Mar 312019

texting while drivingIllinois lawmakers are working on creating a harsher penalty for people who cause a serious injury to another person while texting and driving. Under the proposal, a driver who causes great bodily harm to another while distracted by using a phone or other electronic device would face a $1,000 fine and a year without a license. Currently, the penalty is $75, along with other punishments for dangerous driving.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, came after a constituent in her district that lost his leg in a crash where the other driver was texting while behind the wheel. State Rep. Mike Unes, R-East Peoria, said the stiffer penalties would discourage the dangerous behavior.  State Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin, D-Chicago, said the bill would disproportionately affect low-income people. Likewise, state Rep. Marcus Evans, a Chicago Democrat who grew up in a low-income family, said many families wouldn’t be able to absorb the cost of $1,000 or be able to pay it without having a license to get to work.

Others agreed that the cost was too high, but still endorsed the idea, saying $75 was too low to be a real deterrent for what has become a widespread habit. The bill now needs a vote on the House floor before it can be reported to the Senate. Learn more…

If you feel strongly about this proposed legislation, contact your state representative. MD/RB


Mar 312019

Ride of SilenceThe Ride of Silence is a global event that takes place on the third Wednesday in May. In 2018, the ride was held in 20 Countries and 47 US States. The purpose of the ride is to honor bicyclists killed by motorists, promote sharing the road, and provide awareness of bicycling safety.   

This year’s ride in Bloomington-Normal starts on the east side of the McLean County History Museum on N. Main Street between Washington and Jefferson. Cyclists assemble starting about 6:30 pm, to sign-in and complete a waiver of liability. There will be a few observance remarks starting about 6:45 pm with the ride commencing at 7:00 pm. Riders proceed slowly and silently from Downtown Bloomington to the ending point at the Uptown Normal plaza (approximately 3 miles and 20 minutes). The ride will have a police escort.

All cyclists are required to wear a bicycle helmet and bike lights are recommended. RB

Mar 252019

Century Train Day

New this season, Allan Griffith and others will lead a series rides with increasing durations to prepare riders to complete a Century or 100 mile bicycle ride. Training works! And gradually increasing distances and endurance will keep you smiling as the miles slip by.

Catch the Century Train rides begin on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 11:00A with a 25 mile ride starting at the Y on the Constitution Trail. Century Train rides will be offered each Saturday and Sunday throughout the season. All interested riders are advised to do at least one Saturday or Sunday ride each weekend to maintain their endurance. 100 miles

Several organizations are sponsoring Century rides in the Bloomington-Normal area this summer. Century Train is a nice opportunity to up your game!  Learn more…  RB

Photo credit and suggestions on what to pack for a century.

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 ragtag 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. Watch the trailer here.

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:

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


Oct 112018

For additional info on the Dutch Reach and other ways to improve bicycle safety, see recent NY Times article, The Dutch Reach: A No-Tech Way to Save Bicyclists’ Lives.

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

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