The Sheer Madness That Is Chicago’s ‘Urban Cycling Movement’

Background Reading

11 Shot, 5 Killed In Overnight Shootings Throughout Chicago

Source: Chicagoist

Photo credit: Brian Bochenek

Photo credit: Brian Bochenek

Chicago’s violent Fourth of July weekend continued unabated as 11 people were shot, five of whom were killed, in overnight violence from Saturday to Sunday.

According to the Chicago Tribune, that makes 50 people who have been shot this Fourth of July weekend in neighborhoods ranging from Far North Side Rogers Park to South Side Gresham to Near West Side Humboldt Park.

Nine people total have been killed over the long holiday weekend. In July 2014, 53 people have been shot and wounded, while 12 have been shot and killed. Last year, during Independence Day weekend, 72 people were shot.

The statistics get more startling from there. Over a 36-hour period, Chicago police shot five people, including a 16-year-old boy, Warren Robinson, who was three days away from his 17th birthday.

One woman who was shot and killed this weekend, 21-year-old Shambreyh Barfield, moved away from Chicago specifically to get away from the violence. She returned to visit her family, and was gunned down Thursday afternoon, according to DNAInfo.

The fatal shootings from Saturday to Sunday took place in Uptown, Roseland, and West Englewood neighborhoods, respectively.

Chicago wasn’t the only city who was touched by violence.

ABC Chicago reports that a police officer in Gary, IN, was shot and killed in the line of duty. News of the shooting is breaking, but ABC reports the officer killed was 47-year-old Jeffrey Brady Westerfield.

Not only does ABC report that today was Westerfield’s birthday, but also that he was engaged to be married and leaves behind four daughters. Truly tragic.

One can only hope for a merciful end to all of this mindless violence. But precedent tells all observers that such hopes are futile indeed.


So if you are a good Chicago Urban Cyclist your concerns are probably:

  • Will they have my favorite beer on tap at Tour de Fat?
  • What should I wear to the next World Naked Bike Ride?
  • Are the next 100 miles of bike lanes going to be separated Protected Bike Lanes?
  • Which high heels should I wear with which chiffon skirt when riding my bike to work?
  • Will someone leave their U-lock on the bike rack and cause me to take an extra 10 seconds to lock up my bikes?
  • Are there going to be pedestrians in the crosswalk blocking my forward progress when I run the next red light?
  • What shade of black should I dress in when doing my next Critical Mass Ride at night?
  • How should I handle pedestrians standing in the bike lane drinking beers?
  • Which fixed gear rear cogs size should I use with which chain ring?
  • Will I be able to score a couple of ounces of my favorite drug in Douglas Park?
  • How many parking garages can we tear down before having to build as many new garages to house all the bikes we will have to protect?
  • What’s the best paint color and texture to use to get those pretty green lanes?
  • Who does the best tattoos on calf muscles?
  • Do they make bicycle motif nose rings?
  • Just how many beers over three will I be able to drink down in record time at the next Active Transportation Alliance Bicycle Safety Meeting?
  • Why must I wear a helmet?
  • When I am riding which neighborhoods (i.e. ‘shitholes‘) should I avoid?
  • Since I am new to town, can you tell me where the blacks and browns live so that I can not ride through those areas?
  • Which ‘eye gouge‘ works best when riding alone (as a single female)?
Chicago's Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

Chicago’s Cycling Movement Issues A Leftist Manifesto

Meanwhile Chicago is ‘bleeding out‘ in the streets. If getting Naked is the best way to protest Oil Usage what does one remove to protest gun violence? Does it make any damn difference how many miles of Protected Bike Lanes exist if you cannot safely ride them without fear of stray bullets? What exactly will the threat implicit in their Manifesto mean if everyone with any sense has moved out of the city to the suburbs or at least to a city where ‘gun sanity is the norm‘?

Does anyone really think that a single woman wants to ride a bike down a dark street at night alone? What would be the point? They have buses don’t they? And tragically even the buses are unsafe. Why would anyone with any other option move to Chicago for a chance to ride its ‘pretty green lanes’? Is our paint brighter or our PVC bollard more erect?

Who cares what the shape of the north end of Lake Shore Drives redevelopment looks like if you cannot be safe during a visit to it? Something tells me that the Urban Cycling Movement in Chicago has much bigger ‘fish to fry‘ than whether or not a motorist honks at them loudly.

But hey, what would a suburbanite know that he could not glean from a night with the Midnight Marauders? I’d suggest that the next iteration of the Chicago ChainLink jersey have an effigy of Nero on it. They evidently seem to like the idea of ‘fiddling while Rome burns‘.

Updates To The Original Story

Things are worse than they appear:

Now tell me again why bike lanes are such a pressing issue in the minds of the Chicago Urban Cycling Movement?

It might make more sense to put that 100 miles of Protected Bike Lanes in the West Bank.

A Poster

100 Miles of Chicago Bike Lanes

100 Miles of Chicago Bike Lanes