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Bike Law Tour: Chicago

From Detroit we continued west to Chicago — “The Windy City,” “The Second City,” or maybe just “Bike City.” We rolled in to town through a torrential downpour.
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And arrived at Ancien Cycles on North Milwaukee Avenue (aka The Hipster Highway).DSC04959

While Timmy was navigating the streets and looking for parking, Anne Barnes (the fit guru at the shop and founder of Human Factors and Machinery) braved the rain to show us where to park. Turns out that Anne and Bob knew each other from the old days.

Once inside, Anne continued with the hospitality happily showing us around the large, cool space filled with really choice bikes and gear. There is also a café that serves beer! That perfect intersection between bikes and beer has become a dominant theme of our Tour.

Scott Mcintosh, the co-owner of Ancien came from behind the café bar to introduce himself and have a look at Peter’s Grand Bois. Those two hit it off talking about randonneuring.  Scott is indeed an “ancien” having completed multiple Paris-Brest-Paris rides (that’s 1200 km in less than 90 hours), in addition to completing RAAM, numerous other 1200k randonees, and touring in 10 counties.  Scott is a compete cyclist with a vision of a cycling lifestyle shop.  Food/drink/motion is his motto.  Amen to that!

Here’s Scott and Anne behind the bar.DSC04987Jim Freeman and Brendan Kevenides biked in and we spent the time before folks arrived to hear Bob give a talk catching up on each others’ lives. As more people filtered in we mingled, talked bikes and stared at all the pretty things in the shop (there are lots).

Meanwhile, bike commuters streamed steadily by the window in both directions—there was even a dude on a Penny Farthing! Whenever you see a Penny Farthing (and we’ve seen a few on our Tour), you know that “Hipster Highway” is not a misnomer! Nothing says handlebar mustache more than an absurd bicycle.

While a photographer took about 1000 pictures, Bob regaled the crowd with a great story of conquering the unknown, putting himself through hell, and reaching a personal goal to make the Olympic Team in 1992.DSC04977Bob’s talk was amazing, a detailed recount of how he beat Lance in hilly Altoona, PA to win a spot on the 1992 Olympic Team. Inspirational, exciting, and deep.

Jim Freeman, with name tag and friend.DSC04983

[Watch this space for a video of his talk.]

Afterwards there was a robust Q&A about all aspects of bike law and bike culture.

Here’s Bob and a well-known local bicycle advocate, Kathy Schubert.  The metal plates on our grated bridges in Chicago are called “Kathy plates”.  Years ago she crashed on a grated bridge and was injured.  Afterwards she petitioned the city to place non-slip plates on the bridges.  They did, for the most part. DSC04989

After everyone else left, Bob Peter, and Timmy wound down the evening with a mix of delicious paninis from the café.

The drive out proved that Bob’s bike handling skills are rivaled by his van handling skills as the GPS, Siri, Peter & Timmy all gave him different commands to get back on the highway. We made it a sleepy hour or so before shutting it down for the night.

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