About ten years ago a small group of bicyclists came together to form the Palatine Bicycle Task Force.  We wanted to make Palatine a more bike friendly community.  This group, with the blessing of Mayor Mulins, set out to see how we could improve Palatine’s cycling infrastructure and the perception of bicycles on the street.  Palatine already had a bike path (built by the Park District) to connect Deer Grove to the parks in Palatine.  However, we were interested in connecting Palatine to more neighboring communities, and the concept of intermingling bikes and cars on the streets was not on the Village of Palatine’s radar.

So, after seeking guidance from Active Trans and Ride Illinois, looking at maps, and identifying common routes used by local cyclists, it became obvious that creating a bike plan would be the best direction for the Task Force to head.  Our plan was created, presented to the Village Board, and adopted.

In 2013 the Bicycle Task Force realized there was so much more we could accomplish beyond our original infrastructure goals, and so we relaunched as the Bike Palatine Club.  Our mission – to help our community “bike Palatine”.

Today the Bike Palatine Club is helping the Village to identify and prioritize the most important parts of our original bike plan.  Creating bike lanes was our initial priority.  Village Director of Community Services and our friend Harry Spila identified grants to help get the ball rolling, and the Village of Palatine incorporated a budget line item specifically for bike lane improvements.

In addition to infrastructure improvements, we aim to educate the community.  We provide “Traffic 101”, a class for adults that helps increase comfort and safety when riding a bike in traffic. The class teaches skills on braking, lane positioning, and maneuvering in traffic. The course is currently offered every 2 years, but we have a goal of providing the class more frequently.

In 2017, we installed two bike racks at Dirty Nellies and two more at Wings.  This helped increase the bike parking available in our community.  Moreover, with help from our friend Gail Artrip, Bike to School, which takes place in May, has expanded from three schools and 300 students to thirteen schools and 1200 children riding to school.

Hundreds of riders participated in our Tuesday and Thursday night casual rides, and we covered over 3000 miles this year.  Cyclefest was also a success again this season.  Cyclefest was designed as a way to broaden casual bike rider’s distance and skills, and consists of family friendly 15, 23 or 33 mile bike rides.  We hope to continue to increase the number of participants in these community ride events.

First, the Bike Palatine Club wants to do so much more for our community in 2018 and beyond.  We would like to create more bike parking in downtown Palatine.  In fact, we have the funds to install bike racks and simply need approval to install them.  We hope to find the right locations and move this process forward.  If you are a business looking for a bike rack, or know one who is, please contact wmikesbikes@aol.com.

This year the Bike Safety Rodeo will be held on May 19, 2018.  This event is geared towards children aged 3-9 years.  We have partnered with the Palatine Police Department and anticipate 2018 will be our best Bike Safety Rodeo yet.

Additionally, Harper College will be getting a new bike path around the west side. This will now allow bicyclists to make a complete circle around Harper College.  We feel there is also a need for another way into the bike trials at Deer Grove.  The Bike Palatine Club proposes this connection be at Smith and Dundee. CCFP and the Village of Palatine have agreed to this connection, and we are simply waiting for grant money in order to implement this update.

We will apply for bike friendly status with the League of American Bicyclists. This will offer us a clearer perspective of what needs to be done in Palatine to make us a truly bike friendly community.

Lastly, the Bike Palatine Club could use more help.  Do you have a passion for bikes, cycling, or your community?  Do you possess skills that could be utilized in making Palatine more bike friendly?  We have simple one-time jobs, or would appreciate any time you may be willing to commit.  Do you have your own ideas?  Reach out to us today!  Please contact wmikesbikes@aol.com