Infrastructure doesn’t just magically appear … the paved trails, shared lanes, “sharrows,” greenways, etc., that bike riders use every day.

It starts with an idea — a cyclist’s “light bulb” moment, a traffic planner’s vision, a motorist’s complaint or a tragic insight after an avoidable accident.



The Illinois Bike Summit on Tuesday, Sept. 15, is a virtual conference that brings together biking enthusiasts of all types for a daylong discussion to improve bike riding in Illinois. Hosted by Ride Illinois, the statewide, nonprofit bike advocacy organization, this forum enables transportation planners, shop owners, cycling advocates, engineers, lawyers and the general biking public to share ideas, collaborate and inspire one another.

“The summit brings together a broad variety of people providing different perspectives,” said Ride Illinois Executive Director Dave Simmons. “It lets the average citizen imagine what is possible. One idea is to empower individuals in their communities to make biking safer and easier. People take away new knowledge about biking, as well as a shot of inspiration about what is possible.”

Simmons is most excited about the infusion of diversity, equity and inclusion in promoting biking.

“In forcing us to go virtual, the pandemic makes it easier for a greater diversity of people to attend. This format lets us widen the circle in terms of gender, race, age and socio-economic status. We are just starting on the diversity journey,” Simmons said.

Bill Nesper, League of American Bicyclists executive director, will keynote, bringing a national perspective on cycling issues and insights into the Bicycle Friendly America program. Illinois is ranked the 16th “bike friendliest” state.



Illinois State Rep. (2nd district) Theresa Mah will present recent biking issues raised in the Illinois General Assembly. Maulik Vaishnav, Transportation Policy adviser in the Chicago mayor’s office, will discuss the city’s COVID-19 response to improve biking.

Attendees can choose among 12 other topics, including:

• Bike sharing models

• Trail design and project tips

• Sharing the public way with e-bikes and scooters

• Bicycles and the law

• Apps for ride logging and for reporting poor motorist behavior

Question and answer sessions will conclude the event, allowing interaction with bike attorneys, the League of American Bicyclists, Ride Illinois and infrastructure experts.

This virtual conference comes with no travel costs and reduced fees: $20 for Ride Illinois members, $10 for students and $60 for nonmembers. Recordings will be available for 30 days for anyone registered by Sept. 15.



To request a reduced or complimentary registration, contact [email protected]

Register for the Sept. 15 Illinois Bike Summit at

Register for the Sept. 15 Illinois Bike Summit at

Sharing the road:

If you wondered why that cyclist zipped by you too sharply this morning, blame “TdF.” Le Tour de France, a three-week multistage race, rolled out of Nice on Saturday, Aug. 29. Beware! Wannabe racers are likely to unleash their risky fantasies on local roads and trails.

Don’t get me wrong. TdF is very inspirational, showcasing the world’s top professional cycling teams. They race over very challenging terrain at incredible distances — 120-plus miles — nearly every day. As a younger rider, even I entertained visions of podium glory over, admittedly, short bike outings. But riding and racing are very different. Although pros train how to race and to maneuver in hazardous situations, injuries abound. For amateurs, injuries can mean never biking again.

So don’t get so inspired that you forget basic safety protocols: Ride on the right, pass on the left, call out when overtaking others, and let trail and traffic conditions dictate your speed. Save your fantasies for the couch as you marvel at the pros.

Cycling shorts:

Waiting too long for bike repairs? Learn flat repair, wheel truing, gear and brake adjustments, and the basic eight-point inspection at Harper College Bicycle Maintenance Basics online class Sept. 12. Register at

Bike mechanic and class instructor Rene Lawell at Link O’Chain Cyclery in Fox Lake will contact participants with online information.

• Join the ride. Reach Ralph Banasiak at [email protected]