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Community Bike Rides

Equiticity’s “Creativity in Motion: The North Lawndale People’s Ride” let cyclists experience film and TV history on the West Side

Ride leader Brandon Goodall speaks at Cinespace. Photo: Cameron Bolton

This post is Sponsored by Ride Illinois.

Last Friday, the mobility justice nonprofit Equiticity held its first-ever "Creativity in Motion: The North Lawndale People’s Ride," a community bike ride focused on film and television. The ride began and ended at Cinespace, 2621 W. 15th Pl. in North Lawndale, meeting at 5:30 p.m. and departing an hour later. It’s a studio where several movies and shows have been filmed, such as the Chicago Med / Fire / P.D. franchise. The ride participants got to bike through Cinespace and passed the outside of the Firehouse, where Chicago Fire is filmed.

“Did you know that you can find a piece of Hollywood right in North Lawndale?" said the ride's event page. "Join us October 6th to explore film and televisions cinema businesses. This community bike ride that will highlight important production locations as well as small businesses. Let’s support them by lifting up the community by creating awareness through movement, conversation, and joy that will be felt as we ride through the neighborhood. There will be music, lively energy, and most importantly COMMUNITY!”

The flier for the ride. Image: Equiticty

“The genesis [of this event] is that we have a strong connection to the North Lawndale community," said Brandon Goodall, Equiticity’s director of community mobility rituals, who led the ride. "We’re always looking for ways to engage the community. With the writer’s strike and SAG-AFTRA that was happening this year, we saw this as a really good opportunity to give people a bit of an opportunity to see something that they probably wouldn’t have a chance to see otherwise."

The start of the ride at Cinespace. Photo: Cameron Bolton

As is common on Equiticity rides, loaner Divvy bike-share cycles, including electric models, were available to participants, and music was played on the ride via a sound system. Lawndale resident Apriel Campbell said it was her first time trying an e-bike. Campbell works for North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council and New Covenant CDC, who were partners for the event. Other partners included Main Street America, National Main Street Center, the INVEST South/West program, Amazon, The Teacher Oasis LLC, Big Girl BBQ, and Eric's Italian Ice.

“I love the electric bikes," Campbell said. "I was worried at first that I would get too tired or too sweaty, and it’s in fact kind of chilly. But I felt like the electric bike was the perfect type of bike for this thing."

Riding by a Cinespace building. Photo: Cameron Bolton

After the Firehouse, the bike riders stopped at Manhattan Beach Studios Equipment Co., where there were refreshments, as well as movie props to take pictures with. The final stop before returning to Cinespace was CineCity Studios, a separate movie facility that the participants could tour. While there they heard from Stanley Wozniak, the managing partner at CineCity and Premier Artist Productions, who was from North Lawndale.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm on [the studios'] part," said Goodall. "They didn’t have much going on with this strike and, based on everything that Stan said, I think they are as excited to engage with this community as we are to engage with them.”

Near the end of the ride. Photo: Cameron Bolton

Upon returning to Cinespace, ride participants were offered complimentary BBQ and Italian ice. After the ride, Goodall said Equiticity had initially talked to some of the local officials about joining them, but the chilly weather may have been a deterrent."

Still, Goodall said the event was a success. "It’s an opportunity to know that CineCity, Cinespace, are truly engaged with the communities that they’re in... This is a true representation of Chicago, specifically the North Lawndale community on the West Side. Yeah, this is TV and film, but this is in the heart of Chicago and you won’t find this experience anywhere else in the country."

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