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Mike Claffey 312.744.0707 Michael.Claffey@cityofchicago.org
Susan Hofer 312.742-2006 Susan.Hofer@cityofchicago.org
CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) today announced the first opportunity of the season for the public to sign up for “Learn to Ride,” a free bicycle riding class for adults. The first classes will be offered at a location on the West Side starting July 9, and a location for classes on the South Side is currently being finalized. Residents will have the opportunity to sign up for those classes once a final location has been determined.
The two-hour classes will be held at the Greater West Town Training Partnership at 500 N. Sacramento. Sessions will be offered twice a week on Thursdays, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting July 9 and continuing through August 29. Additionally, starting this year, CDOT is offering a new pilot course, “Advanced Learn to Ride,” offered on July 18, and August 15 and 29, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This course will be designed for adults who’ve already mastered beginner level bike riding and are looking to master intermediate level skills. Participants can use their own bikes, but for those who may not have access to or own a bike CDOT is offering free use of a Divvy bike.
“This is a great opportunity for anyone, from those who’ve never ridden a bike to those who haven’t ridden in a while, to learn basic bike riding skills and safety tips from the experts, and these lessons may be more timely than ever before, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create a surge in popularity for bike riding,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “We expect these classes in this first round of bike riding lessons to fill up quickly, so act now to reserve a spot if you are interested!”
Reservations are granted on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are three ways to make a reservation:
The Learn to Ride classes are taught by CDOT’s team of Streets are for Everybody (SAFE) Ambassadors, biking and safety experts who are trained through a cycling instructor program created by the League of American Bicyclists.
The classes are designed to encourage adults who have never ridden a bike or haven’t ridden recently to feel safe and comfortable riding a bike throughout Chicago. Participants will learn how to position themselves when riding in the bike lane, how to plan the safest routes before going on a ride, signaling and more. The course will provide a better understanding of how to use a bike to get around a big city, which can often be challenging for new riders. The overall aim is to make the city’s streets safer for everyone.
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic new bike cleaning and safety protocols have been put in place. All instructors will wear face coverings throughout the entirety of the course and will practice social distancing from each other and attendees. Participants will also be expected to bring and wear a face covering, and CDOT will make hand sanitizer available.
Adult participants who have pre-registered for the two-hour classes will receive a free helmet, subject to availability. The classes are also open to children with a guardian if space is available, however, children under 16 are required to bring their own bike. Interested participants under 5’ 3” are strongly encouraged to bring their own bike, as Divvy bikes are most comfortable for riders 5’3” and taller.
The classes are supported by sponsorship revenue CDOT received from Divvy, the City’s bikeshare partner. CDOT has announced plans to expand the Divvy system to cover the entire City of Chicago by 2021. Divvy currently has nearly 600 stations and 6,200 bikes serving two-thirds of the city’s population and covering more than 100 square miles. Chicago has more than 280 miles of protected, buffered and other on-street bike lanes, giving the City a total of network of 318 miles of on- and off-street bikeways.
The schedule and details are posted at www.chicago.gov/visionzero