Born Already Ruined was uploaded to Flickr

Cruising on Highway 41 (aka LSD)

embiggen by clicking

I took Born Already Ruined on September 25, 2016 at 11:34AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on November 23, 2016 at 09:22AM

Chicago is One of The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016 | Bicycling

USPS Blocking Bike Lane - Washington
USPS Blocking Bike Lane – Washington.

I’m skeptical of these sorts of rankings, especially from magazines I’m not familiar with, that said, Mayor Emanuel does seem to be interested in expanding the number of bike commuters. Too bad the Chicago Police don’t enforce parking violations in the bike lanes, and too bad the city cannot seem to afford to maintain these bike lanes once they are created. I’ve nearly died from both idiots parked in bike lanes (not so much in the photo above, that was more of an irritation), and from plummeting into pot holes the size of a petite pond. What would be cool is if certain streets had zero cars and buses, and only bikes and pedestrians were allowed to use it. Oh well, maybe if I moved to Denmark…

In April, shortly after his re-election, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Chicago would build 50 miles of bikeways—many of them physically separated from motor vehicles—over the next three years. Such proclamations can come easily (and cheaply) to the lips of politicians, but during his first term in 2015, Emanuel made good on a promise to build 100 miles of buffered and protected bike lanes. “Those initial 100 miles of bike lanes cost just $12 million,” says Jim Merrell, advocacy director for the Active Transportation Alliance. “That highlights the cost effectiveness of transformative transportation projects like these.”

When its protected bike lanes are completed in spring 2017 in conjunction with its Loop Link transit project, Chicago will become the first major U.S. city with a downtown network of protected bike lanes—a major boost to the nation’s second-largest bike share system, Divvy. Further, many of Chicago’s existing bollard-protected bike lanes are currently being rebuilt with concrete curbs. This includes the state-owned Clybourn Avenue, a heavily used but dangerous corridor that the city had long pressured the Illinois DOT to rebuild. “The curb protection is aesthetically pleasing, and durable in a city with intense weather,” says Merrell. Plus, the concrete barriers also send an important message: Chicago’s commitment to safe and low-stress cycling is permanent.

The city also recently unveiled a program called Divvy For Everyone, which subsidizes bike-share memberships for low-income residents. A new 35th Street bridge, spanning a tangle of rail lines, will link the traditionally African-American community of Bronzeville to the Lakefront Trail. And the Big Marsh Bike Park, a former industrial wasteland in southeastern Chicago, will open in the fall of 2016 with flow and singletrack mountain bike trails, pump tracks, and a cyclocross course.

(click here to continue reading The 50 Best Bike Cities of 2016 | Bicycling.)

More bikes is more better…

Windy City Hard War
Windy City Hard War

Don't Care About Your Fame
Don’t Care About Your Fame

Falter At The Sight
Falter At The Sight

Never Ending Chant of Construction
Never Ending Chant of Construction

Afternoon Bike Ride
Afternoon Bike Ride

Voting doesn't work
Voting doesn’t work

Divvy and a Red Ball
Divvy and a Red Ball

Wells Street Bike Lane
Wells Street Bike Lane

Divvy Bike-sharing Program Off To A Good Start

Yayyy, got my DivvyBikes key today
Yayyy, got my DivvyBikes key today

Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune reports:

The Divvy bike-share service, less than two months old, surpassed the 150,000-trip mark Friday, according to CDOT. About 5,000 annual Divvy members are enrolled, at $75 each, and more than 37,000 24-hour passes have been sold, at $7 each.

More than 458,000 total miles have been logged on individual trips since the service was introduced June 28, and the trips have averaged roughly 18 minutes each in recent days as more docking stations have opened, according to city transportation data.

Also, the three-speed bikes painted “Chicago blue” have logged more than 11,000 miles a day in recent days this month, with some weekend days exceeding 25,000 miles, the data show, based on the start and end points for each trip.

The service, dubbed Divvy to reflect the divide-and-share nature of bike-sharing, is not designed or priced for users to hog the bikes on leisurely, hourslong trips. Customers are supposed to use the bikes for 30 minutes or less on each ride. Riders get unlimited trips lasting up to a half-hour; after that, overtime fees are charged.

While on the one hand calling the public response to the Divvy program “beyond expectations,” city officials have set a high bar for ultimate success.

(click here to continue reading Divvy bike-sharing program, almost 2 months old, getting in gear, data show –

You Always Have Options
You Always Have Options

I signed my company up for Divvy Bike membership about two weeks ago, wanting to wait until the opening night jitters were worked out, and have been using the bikes for short trips around my office. I’ve taken more than ten rides so far, experiencing only one incident of faulty station – but a Divvy Bikes employee was on hand and took my bike to a different location for me. Also once the station I was planning to use didn’t have any bikes in it, but the next station was less than 2 blocks away. One other minor issue I encountered was that the amount of force you have to use when docking a bike surprised me, and at first I couldn’t get the bike to dock, but eventually a fellow Divvy-rider did it for me. I returned to favor to another rider the next day.

I own a bike of my own, but having a Divvy bike membership encourages brief bike rides; times where I might have taken a cab, or walked, instead I’ll jump on a Divvy bike. Of course, it’s summer right now, and Chicago has been having a beautifully mild season, the real test will be in mid-January. I’d also like to be able to travel farther, this will be possible when more stations are installed. Currently only 160 out of a planned 400 are active, less than half.

Regardless, I’m happy to support the idea of more bikes in Chicago. More bikes on the road means less cars, in general, and also encourages the government to install more bike lanes, which encourages more bikers, and so on. 

Sold A Photo for a Yo-Yo Ma Documentary

Biking to work
Biking to work

Film makers at the Kennedy Center are nearly done with a documentary about cellist and raconteur Yo-Yo Ma to be shown this December at the Kennedy Center Honors, and simultaneously broadcasted on CBS. They contacted me last week to purchase the above photo of a musician biking on Wacker Drive  1 with a cello on his back  to be shown in the film for a second or two…

Part of my payment is to receive a copy of the finished DVD, and a small honorarium. As a non-profit, they couldn’t pay my normal asking price, but we came to an agreement for One Time Use North America Standard TV Broadcast, after I wrote:

Your logic is a bit askew: the big guys like Corvis and Getty have thousands of license requests a week so can afford to have lower costs. I am self-employed, have to pay for health insurance and living expenses. $xxx is the lowest I would consider.

I am truly honored to be involved in a project like this – hope they do use the photo they paid for.  Tell me if you see it!  2

Kennedy center honors
Kennedy center honors

More about the show:

The 34th annual Kennedy Center Honors have announced this year’s honorees and as always, arts A-listers will share the evening with pop culture icons. The Dec. 4 ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will celebrate singer Barbara Cook, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins, singer and songwriter Neil Diamond and actress Meryl Streep.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will be seated with the honorees during the televised ceremony, traditionally a star-laden evening of colorful speeches and performances.

“This year, the Kennedy Center celebrates its 40th anniversary by selecting five extraordinary individuals whose collective artistry has contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.

…”Yo-Yo Ma’s sterling musicianship makes him one of the most versatile and popular classical music performers in the world and his Silk Road Project has inspired students across the world to love and honor music. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins’ masterful improvisation and powerful presence have infused the truly American art form of jazz with passion and energy. The sheer brilliance and breadth of Meryl Streep’s performances count as one of the most exhilarating cultural spectacles of our time.”


(click here to continue reading Yo-Yo Ma, Barbara Cook tapped for Kennedy Center Honors –

  1. maybe heading towards the Civic Opera House? []
  2. I uploaded the image, but you never know with films, it could be deleted at the last moment []

Harmony in Yellow and Red

Harmony in Yellow and Red

Harmony in Yellow and Red, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

A woman parking her bicycle in front of the Peninsula Hotel, Chicago. I assume she was a guest.

If you look in Lightbox:…
you can see that her glasses even match her shoes and bike tires.

If I was slightly more brave, I would have interviewed her. I’m sure she had a good story to tell.

First Bike Trip of 2009

I realized I hadn’t been on my bicycle since last year’s accident. Last weekend, we went to an art opening that was near the outrageously large pothole that caused last year’s spill: consequently I was determined to jump on at least a quick ride as soon as possible. Prove to myself I had no residual fear of biking in the city. Turned into an 8 mile excursion – I didn’t go very fast because I am woefully out-of-shape1, but no matter. Utter bliss. Didn’t bring my iPod, wore a helmet, still was delightful to cruise through alleys and streets. Sunday is a good day to bike in the city, traffic is significantly reduced, at least in my neighborhood.

Here is the route as reported by EveryTrail’s iPhone application:

(click to embiggen, natch)

First bike trip of 2009

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Geotagging
I took some photos with my D80, will post those later at Flickr.

  1. wine belly especially []

Lance Armstrong and SRAM

Austin cycling legend Lance Armstrong is joining SRAM as an investor, and as a user of their parts. I could care less that disgraced investment firm Lehman Brothers is also involved, but that’s just me.

New Belgium Brewing

Here’s one unexpected fan cheering Lance Armstrong’s return to professional cycling: Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

The collapsed investment bank recently agreed to make a large investment in a high-end bicycle-components maker. That manufacturer stands to benefit from Mr. Armstrong’s plan, announced Wednesday, to join a Kazakhstan-based racing team next year.

Team Astana uses components made by a Chicago company called SRAM Corp. That is big news in the cycling world, given that Mr. Armstrong spent much of his career using gears, brakes and other components made by Shimano Inc. of Japan.

Mr. Armstrong is investing several million dollars into SRAM, where he will serve as a technical adviser. He has agreed to use SRAM components when he races. A full set of top-of-the-line SRAM road-bike components retails for about $2,000.

[From Business –]

I believe I’ve passed by 1333 N. Kingsbury before (near Division and Halsted), but cannot seem to find any good photographs in my files.

Michigan Avenue bridge to close during overnight hours

First I heard of this, was there prior notice?

Bridge Closed

Starting Thursday evening, Sept. 11, and continuing for a week, the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River will be closed to all traffic during the overnight hours.

The bridge will close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day. The closures will allow crews to work on the new river-level walkway beneath the bridge—the first connection for the Chicago Riverwalk.

During the closures, crews will install sheet piling under the bridge to create the space needed to build the walkway.

Pedestrian traffic will be detoured to Wabash and Columbus streets. CDOT will post signs and information boards to direct pedestrians.

To accommodate pedestrians, local tour boat operator Wendella Sightseeing will provide shuttle service across the river during the closure on an as-needed basis.

The new under-bridge connection will provide an uninterrupted path from Lake Michigan to Wabash. The project is expected to be complete by year’s end.

[From City of Chicago – Michigan Avenue bridge to close during overnight hours]

Bike the drive2

Brendan Reilly’s office adds:

The project includes removing and replacing all the limestone from the stairway, much of which is cracked and deteriorated. The area will be closed to pedestrians during construction.

The Chicago Department of Transportation will be working on the bridge nightly from approximately 11 pm to 6 am. Work the evening of September 11th will involve preparation for the sheet pile driving operations that will take place the evenings of the 12th through the 18th.

Because of the evening hours and location of this construction project, CDOT will make every effort to reduce noise and traffic impacts. CDOT has directed its crews to mute audio signals to reduce noise disturbances, but the vibratory hammer that will be used for splicing sheets for the pile driving operations will produce noise that will likely impact neighboring buildings.

Bike Safety in Chicago

Cops on Bikes
[Cops on Bikes]

Maybe when the police finish re-training cars to avoid hitting pedestrians in crosswalks, they can devote some resources to the ongoing automobile vs. bicycle wars. I’m never riding without a helmet again, that’s for sure.

A ghost bike marks the last place Clinton Miceli, 22, rode his bike.

“When you got to know him, he was just hilarious and full of life. He had everything going for him in this world. For him to go, it’s just a shock for all of us,” said Rob Mach, Clinton Miceli’s roommate.

Miceli was a graphic designer. He was riding his bike home from work Monday evening. A man in an SUV opened his car door in front of Miceli. Miceli was thrown into the path of oncoming traffic. He died from head injuries.

“He just got into it this last summer, getting around the city. He thought it was a great mode of transportation. He was very careful about it,” said Mach.

On Tuesday morning at the intersection of Broadway and Patterson, another cyclist was hit. Chicago police say the CTA bus driver attempted to pass the bike. The cyclist survived that crash.

“People are out there driving with cell phones. People are out there driving, not paying attention, not being prepared to stop, not being prepared to watch,” said Rob Sadowsky, executive director, Chicagoland Bicycle Federation.


“It’s usually people not paying attention or thinking they can out-speed you around the corner or something and turn right in front of you,” said Jennifer Gutowski.

In the incident Tuesday morning, the CTA bus driver was cited and suspended by the CTA.

The driver who opened the door in front of Miceli Monday night was also ticketed. A wake and funeral for Miceli are planned for later this week.

[From 2 serious accidents highlight bike safety 6/11/08]

When I spent a few days in Seattle, I was amazed at the pedestrian’s power. Cars would stop hundreds of yards from any walker, even ones like me who were jaywalking. Bike riders were given wide berths by cars, and never tail-gated. I talked to some locals while riding public transit, and they all said drivers were well trained to stop for pedestrians, but that pedestrians never jaywalked because the police gave out a lot of tickets for this transgression. Toronto is the same: cars are very polite to pedestrians and bikes alike. Chicago? Not so much. Car is king, and you’d best not forget it.

Photo of the young man here

Bicycle Accident

Today, I took a bike ride west on Fulton, enjoying the splendid weather. Made it nearly as far as Damen when a pothole/cavern impeded my progress.

I swerved to avoid the hole (which was as wide as the entire westbound lane), but suddenly noticed a Ford Explorer directly behind me. Slammed on my brakes, and did a stoppie: ie, my front tire stopped first, and I was thrown over my handlebars to the pavement. Luckily was wearing bike gloves, so my hands were not shredded (though my gloves were). The SUV swerved and did not run me nor my bike over.

I sprained my left wrist and elbow, and right wrist, plus various knees and leg parts were scraped. My left elbow seems to be the worst off: I cannot extend my arm past 80• without excruciating pain, nor can I bend my left arm beyond 40• without experiencing excruciating pain, the swelling is impressive. I’ve been icing my joints (including both knees), and am typing this using a home-made sling for my left arm. Of course I did not visit a doctor: the American healthcare system is only slightly more popular than the American airline system.

When I was a boy of around 9, I fell off a bike and broke my right elbow, today’s incident seems somewhat symmetrical in retrospect, even though, as far as I can ascertain, I did not break my elbow today, nor did I have to be driven 35 miles (or however far it was) to see a doctor in Burks Falls, calling a country doctor called away from shearing his sheep, with blood stains all over his shirt. Instead, I watched Charlie Wilson’s War (more on that later), took a lot of vitamins, and drank a few tequilas mixed with fresh fruit juice.

Oh, and the SUV driver was very kind, he stopped to make sure I was alright, and my bike was still serviceable. I was macho, and didn’t let him drive me home, and insisted I was ok. The accident was entirely my own fault, he was only an observer to it. My bike itself only suffered minor injuries: some scuff to the handlebars, and the chain popped off. I rode it home. My camera was ok as well, and I am going to be wearing a helmet next time I can bike (had to drive home using only my right arm: could not hold the handlebars with my left hand).

Speaking of, I should ice my elbow again.

Camping on an Alaskan Glacier with walking wounded