Mayor Emanuel Bikes with CIW Lab Participants

About a dozen people biked with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel the first day of Chicago Ideas Week.

Some might dread a morning workout, but try doing it with the mayor of Chicago. A dozen lucky people had the chance to ride through the city Monday with Mayor Rahm Emanuel as one of the first Labs of the third annual Chicago Ideas Week (CIW).
The experience was a 2013 CIW Lab.

“There are 325 parks,” Emanuel told the group. “We’re adding 125 to 127 more acres, which is the equivalent to five Millennium Parks…We do big bold things (in Chicago), never small.”

CIW partnered with Divvy Bike, the company that owns Chicago’s shared-bike program, for the sold-out event. Attendees toured the North Side with Emanuel as their guide, traversing Milwaukee Avenue and the new Bloomingdale Trail that is set to open at the end of 2014. At each location, riders got off their bikes and learned the history of the area and what the city wants to do with it.
“We’re rebuilding every playground,” Emanuel said. “Every child in the city of Chicago, regardless of income, race, zip code…will be within a park.”
The group was given a history lesson along the route to lunch.

The group’s ride ended at Revolution Brewing at 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., where everyone enjoyed lunch. Rishi Shah, 27, said the best part of the day was being so close to the mayor.

“I think the mayor is just a real guy…he talks like one of us about everything from education to bike lanes,” he said.
As a gardener, 38-year-old attendee Elizabeth Lindau said she really appreciated the Emanuel’s interest and commitment in green space.
“It was an amazing experience to get to experience Chicago with the mayor and get an inside look on what he’s thinking about, what his priorities are, things he’s proud of and what accomplishments he wants to highlight,” she said.
Written by: Andrea Watson
Photography by: Andrea Watson

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