NEW INFO AND UPDATES AS THEY HAPPEN AT THE WEBSITE AS WELL AS THIS THREAD:
As some of you may know, there's another thread going in which some of us called out, perhaps half-jokingly, half-seriously to have a BF FG Meat N' Greet. In return, I suggested that we do it in Chicago -- central to most of the coasts and for some a long haul of a drive away and for others a hop on a plane and fly on down.
So, I'm calling to make this serious and the DCC (Dirty Chicago Crew) has rallied to organize as much as we can and help people get into town so we can have a little face time with each other and ride in person with some fellow members.
So let's try to do this annually even, with a different city hosting each year. We're throwing down this year with some riding, tracking, alleycat-ing, pub-crawlin', vegan/veggie/meat-eatin' and general fixed gear ridin'.
When: the second weekend of November, 11-13 (Fri-Sun) 2005
Where: Chicago, city of big shoulders, Illinois
What: fixed gear city ridin', velo ridin', alleycat racin', fine beverage drinkin' and fine dinin', sleepin', laughin' and more.
Fri/Sat morn: peeps arrive.
Breakfast and gathering of people. Meet n' greet, hugs, firm handshakes and a slap on the back. Or in 165's case a face punch if he's feeling nice. Come collect!
Checkpoint alleycat (to be organized by the DCC and announced) / velo racin'. To be determined, decided.
Congregation and relaxation. Dinner, and a pub/bar crawl around the city. More ridin'.
Brunch, gathering, ridin' and more eatin' and drinkin'. Keep it lowkey, keep it fun. Savour the last moments before those that have to go, go.
Some of you might want to come in a day early (Fri) and/or stay a day late (leave Monday). I'm sure we can work it out.
Please respond to this post in whether you can make it, or if you're down or such. It'd be great to ride with fellow forum members in person and put our differences aside and just hang out.
We can also finally put the IRO vs. Pista vs. Langster argument into a full-on all forum bar room brawl or we can get all emo and cry together. Your call.
As for accomodations: post if you'd like to have a space or really need one or such. It'll probably be a little disorganized as we work out logistics but we'll try to be as accomodating as we can.
I'll keep updating this thread with info and responses to questions and so on and so forth as time goes by. Hopefully we can make this work. Even if only 5 people show up, it'd be hella fun.
And now, on to some resources --
How to get here:
Plane, train or automobile. For those closer to Chicago or willing to drive up a longer way, rent, borrow or drive your car down with a fellow member(s) and pool your resources. I imagine, some crews might come together from the same city/area and some will come in solo.
If you're driving in:
90/94 or 55 will bring you here.
If you're flying in:
Chicago is serviced by two airports, one bigger than the other.
O' Hare (ORD) is the major and international one. Most of the bigger airlines fly in here. Some of you will probably use up your frequent flyer miles here. It's north and west of the city. 40 minutes by train (the el or the CTA as we call it) will take you all the way downtown. It's the Blue Line (the start/end of the Blue Line north) and it'll take you into the Loop, downtown-downtown as I call it and some of the western neighbourhoods (like Wicker Park: hipster fixie riding population - millions... ). It runs 24/7.
Midway Airport (MDW) is the smaller and domestic flights airport. Southwest and the like. Usually cheaper flying in and out of here it seems. Situated south of the city or downtown area, it's also serviced by a the Orange Line, part of the el transit system we have. Also about 40 minutes. Though, unlike the Blue Line, it doesn't run 24/7. It starts up at dawn and closes up a little after midnight.
If you're Greyhound/Amtrak:
You'll be coming into Union Station (CHI) - which is right in the heart of downtown. Easy. You'll have immediate access to the el and getting around the city.
Some of the DCC and myself have offered up floor space. This'll be quite limited but we're trying to accomodate as much as we can. This'll be a tough one to organize, but it might be simple to get different crews into the same places. It looks like dolface will crash at mine so it might make sense to house anymore peeps from SF/OAK/CA at mine if they're travelling together. So, something like that... something, not.
But again, accomodations might be limited depending on interest and who wants to come down. We'll do our best.
On to paying for accomodations and cheaply --
There is one major hostel in Chicago: Hosteling International Chicago. It's a brand new facility that's huge and is right downtown. http://www.hichicago.org/
Book early it would seem.
Hotels and motels: there are a lot. An old trick in the book: get some people together and book a room -- I recommend, 3 to 4 a room and split the cost. You could stay somewhere downtown that way, even in a real nice location for $30+/- each a night. About what you'd pay for the hostel a night. On the budget end there are Best Westerns and Days Inn's downtown on Michicagn Ave (aka the Mag Mile) that are actually semi-affordable.
A tip: Priceline.com is your friend. My friend and his wife regularly book the Inter-Continental, a 3/4-star hotel right on Michigan Ave for $100 bucks a night. That hotel is usually about $200 a night. Use priceline.
By bike of course! However, Chicago's el train allows bikes on trains. So you can bring 'em on if you have to. The city's pretty easy to navigate as it's a grid system. Free citywide bike maps are available are bike shops around the city (a lot of 'em).
If you're crashing at someone's please try to bring some sort of bedding/sleeping bag. There probably isn't going to be enough to go round.
Also, please bring your own towel. If not, one can be easily purchased cheap from a variety of stores.