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Fall 2013

Tour of Edgewater
on Saturday September 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM at
Emerson Park at 1820 W Granville in Chicago

Edgewater is one of the most densely packed areas for fantastic architecture, the community has a variety of neighborhoods filled with unique homes, places of worship, schools, civic and commercial buildings. There are building styles that stretch farther and wider than almost any other area can muster and there are exemplary works by the likes of Holabird and Roche, Dwight Perkins, Pont and Pond, Walter Burley Griffin, Henry Schlacks, William Carbys Zimmerman, and George Maher, and homegrown architects like Roy Knauer, John Pridmore, Edward Benson and Edmund Krause that helped build the Edgewater communities.

From beginnings as uninhabited brush, to early roots as a farmland, the area was first developed by a Philadelphia tobacco salesman named John Lewis Cochran who bought some farmland and began subdividing his lots in 1885. He named the area Edgewater, appropriate to its lakefront local, and developed much of the area. He is responsible for naming many of the streets and some of the homes in his five original developments are still standing and will be on the tour. Many other entrepreneurial developers contributed with their own developments, that along with Cochran's helped Edgewater become known for its neighborhoods. Edgewater Glen, Andersonville, Edgewater Beach, Lakewood-Balmoral and several other smaller neighborhoods and historic districts help make up this diverse Community.

The best way to take it all in is on a bike. Won't you join us?

Buy Tour and 2012 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Event Page | Facebook Event Page | Selected Sites in Edgewater | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2012 Poster

Tour of Hyde Park
on Saturday September 28, 2013 at 11:00 AM at
Washington Park Field House at 5531 S Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago

Hyde Park, Chicago Community Area #41 sits 7 miles south of the Loop. It is a unique community not just in the south side, or just in Chicago, but in the world.

To its north above Hyde Park Boulevard is Kenwood. South below 60th Street is Woodlawn. On the west is Washington Park, and on the northwest is Grand Boulevard. Hyde Park extends east to the lake, and near the lake, follows Jackson Park to a further south southern border.

In 1853, Paul Cornell bought 300 acres of lakefront between 51st and 55th street. A savvy businessman and lawyer from New York, he knew the key to his fortunes was access, so he deeded 60 acres to the Illinois Central Railroad in exchange for a station located right in the quite little suburb. Chicago increased its size tremendously when it annexed three major areas in 1889, namely Jefferson Township, Lakeview and Hyde Park. Hyde Park’s fortunes were made when Chicago secured the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair and settled that it would occur in Hyde Park, namely what is now Jackson Park, and the Midway Plaisance, flowing into Washington Park. This was Chicago’s moment in the sun following its rebuilding after the Great Fire.

It is home to the University of Chicago, and the grand gothic campus dotted with several notable moderns. The community around the campus is equally impressive. Luminaries like Frank Lloyd Wright, Frederick Olmsted, Lorado Taft, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Dwight Perkins, George and William Keck, and Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe are but some of the giants with handsome contributions to the areas rich architectural palette. Hyde Park is full of locally owned businesses, and community organizations and caring stewards of the history of the neighborhood.

Buy Tour and 2009 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Event Page | Facebook Event Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2009 Poster

Tour of Portage Park
Part of Chicago Artists Month
on Saturday October 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM at
Portage Park at 4100 N Long Avenue in Chicago

As part of Chicago Artists’ Month, we will be repeating our Tour of Portage Park with additional stops for new public art in Chicago’s Community Area #15, Portage Park which is a thriving residential community and neighborhood on Chicago’s Northwest side just 9 miles from downtown. Annexed to Chicago in 1889, Portage Park offers the wonderful duality of city living and convenience with a real neighborhood-based residential community. The namesake park is one of the city’s most beautiful, and several smaller parks dot the community. Portage Park is bordered by Belmont Cragin to the South, Jefferson Park and Forest Glen to the North, Irving Park to the East and Dunning and the suburb of Harwood Heights to the West.

Centered on the namesake park within the community and neighborhood, this area was part of a portage for Native American tribes like the Pottowatomi, Chippewa, Kickapoo and Ottawa Nations, and later by European explorers and trappers. They used this portage as a means of transferring between the Chicago and Des Plaines rivers, and this area was mostly a marsh at the time. Two ridges, one where present-day Narranganset is and the other on present-day Cicero, helped keep the area moist and marshy. Most of the area in between these ridges was so swamp-like, the Native American tribes abandoned the area because they couldn’t farm it.

Filled with Chicago brick bungalows and 2-flats, there also exists amongst these, a number of ranch, Cape Cod,Tudors, Dutch Colonials and Craftsman homes. All of these diverse styles manage to stay nestled comfortably amongst the schools, churches, and two main commercial districts of Six Corners and Belmont-Central, where Portage Park meets Belmont-Cragin. Riders will also get to examine fantastic buildings designed by legendary names such as Walter Burley Griffin, Dwight Perkins and Arthur Hussander.

Buy Tour and 2009 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Virtual Tour | Ross Felten 2009 Poster

Night Tour of the Loop
on Friday October 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM at
Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park in Chicago, IL

This night tour of the Loop focuses on impressive features of the dark in the Downtown section of Chicago known as the Loop. Community Area #32, The Loop is bordered by Lake Michigan on the east, by the Chicago River on the north and west and by Roosevelt Road on the south, and within this small area exists dozens of national and city landmarks, and canyons of skyscrapers, set on top of double and triple leveled streets, intersected and sharing space with el trains. It is the seat of government for the city of Chicago and Cook County.

This ride will focus on the most impressive architectural elements of the area that stand out at night. We will take upper and lower streets, we will see lakefront and walls of vintage skyscrapers in the most concentrated area of landmark buildings in the world. In addition to wearing a helmet, you must have a front and rear light to ride.

Buy Tour and 2011 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2011 Poster

Tour of Evanston
on Saturday November 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM at
Lovelace Park at 2718 Gross Point Road in Evanston

12 miles north of Chicago’s Loop sits our northern neighbor, Evanston, IL. Evanston is surrounded by Chicago on the south, Lake Michigan on the east, Wilmette on the north and Skokie on the west, and is the first in a series of northern Chicago suburbs known as the “North Shore” communities. Like much of the north side of Chicago, the area was once the land of the Potawatomi Nation and before them, other indigenous people that used the area mainly as a portage and to traverse to steadier, harder, dryer ground than the marshy wetlands and swamp forests and savannahs that occupied this section of the Great Lakes region. The first reference to the area now known as Evanston in more modern history is as the area of “Gross Pointe”, referring to a point jutting out into Lake Michigan and the area around it. After a time, the area became a township called Ridgeville with sections of Chicago that are present day West Ridge, Rogers Park and Edgewater.

Evanston is home to Northwestern University, which ranks with the best universities in the nation, founded in 1851 a year after the organization of the town of Ridgeville by a group of Methodist business leaders, who bought several hundred acres of land from local farmer, Dr. John Foster. It was the leaders of Northwestern University who would eventually lead Evanston to break off from Ridgeville to form their own city of Evanston, named after one of the University’s founders, John Evans. As befitting a town derived from Methodist founders, the city of Evanston was dry from its founding, all the way until 1972, when they finally allowed restaurants to serve liquor and in 1984, when they also allowed bars and retail liquor sales.

Today, Evanston is a thriving city with a population of over 75,000. It maintains a wide variety of build styles and architecture and an enduring and beautiful built landscape. From the mansions to the University, and from places of worship to places of business, Evanston is a city with a marvelous architectural history, and a great place to ride around. Come join us for a chance to learn about the southernmost entry in the North Shore communities, Evanston, IL.

Buy Tour and 2013 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Ross Felten 2013 Poster

Tour of Near West Side
on Saturday November 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM at
Union Park at 1501 W Randolph in Chicago

The Near West Side is Community Area #28, sitting 2 miles west of the Loop. It is an area whose history is as long as Chicago’s. It came of age in the Civil War era of Victorian buildings and a city that was coming into its own as it took on the world in industry. It is bounded by the Chicago and Northwestern railroad to the north and 16th street to the south and by the South Branch of the Chicago River on the east and the Pennsylvania Railroad on the west. The Community is home to a number of prominent Chicago neighborhoods including Greektown, the Fulton River District, University Village, Little Italy, Maxwell Street, Tri-Taylor, Illinois Medical Center, the West Loop, West Loop gate and United Center Park, all within less than 6 square miles.

Much of this area was once part of the Hull House Neighborhood, named of course for America’s first Settlement House. When Jane Adams arrived, much of the area surrounding Hull House were slums, but fifty years prior, wealthy inhabitants of the Union Park neighborhood sought to create one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods in Chicago when it was seen as a refuge from the nearby Loop before it developed its own industries and commercial districts, and the wealthy residents of the area envisioned it as an escape from the dirty, overcrowded city heart to the immediate east.

The bike Tour of the Near West Side offers a fun exploration of the neighborhoods and tales of the history for the region and of the buildings we’ll visit designed by famed architects such as Hermann V. Von Holst, William LeBaron Jenney, Pond and Pond, Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, Hugh M. Garden and Holabird and Root.

Buy Tour and 2012 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Photo Album | Route | Ross Felten 2011 Poster

Winter 2013/2014

Tour of Irving Park
on Saturday December 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM at
Horner Park at 2741 W Montrose in Chicago

Irving Park, Chicago Community Area #16 sits 7 miles northwest of the Loop. It is bounded on the east by the Chicago River and the Community Area of North Center, the Milwaukee Train lines and Portage Park to the West, Addison, and at points Belmont along with Community Area of Avondale and neighborhood of Kilbourn Park to the South, and Montrose, and at points Lawrence and the Community Area of Albany Park to our North.

Prior to being annexed to Chicago, the suburban communities that make up today’s Irving Park Community Area fell outside the city’s post-fire ban on wood-frame construction. The result is a present-day community rich with some of the oldest surviving construction in the city. Lots were subdivided larger than city lots and as a result the area soon attracted many wealthy residents looking for a nearby suburb to Chicago. Development boomed prior to the annexation by Chicago in 1889, but the population exploded and building and development accelerated after the area joined the city. Soon the area attracted citizens of varying economic backgrounds as rental homes and more modest homes shared the blocks with stately mansions. Between 1895 and 1914 more than 5,000 new buildings, including 1,400 multifamily buildings were erected in this period of significant architecture development creating one of the greatest built environments in all of Chicago. It features comfortably nestled neighborhoods such as the Villa, (a registered National and City Historic Landmark), Old Irving, Independence Park and Grayland. On the tour, we will take in beautiful works of architecture such as Dwight Perkins’ Carl Schurz High School, the Henry V. Peters House by Walter Burley Griffin, St. Viator by Charles Wallace and dozens of other truly special buildings.

Buy Tour and 2012 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2011 Poster

Tour of North Park
on Saturday January 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM at
Peterson Park at 5801 N Pulaski in Chicago

North Park is Chicago Community Area #13 and sits just 9 miles northwest of the Loop. It is cradled between the two branches of the Chicago River, and is part of or immediately adjacent to some of the most developed and realized bike trails in the city. It is a quiet residential area, sharing parks, tree-lined streets and marvelous buildings with adjacent Albany Park, Forest Glen, Lincolnwood, Lincoln Square and West Ridge. It is the home of in-city Universities North Park College and Northeastern Illinois University and the north side’s own Chicago Park District-run nature center on the grounds of a former Tuberculosis Sanitarium.

The area’s modern history begins around 1855 when a small village was platted out of the newly formed Jefferson Township. Early residents were immigrants from Germany and Sweden, and farming was the general occupation for those that settled here. Over the years came Czechs after the opening of the Bohemian National Cemetary, and since then, the area has become along with Albany Park, amongst the most demographics of any area in the United States. As the area expanded in a series of population expansions it left behind a built history of stunning residences, schools, commercial, religious and civic buildings designed by the likes of Clarence Hatzfeld, Paul Gerhardt, Otis and Clark, Jarvis Hunt and John Krivanek. It is an ideal community for a bike tour passing through quiet neighborhood side streets, main commercial thoroughfares and along preserve and park trails.

Buy Tour and 2012 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2012 Poster

Tour of Rogers Park
on Saturday February 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM at
Warren Park at 6601 N Western in Chicago

Chicago Community Area #1, Rogers Park sits 9 miles north of the Loop. It was formerly land used by the Pottawatomi Nation and other indigenous people. Present day Ridge and Rogers Avenues were both former native trails and Rogers formed part of the Indian Boundary Line decreed in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis. Named for the first non-native settler, Irish born Phillip Rogers, the area was initially used as farmland and was later developed by the likes of Rogers, who had 1600 acres of former government land to develop and scores of others that came to build and settle the small village south of Evanston and north of the city.

It is also home to inspiring architecture designed by such icons as Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, Andrew Rebori, Henry J. Schlacks and Clarence Hatzfeld. The streets of Rogers Park are likewise lined with amazing homes and apartments which may lack such heralded pedigree or historical significance, but make up for it in simple, utilitarian and enduring beauty. The area is rich in stories to hear, features to discover and is well-suited for exploration on two wheels.

Buy Tour and 2012 Poster - $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2012 Poster

Summer 2013 Schedule

Near North Side Mini-TourNear North Side Mini-Tour
Wednesday June 12, 6:00 PM
At Buckingham Fountain at 500 S Columbus Drive
FREE as part of Chicago Bike to Work Week

Once again, I am offering a free mini-tour of one of the downtown communities as part of Chicago's Bike To Work Week in partnership with the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. This year, we will explore the Near North Side, just north of the city's central business district, the Loop. The Near North Side is Chicago Community Area #8. It is home to many of the city's most famous buildings, cultural institutions, neighborhoods and historical figures. The tour will offer riders a two-hour spin through the Magnificent Mile, the Gold Coast, Streeterville, River North, Old Town, SoNo, and Goose Island. We will visit dozens of city and national landmarks and discuss and learn about buildings from the likes of Dwight Perkins, Holabird and Roche, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Adler and Sullivan, John Welbourn Root, Daniel Burnham, Henry Ives Cobb, Marshall and Fox, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Fugard and Knapp, Joseph Lyman Silsbee, Schmidt, Garden and Martin, Alfred Ahlschuler and scores of other legendary architects. All for free after work.

Limited to 150 participants. You must wear a helmet and register - here.

Register for Tour - here.

Buy 2013 Tour Poster for $5


Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Chicago Bike To Work Week | Ross Felten 2013 Poster


Night Tour of the Near North SideNight Tour of the Near North Side
Friday June 14, 8:00 PM
At Buckingham Fountain at 500 S Columbus Drive

Later that week, we will hold a brand new night tour when we re-visit the Near North Side for a longer ride on a Friday summer night. The goal of the Night tours is to create an interesting way to see an area with densely packed features and stops. The night becomes our filter, and we will focus our stops on buildings and locations that look particularly wonderful at night. The tour is longer than the mini-tour, and riders that experience both will ride two very different tours. Riders on the night tour are encouraged to have front and rear lights mounted on their bikes and/or helmet and/or person.

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Buy Tour and 2010 Poster for $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Ross Felten 2013Poster


Tour of Brideport and Armour SquareTour of Brideport and Armour Square
Saturday July 6, 11:00 AM

Plus, there's the rest of the summer too!

The history of the Bridgeport and Armour Square area is as old as Chicago itself. Native Americans used the area as a portage, particularly when the Chicago River was at its deepest, and most spread out. Later, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet explored the region in 1673, proposing the addition of a canal to aid in the region's natural use as a transportation center and trading route. Some 175 years later, the Illinois and Michigan Canal created jobs and enabled industries and fueled the growth of the Bridgeport area and the city of Chicago. Freight and passenger rail followed by commuter rail expansion divided the areas of Armour Square and Bridgeport, and fenced in the areas by hard boundaries like the South Branch of the Chicago River and the rail lines. The expansion of the Federal Highway System and the construction of the Dan Ryan and Adlai E. Stevenson Expressways and various merging ramps and exits further served to cut off the two areas from one-another, and in many ways, the areas from the rest of the city, despite its past as a transportation hub.

The built history of the region is fascinating in both its plethora of early examples of architecture that still survives, and a long history of styles, marking the expansion of different immigrant communities into the area, and the changing of architectural norms. There are more than 200 notable buildings and locations along the way of the ride, with over a dozen stops and detailed explanations of the buildings, their history, the background of the area, and the story of two of Chicago's most fascinating communities.

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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2010 Poster


Tour of West RidgeTour of West Ridge
Saturday July 20 , 11:00 AM
At Indian Boundary Park, 2500 W Lunt Avenue in Chicago

Join us as we explore the Northside Community Area of West Ridge. We'll gather at the National and Chicago Landmark Park, Indian Boundary Park at 2500 W Lunt Ave in front of the recently fire-damaged Clarence Hatzfield designed Tudor fieldhouse with Native American motifs. The park is part of the northern boundary of the area that the Potawatomi seceded to the U.S. in 1816. West Ridge sits on a natural ridge, remnants of the glacial path that shaped the Great Lakes region. Following centuries of use by indigenous people, West Ridge was settled in the 1830s by immigrants who came to the region to farm the land.

West Ridge is Community Area #2, 9 miles northwest of the city's Loop. It is bordered by Howard and the city of Evanston on the north and the North Shore Channel and the cities of Lincolnwood and Skokie on the west. It's eastern border following Ridge Boulevard adjacent to Rogers Park and then Ravenswood and finally Western west of Edgewater. The southern border is the community area of Lincoln Square stretching along Peterson from Lake Michigan to Western, and Bryn Mawr from Western to the River. It is a popular and comfortable locale with jaw dropping mansions and a fleet of sturdy and tiny worker's homes. Come join us on a leisurely bike ride to get to know the community, its history and architecture.

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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Sites on Route | Ross Felten Poster


Tour of Forest GlenTour of Forest Glen
Saturday August 10, 11:00 AM
Indian Road Woods Forest Preserve on Central by Indian Road in Chicago.

Forest Glen is community area #12 and sits 10 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. Bordering the Northern border suburbs of Niles, Skokie and Lincolnwood, Forest Glen was a suburb itself until it was annexed by the city in 1889. The surrounding forest preserves, golf courses, parks, cemeteries, bike and hiking trails and beautiful homes of varying vintage and styles still preserves a suburban-community look and feel on the edge of the city.

Our tour takes on a circuitous route of the side streets, park district paths and main arteries of a northwest community that includes the neighborhoods of Edgebrook, Old Edgebrook, Sauganash, Wildwood and Forest Glen, the neighborhood within the same named Community Area. We'll get a chance to take in significant, but hidden architectural gems including works by Meyer and Cook, Clarence Hatzfeld and C. W. Lampe and Co. In all, the course is just over 17 miles and features stretches of peaceful bike trails through city parks and forest preserves.

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Buy Tour and 2010 Poster for $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Virtual Tour | Ross Felten 2012 Poster


Tour of Jefferson ParkTour of Jefferson Park
Saturday August 17, 11:00 AM
Jefferson Park at 4822 N Long in Chicago

Jefferson Park, Chicago Community Area #11 is 10 miles northwest of the Loop. Nicknamed, the “Gateway to Chicago”, farmers once came from far and wide to sell their goods in Jefferson, named to honor Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's ideal location began as two Native American trails, grew to include the area's earliest toll plank roads, and was thereafter augmented by rail and commuter lines. Today the area has a population of over 40,000, a tremendous amount of green space, historical homes and buildings throughout, and a namesake park on the National Register of Historic Places.

Jefferson Park is home to Big Shoulders Realty's office and has been for the last seven years and an area that I have ridden over again and again, so one I know particularly well. There are numerous examples of utilitarian houses and buildings that are each exceptional and remarkable, but unheralded and un-pedigreed and consequently less known. These are exactly the areas that the average Chicagoan can find particularly interesting and worth exploring in depth. Hop on your bike to visit an extra and intra-urban experience that barely feels like Chicago at the same time that it typifies it.

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Buy Tour and 2010 Poster for $12


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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2012Poster


Winter 2013 Schedule

Tour of West RidgeTour of West Ridge
Saturday January 19, 2013 at 11:00
At Indian Boundary Park, 2500 W Lunt Avenue in Chicago

We'll gather at the National and Chicago Landmark Park, Indian Boundary Park at 2500 W Lunt Ave in front of the recently fire-damaged Clarence Hatzfield designed Tudor fieldhouse with Native American motifs at 11:00 on Saturday January 19 for our first ride of 2013. The park is part of the northern boundary of the area that the Potawatomi seceded to the U.S. in 1816.

West Ridge is Community Area #2, 9 miles northwest of the city's Loop. It is bordered by Howard and the city of Evanston on the north and the North Shore Channel and the cities of Lincolnwood and Skokie on the west. It's eastern border following Ridge Boulevard adjacent to Rogers Park and then Ravenswood and finally Western west of Edgewater. The southern border is the community area of Lincoln Square stretching along Peterson from Lake Michigan to Western, and Bryn Mawr from Western to the River. It is a popular and comfortable locale with jaw dropping mansions and a fleet of sturdy and tiny worker's homes. Come join us on a leisurely bike ride to get to know the community, its history and architecture.

Buy Tour for $9


Buy 2012 Poster and Tour for $12


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Chainlink | Facebook | Starting Spot | Ross Felten Poster


Tour of the Lower West SideTour of the Lower West Side
February 9, 2013 at 11:00
At Harrison Park at 1824 S Wood in Chicago

Community Area #31, the Lower West Side is 3 miles southwest of the loop. It is bounded on the south and east by the South branch of the Chicago River and on the north and west by the Burlington Northern Railroad. The oldest section is known as Pilsen, named for the city in Bohemia, where many of the earliest settlers to the area immigrated from. The initial popularity of the area was as a place for Bohemians to rebuild after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The area west of Pilsen was known as the Heart of Chicago, and soon became as popular as Pilsen, and as immigrants from different countries came to America, many of them settled in Heart of Chicago. Many of the residents of both main sections of the Lower West Side were laborers and worked in the city's factories, in the nearby stockyards or meat packers, or as tradesmen. The housing is most often modest brick worker's cottages and practical multi-unit housing, and the area is dominated by several monumental churches, whose influence and congregation's popularity helped bring population and development to the area, including St. Paul's, St. Pius and St. Adalbert. Beyond the churches and residences, the Lower West Side also includes grand treasures by the biggest luminaries of Chicago architecture. Some of the scheduled stops will include visits to the Daniel Burnham designed Fisk Power Plant, the Pond and Pond designed Gad's Hill Center, the William Carbys Zimmerman designed Dvorak Park Fieldhouse and the Schmidt and Garden designed Schoenhofen Brewery. Join us for a day on your bike digging the Lower West Side.

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Chainlink | Facebook | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten Poster

Spring 2013 Schedule

Tour of Logan SquareTour of Logan Square
Saturday March 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Illinois Centennial Monument at Milwaukee and Logan intersection

Logan Square, Community Area no. 22 is located 5 miles from the loop on Chicago's near Northwest side, Logan Square is a densely populated microcosm of Chicago. Just as it is home to exquisite mansions along its historic boulevards, its side-streets are lined with simple workers' homes and 2-flats. It is host to homey dive bars and haute cuisine hot spots. A particularly funky strip of Milwaukee forms its main commercial district, immediately adjacent to its quiet tree- lined residential streets. Exhibiting a wide variety of styles and a host of wonderful examples, it is also an architectural treasure trove.

Tour Stops on the tour will include the Logan and Congress Theaters, the William Zimmerman designed field house at Holstein Park, the Logan Square Auditorium, St. Hedwigs, St. Mary of the Angels and the Norwegian Church. The tour will also explain and explore the Boulevard System, and riders will get a chance to see some of the most amazing mansions in all of Chicago.

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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Virtual Tour | Ross Felten Poster

Tour of Humboldt ParkTour of Humboldt Park
Saturday March 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Humboldt Park at California and Division

Humboldt Park is community area number 23 and sits four miles west of the Loop. Humboldt Park is a community area, a neighborhood and a huge city park, all three named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist. The neighborhood extends from Western to Pulaski and from Armitage to Chicago leaving half of the total neighborhood and half of park in the community area of West Town. The community area begins at Sacramento/Humboldt on the east and is otherwise bordered by rail-lines; the Bloomingdale Line and Street on the north, the Union Pacific at Kinzie on the south and the Belt Railway on the west, just east of Cicero Avenue. The area known as West Humboldt Park extends from Pulaski west to the other borders of the community area.

The area is also home to some of the greatest work of some of the most heralded figures in Chicago and American architecture and landscape design, including William Le Baron Jenney, Jens Jensen, William Carbys Zimmerman, Dwight Perkins and Schmidt, Garden & Martin. The area is resplendent with a vibrant palette of murals and community gardens. The tour will explore all of Humboldt Park; the neighborhood, the park, and the community area. We will visit the National Landmark namesake park and all of its buildings and major sculptures, Dwight Perkin's Moos and Nobel schools, the Paseo Boriqua, and the home-sites of some of Chicago's most famous figures.

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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2013 Poster

Giant Donkey500th Anniversary of the Liar's Ride
Monday April 1, 2013 at 6:00 PM
In front of West Town Bikes/Ciclo Urbano at 2459 W Division St

Eventually, the big April Fool's joke will be that there is no tour at all, but for the past 500 years, we are proud to say that we have never missed a Liar's Ride yet. We will concede our most recent running did have an unfortunate 34 minute black-out, but it ran nonetheless and to celebrate five centuries of blemish-free riding and fact-telling, we're certainly not going to miss the ride this time.

So rest assured there will be a ride.

For sure.

The rules have been tweaked this year and are as follows:

  • The ride is free, however if any rider should misuse the word “literally” within earshot of the tour leader, the fee becomes $100,000,000.00
  • All riders must wear a helmet as usual, but new for this year we are also requiring a protective layer of waxed-canvas bubble wrap over all areas of the body. Management recommends the strategic placement of holes for purposes of breathing, hearing and seeing, but that's up to you. We are all about freedom of choice on that topic.
  • Not on helmets though.
  • The ride will be simulcast in Flemish on WBBM. All of the living relatives of each rider will be required to listen to that broadcast. For those not located in the Chicago area, the broadcast can be streamed online. In all cases, a 1,000-word essay in Portuguese summarizing the various stops of the ride will be required of each living relative within 8 hours of the completion of the ride. Submission instructions will be issued at the ride.
  • All riders are sworn to complete secrecy of all places visited, histories revealed, routes traveled, individuals in attendance, or not in attendance, topics discussed or information dispersed on the ride, and at all points before or after the ride. It is recommended that all riders cease all further communication with all others indefinitely following the ride to ensure their compliance on this matter.
  • All carbon fiber bicycles will be replaced with bicycles made of pretzel rods. Those things are delicious.
  • Unsafe fixed-gear conversions are strongly encouraged.
  • As with all rides throughout history, riders will hold their breath when passing a cemetery. When extracted to enough distance, it turns out that you are always passing a cemetery; consequently we will have no breathing on the ride.
  • Remember in the great cycling movie Breaking Away how in the Little 500 bike race, you aren't allowed to use cages or clip into your pedals, BUT you are allowed to be taped onto your pedals, but can't stop until the end as a result? Same deal here.
  • People that post ride graphs from their Garmin for this ride will be interfaced directly with their device.
  • We have noticed how an increasing number of business owners have begun expressing their political views in very public ways, regardless of the effect on their business, and in a way that seems to ensure continued political polarization in a country nearly hopelessly at odds with itself. To that end, this ride will only contain left turns.
  • All tires must be inflated to 98.5 PSI exactly. This is regardless of whether this is the correct tire pressure for your tire or would even be possible.
  • No riders may use any lubricants, pastes or greases on their bicycles except for remaining bits of lip balm found on the side of the road.
  • To ensure that we stay together as a group, all riders will be fitted with electronic collars. The transmitter will be in my helmet and as long as you stay within 100 feet of me, no worries. Got to keep things tidy.

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Tour of Norwood ParkTour of Norwood Park
Saturday April 20, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Norwood Park at 5801 N Natoma in Chicago

Norwood Park is Chicago Community Area #10, sitting 11 miles northwest of the Loop. Its earliest settlers were European Immigrant farmers. In 1853, the area was the beneficiary of the new Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad and the area started to grow. Soon enough, developers sought to capitalize on the picturesque setting and draw nearby Chicagoans to the intended resort community. In 1868, the Norwood Land and Building Association began creating a new subdivision in the area with curvilinear streets intersecting the traditional rectangle blocks and work began on the Norwood Park Hotel complete with artificial lake. While the plans did not draw enough from the city to make this plan profitable, the planning of the city did create a desirable place to live. The area incorporated as a village in 1874, and prohibited the sale of alcohol to its citizens and through all businesses. The village was annexed to Chicago in 1893.

Stops on the tour will include the Noble-Seymour-Crippen house, the Norwegian Old People's Home (built on the site of the Norwood Park Hotel), the Wingert House, the Danish Old People's Home and numerous historic parks, schools and religious institutions. Come join the ride for a brand new tour of Norwood Park.

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Tour of AustinTour of Austin
Saturday May 11 at 11:00 AM
Columbus Park at 500 S Central in Chicago

Austin, Chicago Community Area #25 sits seven miles due west of the Loop. It is one of Chicago's largest Community Areas and was founded in 1865 by Henry Austin. Originally located in the township of Cicero, it was voted out of the Township and became part of Chicago in 1899. For years, the rail lines served as a boon to Austin, and development and communities grew and prospered for years. Austin is site to some of the grandest mansions and most splendid architectural forms in all of Chicago, and to one of the grandest parks in the park system, Columbus Park, a fully-realized design of famed landscape architect Jens Jensen. Sadly Austin's beautiful buildings today are often neighbored by empty lots, and dilapidated structures in many directions as the area has seen its fortunes decline as its population and money disappeared while its infrastructure and opportunities ever weakened. The prospect for urban renewal in many ways begins by rediscovering what we Chicagoans have lost by neglecting our neighborhoods. By remembering and seeing what we have lost, we can change a neighborhood's fortunes, and regain our stature as a city.

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Tour of East and West Garfield ParkTour of East and West Garfield Park
Saturday May 18 at 11:00 AM
Garfield Park at 100 N Central Park in Chicago

West Garfield Park is community area #26, sitting 5 miles west of The Loop. Its eastern neighbor East Garfield Park is community area #25, and sits a mile closer from eastern border to downtown Chicago. This is an area with a storied past, and many brilliant examples of amazing residential architecture. Garfield Park itself, formerly the Central Park of the West Chicago Parks Commission three major parks, features brilliant landscaping by Jens Jensen and William Le Baron Jenney, a gilded-domed fieldhouse, formerly serving as district headquarters, and a brilliant Conservatory, which Jens Jensen designed and filled with exotic plant specimens, very different from his prairie-native planting design philosophy.

West of the park lay what was for a time, one of the hottest night-life sections of Chicago, the Madison-Crawford District. The booms were as magnificent, as the busts were difficult. A confluence of events sent the area spiraling into a economic tailspin that began with the construction of the Congress (Eisenhower) Expressway in the 1950s, and culminated in racial discrimination, industrial abandonment, and urban decay that saw a population decline of two-thirds in fifty years.

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Chainlink Page | Facebook Page | Starting Spot | Route | Photo Album | Ross Felten 2010 Poster

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