Ride IllinoisRide Illinois
January 01, 2021

The Ride Illinois Community

Well, 2020 is in the books. Good riddance! Sayonara! Arrivederci! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! A new year brings hope…so there’s a lot of pressure on 2021 to make up for the dumpster fire that was 2020. We believe in you 2021. Don’t let us down!

Silver Linings

Despite all of the negative headlines you were inundated with in 2020, there were a few silver linings too. As an optimistic, glass half-full, forward-thinking, nonprofit bike advocacy organization, Ride Illinois is choosing to focus on the positive. Here are a few observations from 2020:

  • There were a lot of people riding bikes!
  • Many bike shops had banner years despite a shortage of bikes.
  • More communities are investing in bike/ped infrastructure so their residents have options. Sorry cars, your glory days have passed!

As advocates and cyclists, our collective challenge for 2021 is to harness the momentum that the “bike boom” of 2020 provided. Don’t lose steam and don’t lose hope! You deserve better than a return to “normal” once COVID-19 is nothing but a bad memory. Make sure that your “new normal” includes active transportation, like biking and walking, especially for short trips. If your community leaders don’t prioritize biking and walking, a simple phone call or email can be the spark to enact positive change. If you need advice on how to get the ball rolling, Ride Illinois is here to help. We want to make Illinois better through biking!

Commit to Your Bike

Ride Illinois wants you to ride your bike often for recreation and transportation. The many benefits of biking far outweigh the risks. We encourage you to ride safely and predictably. If you need a refresher of the laws that pertain to cyclists and safe biking techniques, look no further than BikeSafetyQuiz.com – our free, informative, online quiz that is available in both English and Spanish. Please share this resource with the cyclists and motorists in your life. Together, we can reduce the number of injuries and deaths on Illinois roads. Because, let’s be honest, one is too many.

Also, there is a lot of information available on the Ride Illinois website. Check out our resources page and our recorded and future webinars to learn more! 

It’s About Community

The dictionary defines community as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”. In 2021, Ride Illinois will focus on building community across the state. Simply put, we want you to be part of our Ride Illinois community! We don’t care how far or often you ride, whether you ride a bike for recreation or transportation (or both), what kind of bike(s) you own, where you ride, or your Strava stats. Let’s move and pedal forward together!

Ride Illinois aspires to connect with and advocate for adults and children across Illinois who enjoy the simple pleasure of a bike ride – regardless of age, race, ethnicity, ability, gender, background, socio-economic status, etc. There is more that unites us than divides us. Becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization will take time, but we’re in it for the long haul!

We are working to change the perception of cycling from a sport enjoyed by Lycra-clad individuals and weekend warriors on expensive bikes to every day, practical transportation (and recreation) that is accessible to and enjoyed by adults and children from Rockford to Cairo and all places in between. Let’s move and pedal forward together!

Hope Endures

So, there you have it – our message of hope for 2021 (and beyond). Are you in? If so, we challenge you to commit to your bike in 2021 and to help us bring the Ride Illinois community to all corners of the state. It all starts with that first ride of the year. Keep moving forward…and don’t forget to enjoy the ride!

If you have comments about this article or its message, we’d love to hear from you. Send an email to info@rideillinois.org or call (630) 216-9282 to share your thoughts, questions, concerns, suggestions, or criticism. And if you appreciate the work that Ride Illinois does, please click a button below to become a Ride Illinois member or make a donation to support our work. Be safe out there!

Concern for Our Neighbors

The tone of this article is intentionally positive. But we know that many Illinois residents are facing numerous challenges each day. Far too many of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet or put food on the table. We mourn for the 18,000 people who have died from COVID-19 statewide and their loved ones. We appreciate the front-line workers across countless industries who are putting in long hours to care for the sick, to protect our communities, and to keep the shelves stocked at our local grocery store. Positive thoughts, words, and actions can have a profound impact. Please do your part to enact positive change. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.