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I Love Riding in the City

NAME: Joe Harris
OCCUPATION: Graduate Student–Political Science

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in DeKalb, Illinois, about 45 minutes from downtown Chicago, and the home to NIU. That’s Northern Illinois University, which is where I work and attempt to do research that no one’s done before. This town is small, its arguably the farthest outlying suburb. So, riding here is mostly about a tiny Critical Mass—50 riders or so—and riding from my apartment to campus. There aren’t any bike lanes, yet, although I read that Illinois just passed the “complete streets” initiative, which would put bike lanes on every road by the end of 2008. (Too bad I’ll be living in Chicago proper by then.)
The other interesting thing about riding here is that underclassmen are total idiots with their cars—I’ve been clipped once, and have had a number of near misses.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
Baltimore is by far my favorite city to ride. The weather is awesome. Drivers are usually courteous. My close second is Chicago, because bike lanes are prominent, and bikes are really, really fashionable there. It’s hard being trendy as a grad student, I’ll take whatever I can get. Riding in any city is a blast, getting very close to cars with no brakes is as much excitement as one could want, plus it’s cheap, gets you exercise…and sometimes in Chicago, girls. Ha ha.

NAME: Tom and Coty
LOCATION: Santiago, Chile
OCCUPATION: Psychology Students

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
Bicycling in Santiago is quite an adventure. Downtown means dealing with bus/truck drivers who couldn’t care less about you and surfing through traffic jams. We have some bike lanes but they actually aren’t much of a help. Old people love to walk on them and young couples find them the best place to walk their prams. But we couldn’t give up biking, it’s a lot cheaper and healthier, and we only get 8 to 10 rainy days a year.

Why do you love riding in the city?
We love the way you interact with fellow bikers and skaters; we enjoy being part of the city-flow. It’s the fresh air and oxygen (if you’re lucky, otherwise you get just smog) in your face and the mind-awakening movement in the morning.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
Just get on your bikes and stretch your legs.