also why there are so many awesome sundresses out watching the Tour de France.

The ChiCrossCup fundraises for World Bike Relief thru rider registration, and one or two of the race promoters in the series do bake sale/food pantry works.

It is the confusion of a Race with an Event that makes Bike the Drive (or any century) chaotic. I meet 'serious' riders all the time who tell me they are "racing" yet they are only talking about Century or Charity rides. This is an entirely different topic, too, apologies for the thread drift.

Let me suggest something that is fun and geared towards all abilities that you could do? As charity is an emotional outlet, so target a cause that is dear to you or would be to commuters. Ghost Bike Family support? Pothole Potluck Raffle? Say you come up with a list of the 'best/worst' potholes in a zip code....commuters can buy a raffle ticket for their favorite pothole...ok maybe not that. Let's think positive.

I guess my point is that you're confusing Obstacle Courses or safe riding practices with creating a nice get together. Now, if you stood on a streetcorner, and sold raffle tickets that would fund buying a bike for Trib reporter Ron Grossman, I bet many commuters would love to get an anti-cyclist-whinger to experience the daily obstacle course of riding our streets. I bet people would pay big money to see him and John Kass and quite a few others on your obstacle course!

I appreciate the feedback but I think you are adding more between lines that don't exist.  I didn't actually mean glass or digging holes, I meant there could be something like cardboard signs point to glass, or cartoon-y drawings of glass that a rider would have to avoid.  Or a physical pot on a course representing a pothole that a rider would have to also avoid.  I look at it as poking fun at what commuters face on a daily basis versus reinforcing the negative aspects of it.

This would be done off the streets, so there wouldn't be a huge need for safety concerns, at least in relation to cars and trucks.  You are right in this being a get together, but one with more of a spoof focus of a CX race with people on the rigs they commute on.  I also realize that people go to a real race event to watch, I'd love to ride CX but I don't have the time, money, or bike to compete there.  I do, however, ride a bike that was bought and purposely outfitted to commute on, so like a cross bike why not have an event (lets drop the term "race") geared specifically towards commuters.  

I'd love to raise money for something like Ghost Bike family support, or Working Bicycles, or anything like that.  It doesn't have to a commuter only organization, maybe even several, it was just an idea and I know there are a lot of folks on here who have setup, run, helped run, have connections, and so on that could take my idea and flush it out into something fun, as well as a reality versus just an idea floating in my head.

You mention the beauty of watching a race is to see riders who can perform beyond our abilities....but why limit that to just watching?  That, I guess, would be the idea here.  Get people off the sidelines and running a fun and somewhat silly course on their bikes.  I used to drag race cars and many times it was a "run what you brung", so you'd have the "serious" racers and then the guys in their mom's Honda with a fart cannon racing each other.

I appreciate the feedback and thoughts, really forces me to think more, which is what I was looking for by even posting this.

Anne said:

I'm still trying to wrap my head around your idea of a fundraiser that is a race. Or an organized event on a prescribed course with pole positions that gives out silly medals? Why should anyone be given a medal to ride a bike? Plus, you're torturing your participants with the crap they deal with daily - glass, obstacles, etc.   Commuting already IS designed to be "something for fun and all riding abilities", let's not reinforce all those things that deter folks from riding.

Racing is not designed for fun and all riding abilities.

"Pro" riders don't ruin anything, they are doing a job on a prescribed course by an Organizer for prize money. A 'Race" is largely entertainment for the spectators (those you describe as "gal who rides an old stove-pipe steel framed classic in a sundress, to the business exec that rides to work in a suit, to the Divvy rider...) or to sell newspapers (tour de france). The beauty of racing is to watch those perform acts that is beyond our ability. Hence the offering of a 'prime' to have the riders go faster/harder. Also why there are so many awesome sundresses out watching the Tour de France.

The ChiCrossCup fundraises for World Bike Relief thru rider registration, and one or two of the race promoters in the series do bake sale/food pantry works.

It is the confusion of a Race with an Event that makes Bike the Drive (or any century) chaotic. I meet 'serious' riders all the time who tell me they are "racing" yet they are only talking about Century or Charity rides. This is an entirely different topic, too, apologies for the thread drift.

Let me suggest something that is fun and geared towards all abilities that you could do? As charity is an emotional outlet, so target a cause that is dear to you or would be to commuters. Ghost Bike Family support? Pothole Potluck Raffle? Say you come up with a list of the 'best/worst' potholes in a zip code....commuters can buy a raffle ticket for their favorite pothole...ok maybe not that. Let's think positive.

I guess my point is that you're confusing Obstacle Courses or safe riding practices with creating a nice get together. Now, if you stood on a streetcorner, and sold raffle tickets that would fund buying a bike for Trib reporter Ron Grossman, I bet many commuters would love to get an anti-cyclist-whinger to experience the daily obstacle course of riding our streets. I bet people would pay big money to see him and John Kass and quite a few others on your obstacle course!

"Cat 6" is the internet joke term for "commuter races", or just where commuters un/knowingly "race" each other to work.  I thought Bike Snob had an article about the just this such thing, except my idea would be something more organized.

BRING ON THE FART CANNONS!!!

How about translating a board game like Monopoly to your idea? You could set up the 'board' on a basketball court or other indoor area...have it at a bike swap? Hit a pothole, bend a rim, go back to 'square one'. Run over a pedestrian and go to jail, etc.

Chitown_Mike said:

I appreciate the feedback but I think you are adding more between lines that don't exist.  I didn't actually mean glass or digging holes, I meant there could be something like cardboard signs point to glass, or cartoon-y drawings of glass that a rider would have to avoid.  Or a physical pot on a course representing a pothole that a rider would have to also avoid.  I look at it as poking fun at what commuters face on a daily basis versus reinforcing the negative aspects of it.

This would be done off the streets, so there wouldn't be a huge need for safety concerns, at least in relation to cars and trucks.  You are right in this being a get together, but one with more of a spoof focus of a CX race with people on the rigs they commute on.  I also realize that people go to a real race event to watch, I'd love to ride CX but I don't have the time, money, or bike to compete there.  I do, however, ride a bike that was bought and purposely outfitted to commute on, so like a cross bike why not have an event (lets drop the term "race") geared specifically towards commuters.  

I'd love to raise money for something like Ghost Bike family support, or Working Bicycles, or anything like that.  It doesn't have to a commuter only organization, maybe even several, it was just an idea and I know there are a lot of folks on here who have setup, run, helped run, have connections, and so on that could take my idea and flush it out into something fun, as well as a reality versus just an idea floating in my head.

You mention the beauty of watching a race is to see riders who can perform beyond our abilities....but why limit that to just watching?  That, I guess, would be the idea here.  Get people off the sidelines and running a fun and somewhat silly course on their bikes.  I used to drag race cars and many times it was a "run what you brung", so you'd have the "serious" racers and then the guys in their mom's Honda with a fart cannon racing each other.

I appreciate the feedback and thoughts, really forces me to think more, which is what I was looking for by even posting this.

Anne said:

I'm still trying to wrap my head around your idea of a fundraiser that is a race. Or an organized event on a prescribed course with pole positions that gives out silly medals? Why should anyone be given a medal to ride a bike? Plus, you're torturing your participants with the crap they deal with daily - glass, obstacles, etc.   Commuting already IS designed to be "something for fun and all riding abilities", let's not reinforce all those things that deter folks from riding.

Racing is not designed for fun and all riding abilities.

"Pro" riders don't ruin anything, they are doing a job on a prescribed course by an Organizer for prize money. A 'Race" is largely entertainment for the spectators (those you describe as "gal who rides an old stove-pipe steel framed classic in a sundress, to the business exec that rides to work in a suit, to the Divvy rider...) or to sell newspapers (tour de france). The beauty of racing is to watch those perform acts that is beyond our ability. Hence the offering of a 'prime' to have the riders go faster/harder. Also why there are so many awesome sundresses out watching the Tour de France.

The ChiCrossCup fundraises for World Bike Relief thru rider registration, and one or two of the race promoters in the series do bake sale/food pantry works.

It is the confusion of a Race with an Event that makes Bike the Drive (or any century) chaotic. I meet 'serious' riders all the time who tell me they are "racing" yet they are only talking about Century or Charity rides. This is an entirely different topic, too, apologies for the thread drift.

Let me suggest something that is fun and geared towards all abilities that you could do? As charity is an emotional outlet, so target a cause that is dear to you or would be to commuters. Ghost Bike Family support? Pothole Potluck Raffle? Say you come up with a list of the 'best/worst' potholes in a zip code....commuters can buy a raffle ticket for their favorite pothole...ok maybe not that. Let's think positive.

I guess my point is that you're confusing Obstacle Courses or safe riding practices with creating a nice get together. Now, if you stood on a streetcorner, and sold raffle tickets that would fund buying a bike for Trib reporter Ron Grossman, I bet many commuters would love to get an anti-cyclist-whinger to experience the daily obstacle course of riding our streets. I bet people would pay big money to see him and John Kass and quite a few others on your obstacle course!

You do realize that pretty much anyone can enter a bicycle race, right?  Nobody, especially when it comes to 'cross is limited to just watching.


Chitown_Mike said:


You mention the beauty of watching a race is to see riders who can perform beyond our abilities....but why limit that to just watching?  That, I guess, would be the idea here.  Get people off the sidelines and running a fun and somewhat silly course on their bikes.  I used to drag race cars and many times it was a "run what you brung", so you'd have the "serious" racers and then the guys in their mom's Honda with a fart cannon racing each other.

...a commuter ride late/early in the season on the LFT with stations along the way and bike related swag for all and some nicer parts and pieces for fastest time between stations would be cool.

Fundraiser not sure...

I'll remember you said that when I roll up on a mountain bike in my commuter clothing, haha!

notoriousDUG said:

You do realize that pretty much anyone can enter a bicycle race, right?  Nobody, especially when it comes to 'cross is limited to just watching.


Chitown_Mike said:


You mention the beauty of watching a race is to see riders who can perform beyond our abilities....but why limit that to just watching?  That, I guess, would be the idea here.  Get people off the sidelines and running a fun and somewhat silly course on their bikes.  I used to drag race cars and many times it was a "run what you brung", so you'd have the "serious" racers and then the guys in their mom's Honda with a fart cannon racing each other.

Flannel Mike!

People have raced Divvys in suits.

Chitown_Mike said:

I'll remember you said that when I roll up on a mountain bike in my commuter clothing, haha!

notoriousDUG said:

You do realize that pretty much anyone can enter a bicycle race, right?  Nobody, especially when it comes to 'cross is limited to just watching.


Chitown_Mike said:


You mention the beauty of watching a race is to see riders who can perform beyond our abilities....but why limit that to just watching?  That, I guess, would be the idea here.  Get people off the sidelines and running a fun and somewhat silly course on their bikes.  I used to drag race cars and many times it was a "run what you brung", so you'd have the "serious" racers and then the guys in their mom's Honda with a fart cannon racing each other.

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