Winter Bike to Work Day 2012 in Chicago

Last Friday was the annual Winter Bike to Work Day here in Chicago.  Organized by the folks from the Active Transportation Alliance and Bike Winter , there was a bike-friendly pit stop downtown in Daley Plaza from 6:00am – 9:00am, with coffee, cheesecake, raffle prizes, and lots of moving around to stay warm. The snow didn’t start until later in the day, but it was about 8 degrees (Fahrenheit) when I got there around 8:00am so I think it qualified as wintery.

Why is the Winter Bike to Work Day always on January 20th?   It seems the folks at the Active Transportation Alliance chose this date in honor of the coldest day in Chicago history. On this date in 1985, a record of -27 below was recorded at O’Hare International Airport.

Carrie Boo (who knew?) the Caribou Coffee mascot was there at the coffee tent greeting cyclists as we pulled up.  Bet this was one day no one minded being inside a furry mascot suit.

Signing riders up for the raffle and/or Bike the Drive and handing out balaclavas and bells

According to the recap of the day posted on their site,  Active Trans organizers were greeted by three radio networks and six early am commuters when they got to the plaza at 6:00am, and the  local NBC TV affiliate – who has a glass-wall studio across the street – asked early morning bike commuters to ride by as they taped their morning show!  One of my co-workers said she heard about it on the radio in the morning too. It’s nice to see our biking activities getting some press outside the typical outlets.  When I arrived later in the morning, a couple of very nice  meteorologists from NBC5 were out mingling with us cyclists along with another one of their sportscasters.

Alex from West Town Bikes arrived with a rockin’ bike stereo system which helped keep everyone’s toes-a-tapping.

This bike has some of those cool hammered fenders

Still decorated for the holidays


While I was trying to keep moving myself I missed a group picture – oops!

And by the way – Julia here wins the award for the best damn hat of the morning!

If you missed Bike To Work Day don’t fret – there are still plenty of opportunities for some winter bike-riding fun:

When there is snowfall of two inches or or more,  come to the Corner Bar (2224 N. Leavitt).  You can warm your winter biking gear on the radiator before we ride at  8pm.  Bring lights! Free hand and toe warmers will be available, and usually hot cocoa too.  On extra snowy evenings, the ride may be followed by sledding in Humboldt Park

  • Critical Lass hosts regular rides for women in pretty much any weather- check their facebook page for details on this months ride on Thursday February 16th starting in Eckhart Park.
  • Kidical Mass hosts monthly family rides year-round on the 2nd Saturday of the month – the next one is Saturday, February 11th.  Check their website for more details.
  • This month’s Critical Mass ride will be a Polka ride up to Lincoln Square to party with the Polkaholics – more info to be found on
  • The Cozy Hearth Tweed Ride will take place on February 4th – hosted by British Bikes of Chicago. The ride will start up in Edgewater and works it’s way south to Ukrainian Village.  Check out the calendar listing on the chainlink for more info.

Bike forth!

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