The Curbee Is Dead, Long Live the Curbee!

A motorist took out the old cyclist footrest on Milwaukee, but a new one has been installed.

A Divvy bike rider rests their foot on the new Curbee, created by Dero.
A Divvy bike rider rests their foot on the new Curbee, created by Dero.

In Summer 2014 Streetsblog Chicago’s Steven Vance and his friend Ryan Lakes, an architect, installed a Copenhagen-style footrest for northwest-bound cyclists south of Milwaukee, Ogden, and Chicago, so riders would have a spot to wait for the multi-phase stoplight. Metal fabricator Adam Clark constructed the fixture, dubbed the “Curbee,” which had approval from the Chicago Department of Transportation and the City Council. (It’s hilarious that all 50 aldermen have to pass an ordinance to allow a piece of metal to be bolted to a sidewalk.) It became a popular resting place for commuters on “The Hipster Highway” and was soon covered with a colorful array of stickers from rock bands and bike law firms.

Ryan Lakes demonstrates how to use the original Curbee. Image: Steven Vance
Ryan Lakes demonstrates how to use the original Curbee. Image: Steven Vance

However, because cars are awful, less than three years later the Curbee met an untimely demise when a driver ran over it. On December 26, 2017, Streetsblog reader David Altenburg, notified Steven that the Curbee was lying damaged in the parkway.

Former Active Transportation Alliance staffer Jason Jenkins, who now works for the bike parking company Dero, offered to send one of their “Biker Bar” (see what they did there?) footrests, in any color in their catalog. West Town Bikes director Alex Wilson suggested we use the same yellow hue as the education center’s logo, which would also be more visible to motorists than the previous Curbee, which was black.

The shiny new stand was installed at the same location on June 2. So next time you’re taking a load off at the the next-gen Curbee you can thank Steven and company and Dero for this convenience. And if you decide to stop for a drink at the adjacent bar the Matchbox, be sure to pour a little out for its dear, departed predecessor, which now resides in street furniture Heaven.

Where else would you like to see bicycle footrests installed in Chicago? Let us know in the comments.

  • Doug vanderHoof

    A nice thought but no thanks. What does it do that the curb doesn’t do? Save the metal, money, the airspace, the eyespace. I’ve stopped at this spot many thousands of times and I put my foot on it but let’s not have any more. Thanks Steve Vance and Dero. Could you repurpose some of that metal and energy for bike racks? Ride safe.

  • Eric

    Where else would you like to see bicycle footrests installed in Chicago?

    All around Fullerton/Elston and Damen/ Elston.

  • 1976boy

    Install it on the left side of the lane, one every 5 feet, for the length of the bike lane…

  • Tooscrapps

    Can you hold onto the curb with just your hands?

  • Happy that we could work with Streetsblog and West Town Bikes to make it happen! If anyone is interested in one at a different location you can reach me at jason@dero.com!

  • Doug vanderHoof

    Fair point, Tooscrapps. I do sometimes reach out and hold a light pole or an inattentive pedestrian, but it never actually seems necessary. I wonder if people on taller road bikes or something can really use a handhold. Is that the case? It’s a new thought to me but let me know.
    Cordially,
    Dv

  • Tooscrapps

    Hand holds are nice if you’re clipped in. Generally the only time I like to hold onto something is then. A handhold rail would be a nice in place of bollards at PBL intersections!

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Full disclosure: I’ve been known to use a bollard at a PBL intersection *as* a handhold to avoid putting a foot down. the ones along the 2-way Dearborn PBL are sturdy and handy for northbound cyclists.

  • Tooscrapps

    I do the same at Kinzie, but with the slope, I’d certainly love a sturdier one!

  • Doug vanderHoof

    Okay, I get it.

    Are light poles and sign poles as useful? My impulse is not put another thing into the mix if something else can serve. Poles, bollards, etc., for hands, curbs for feet.
    See you in the bike lane. Go ahead and pass me; I’m not that fast.
    Dv

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