ChiWhoBike #43

A woman stands smiling wide with a bright blue bike on some grass, with a flowering tree behind her. The woman is wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans, and green sneakers, and has shoulder length brown hair, and light skin. Her bike is a light blue ebike with a Tern logo visible, and has a child seat and helmet on the back, with a front rack with a canvas tote on it.

This is my Tern GSD, an electric cargo bike I’ve had for a little over two years now, and I’ve got just over 2000 miles on it. It definitely turns a lot of heads, especially when I have a full grown adult on the back or up to three kids.

I haven’t been biking that long, I dabbled a bit in my twenties in Lincoln Park, but I found it really intimidating. There weren’t as many bike lanes back then, and so I stopped and I really got back into biking when I became a mother. I’ve never liked driving in the city, but transit becomes really challenging with a small child who’s on a schedule. I can’t take an Uber anymore because I don’t want to lug a car seat around with me, and I don’t want to drive because parking is always a nightmare. So biking is just the most convenient option for getting around the city with kids, I’ve found. And I think a lot of parents get intimidated by biking with their kids, but I wish they would try it, because it is absolutely my favorite way to get around the city with my son.

A few weeks ago was the solar eclipse, and I took my 4-year-old son out on the 606 all the way out to the Humboldt Park Library to watch it, and it was amazing - we had this really wonderful mother-son experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. On the way home, we were crossing Ashland on Courtland, which connects the Dickens Greenway to the 606, so it’s a very heavily traffic route for cyclists. And a driver did not like the fact that I didn’t want to bike in the bike lane, because it was flooded. He passed me very closely, and then at the next stoplight, rolled down his window, called me all kinds of derogatory names, cussing in front of my child and then tried to drive his car into us. He swerved into the bike lane, sped into the bike lane as soon as the light turned green and then sped away. And that was just… for what? I was going to get back over to the bike lane as soon as possible, and the light was red. It literally cost him zero time to just wait for me to get out of the way, and instead he decided to threaten my life because I caused him what he perceived to be an inconvenience for about maybe 10 seconds.

A photo of the same woman riding her blue cargo ebike with a white helmet on. She's turning in the street and waving to the left.
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