Chicago Actors: Grab a Bike!

Sep 20, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Attitude, Chicago, Three Cities

I got off the train late Monday night at Belmont, exhausted and a little rattled by the turbulent flight home from an otherwise refreshing Colorado vacation. I turned North up Sheffield to grab my bike, only to find myself staring at a sturdy black pole with absolutely nothing locked up to it.

Turns out that pole wasn’t so sturdy after all, and my poor bike had been snarked. Nicked. Yoinked. Stolen.

You’ve probably heard of the “Kübler-Ross model” for dealing with grief. Y’know, those five stages that we Earthlings go through every time something epically lame happens? Well I definitely hit all of them in a brief three minute span on Monday night.

  1. Denial: “Huh, Well, I surely must have locked it to one of these other street signs”
  2. Anger: “Nope! Nowhere! It’s been #&%*ing stolen! Arggghhhh!”
  3. Bargaining: “Please let it just be locked up at my apartment safe and sound when I get home. Please! I’ll do anything!”
  4. Depression: “:-(“
  5. Acceptance: “Well, I guess it’s my own fault for leaving out all weekend. I’ll just have to get by without a bike for a while. Bummer!”

(Note*- Yes, dear reader, I’m aware that this model is usually reserved for death and the dying. In no way am I trying to relate a stolen bike to the loss of human life. I’m just sayin’…)

Surviving without a bicycle in Chicago is very simple, thanks to a comprehensive public transit system (That’s the CTA, for those of you not familiar with the city). But, if you ask me, biking is actually the best way to get around, especially for actors.

Biking is (mostly) free!

Like L.A. and New York, life in Chicago is expensive! Unless you’ve already “hit it big” in the acting biz, you’re probably looking to pinch a few pennies. The good thing about biking? It’s mostly free! Once you’ve purchased a bike, you’re good to go! No parking meters to feed! No cab drivers to tip! Yes, when Winter bares her pointy teeth, you’ll have to deal with less-than-ideal weather (read: avoid freezing your nards off) and take a bus or a train. It happens, but at $2.25 a ride, it can certainly add up! As for biking, one good tune-up at the beginning of spring should keep you riding smooth all Summer long.

Joe Recommends: Sell your car. You don’t need it here, I promise.

Biking is good for you!

I got a great deal on a gym membership that I don’t use as much as I’d like. Why not? If you’re a hard-working actor in Chicago like me, you’re probably going to find yourself without much spare time for a traditional “workout.” The solution? Throw a spare shirt in your backpack and ride your bike to rehearsals and classes! You’ve just made yourself feel good about your commute (which, from what I understand about traditional commuting, is rare), and you’ve saved a few bucks a month on a gym!

Joe Recommends: Opt for the CTA when traveling to auditions or meetings with agents or CD’s. You don’t want to walk through the door a sweaty mess when you’re being watched from the moment you set foot inside!

Biking saves you time!

My biggest problem with taking the CTA isn’t the cost. Rather, it’s the fact that it’s slow. Getting anywhere will simply take you a while. Luckily, most of the north side theatre joints are within 8 miles of each other at the most, so biking can certainly save you precious time! To get from my apartment in Lakeview to Gorilla Tango Theatre in Bucktown, for example, takes close to an hour by bus, but only 20 minutes by bike! Score!

Joe Recommends: Always wear a helmet. Drivers are surprisingly biker friendly in Chicago, but accidents happen. Don’t believe me? Just look.

Need a cheap bike? You can nab one at Play It Again Sports in Lakeview for around $100.

Looking for a good bike shop? I recommend Johnny Sprockets in Lakeview. They do incredible work!

Want more info about biking in Chicago? Check out BikeChicago.info!

Be safe, my friends, and happy riding! If you’d like to share your thoughts on the topic, or if you have a favorite method of transportation you’d like to tell us about, leave a comment below! :-)

~JVB

P.S. – Upon learning my ride had been stolen, a good friend actually gave me his old bike! You rule, dude!

P.P.S. – Yep, the bad-ass kid with the sweet wheels in the above picture is me. You know you’re jealous of that ride. 😉