See You at the Chicago Bike Swap Tomorrow

Main Cycle Swap hall
2012 Chicago Bike Swap. Photo by Steven Vance.

For a crash course in the local bicycle scene, you can’t do better than a visit to the Chicago Bike Swap, taking place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a huge gym at the UIC Physical Education Building, 901 West Roosevelt. Admission is $10, $5 for Active Transportation Alliance members and UIC students, and free for kids 12 and under. The event has taken place for several years in the cozier confines of the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse in Noble Square, which packed hundreds of attendees into several smaller rooms.

“We have nearly 90 bike shops, businesses, bike clubs, nonprofits and individuals exhibiting this year, our biggest ever,” said Ethan Spotts, spokesman for the Active Transportation Alliance, which is organzing the swap and reaping the proceeds, along with  Bike Winter and The Chainlink. “We’re excited about our big new space that allows everyone to be in the same room. We’re going to have a bike polo demo section which is new for this year, too.”

Alewyfe Farm
Erin Rensink from Kozie Prery bike caps browses soap handmade by Erin McGrath of Alewyfe Farm at the 2012 chicaog Bike Swap. Photo by Steven Vance.

“Having everything in one room rather than on separate levels should make it easier for attendees to experience the ‘expo’ component of the swap, the presentations and demonstrations,” said Howard Kaplan from Bike Winter, a grass-roots group that promotes all-season cycling. “It should also make it easier for participants to network, which I see as a major benefit of this event to the bike community.”

Several of the talks and demos will be of special interest to folks who are interested in using bikes to safely transport themselves, their families and their gear across the city. Streetsblog’s Steven Vance will be curating a collection of cargo bikes you can examine and test ride, and at 1:45 p.m. Steven and other cargo bike experts will discuss the different features of these unique vehicles. Steven said at least eight different styles of cargo and utility bikes, a Polish pedicab and a trailer will be available, including bikes from the Netherlands, Denmark, Utah, California, and one home-grown Chicago cargo bike.

Steven Vance test rides Sean Cody's wooden cargo bike at a Cargo Bike Roll Call. Photo by John Greenfield.

At 11:30 a.m., the panel “Kids in the Saddle—Raising the Next Generation of Cyclists” will discuss family cycling, covering everything from safely transporting infants to the burgeoning Kidical Mass children’s bicycle parade. The 2:15 p.m. seminar “Know Your Rights in a Crash” features representatives from three Chicago law firms that specialize in bike cases, plus staffers from Active Trans and the Chicago Police Department, discussing legal issues related to cycling. And if you love your bicycle and want to keep it, you should attend the Q&A “Bike Theft and Security in Chicago,” featuring tips and tricks for avoiding theft and, disturbingly, a demonstration of techniques used to beat bike locks.

Be sure to stop by Streetsblog Chicago’s table at the bike swap, where we’ll be showing off the website to the uninitiated and handing out free stickers and buttons, and you can sign up to win a Streetsblog t-shirt. We’re looking forward to meeting more of our current readers face-to-face – hope to see you there!


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