Feb 052019

This year’s winter bike movie is a documentary called “Rising from Ashes” and will be shown at the Normal Theater, Tuesday, February 12th, 7pm.

Released in 2012, “Rising from Ashes” is a feature length documentary about the first Rwandan national cycling team in their bid to make history and represent their country at the 2012 Olympics. Competing in a white man’s sport, reserved for the privileged, a rag tag group of cyclists coached by the first American to ride in the Tour de France, are transformed into a powerful symbol of hope for a country recovering from one of the world’s most devastating genocides.

You can see the trailer here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXfq0DxS4KM

Movie is free, but donations encouraged.  Proceeds will benefit the Bike Co-op and Bike BloNo.

See you there!

Nov 222018

Happy Thanksgiving bicycle enthusiasts!

Because stuff gets buried in websites without announcements or notifications, please be advised that a page was added under the Resource tab dedicated to improving our ride leadership and collective understanding of ride leadership. Check it out! Almost an entire comic book about how to be ride sweep! And let me know if you have additional ride leader & sweep info you would like to share. Good day to ride! RB

Ride Leader Information and Recommendations

Let's go ride

Image source: greenreport.it

Bicycle Magazine (Nov/Dec. 2018, pp. 24-25) listed five keys to a good group ride:

  1. Standing day and time. Being able to block off a time slot is key to attracting regular riders and magic.
  2. A faithful leader. People need to know that if they show up there will be some to ride with.
  3. A hard start time because after you’ve rushed out of the office to make the ride, nothing is more irritating than waiting around for laggers.
  4. Rain or Shine Policy – Consistency promotes continuity, plus riding in crappy easther make for good stories.
  5. Post Ride refreshments. They seal in the good vibes.

To these great ideas the WM adds one more; the ride must be delivered as advertised at the expected speed and distance to respect everyone’s skills, fitness and time.

Why do we ride as a group? Because it is more fun!

The same Bicycling article referenced a review in The Atlantic  that “Research has shown that shared experience (both positive & negative) are more intense than solo ones, and that participants who exercise in groups report feeling calmer and happier afterward than those who exercise alone.”

How to Ride Sweep?

Riding sweep means staying at the back of a group bicycle ride, to make sure no one is left behind and to be their to help in case of any problems. On most rides you won’t have much to do but keep the slower riders company.

The wikiHow article presents step-by-step procedures and recommendations for how to ride sweep that I hope doesn’t scare away potential sweeps.

As the article points out, “If you are an experienced, responsible bicycle rider and prepared to handle basic roadside repairs, consider riding sweep. If you’re not comfortable with the added responsibility, wait, or ride as a “co-sweep” with another experienced rider.” It does speak to the knowledge needed to effectively help “lead from the rear” for any active outdoor adventure.

We do have a designated sweep for each training ride in May and June. Other rides have a more informal sweep arrangement.

Nov 152018

Ride Illinois LogoDiscover relevant laws and best safety strategies for sharing the road.

Ride Illinois has an excellent online Bike Safety Quiz that has been used by more than 75,000 people, since 2013. The easy-to-use resource includes Illinois Secretary of State approved content. Designed for both cyclists and motorists, the interactive questions focus on relevant state laws and ways of avoiding common car-bike crashes. The Adult Bicyclist quiz has 33 multiple-choice questions divided into Bronze (10 questions), Silver (11), and Gold (12) levels.

Successfully answering the quiz questions (it is educational so you a get a couple of tries) earns you a wallet sized certificate of completion card. Next spring, this bike safety quiz will be the first homework assignment for our training rides!

Created by Ride Illinois, a nonprofit organization working statewide for better bicycling conditions.

Oct 152018

Several new items have been posted in the Classifieds including a trike and a “wanted” request for center pull brakes. Also new, recently added a “Ride Maps page under Rides and Events that connects to various Garmin Connect route maps and data. RB


Sep 132018

Illustration of Dutch Reach method to avoid dooring cyclistsThe MC Wheelers are members of RIde Illinois, our state bicycle advocacy group. Of interest recently is a technique called the Dutch Reach that State Rep. Theresa Mah is trying to make part of Illinois driver training. The Dutch Reach is a way for motorists leaving parallel-parked cars to avoid “dooring” cyclists coming from behind – by opening their car doors with their right (not left) hand. This method results in a torso twist where you are better positioned to see cyclists and limits the speed with which the vehicle door opens. Read more at Dutch Reach Project… RB

Updated Aug 23, 2018: Now Law in IllinoisA new law requires the Illinois secretary of state to include in the ‘Rules of the Road’ information on the ‘Dutch Reach‘ method of opening a vehicle door to avoid injuries to bicyclists. It also requires that the term be included in the pool of questions to obtain a driver’s license.  Aug 23, 2018

Aug 232018

Bike Friendly Community Survey BannerThe Town of Normal recently submitted an application to be re-designated as a “Bike Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists.  The League requires the Town to solicit feedback from local bicycle enthusiasts and stakeholders. Please consider taking 10 minutes (yes, it is a little long, but worth it) to contribute your thoughts.

To understand the BFC requirements and benefits, it is helpful to review what the Normal is already doing as well as the BFC award criteria (some excellent ideas here!).


Deadline for submissions is Sept. 20, 2018.

If you have any questions about the BFC process, please contact Mercy Davison, Normal Town Planner, at mdavison@normal.org or (309) 454-9590. Thanks for your support of making bikeable Normal! RB