We are feeling encouraged. Cautious but encouraged. I mean, the lakefront is opening up to “Keep It Moving,” which is what we want to do!
So we have adjusted our schedule and are going to do our best to roll with what we can while being safe. If it turns out that we have to cut rides and refund tickets, so be it. If we can safely expand rides for more riders, we’ll do that too. But for now, we are opening up what we can.
And the first ride will be to Shabonna on June 27-28. We are rolling with 10 or less riders, many of which will be OOFD crew. We will be testing out our social distancing and general COVID-19 safety precautions (mainly social distancing and no communal meals). If you would like to snag a spot, you can REGISTER HERE. We are running this first ride at a major discount, and if you do sign-up, we will expect to get some of your feedback and insight on the process, protocol, and general safety of the ride.
From there, we plan to roll with our next 2 Adult Overnight Rides (MKE and Starved Rock) with 10 total riders, 2 of which will be guides. We will be monitoring how our state and city does with the pandemic and make any adjustments necessary as our health crisis improves or deteriorates. All of our Overnight Rides are up on our site.
Sadly, mostly due to permitting issues as well as safety concerns (children understandably have a tough time following that 6 foot bubble of social distancing), we have canceled our Family Overnights until September, and due to many of our Youth Program partners canceling their Spring and Summer programming, we will not be doing any youth overnights this year. edit.
The Wander Ride Series
As we sat at home missing the heck out of y’all and zoom meeting our lives away, we came up with a way to continue to share our passion for local history and nature in this city we love so dearly. The Wander Ride Series.
We have led them so far from The Logan Square Monument to the Union Stock Yard Gate, from the Bohemian National Cemetery to Steelworker’s Park. Check them out and if you would like to maybe host one, let us know. Here are the basic guidelines and here are some locations you can consider wandering to to spiel about.
Where the Wild Things Grow
Our new director of WTWTG Program, Clara Thames, had this year lined up! Rides to help the Chicago River with Openlands, other rides with The Field Museum to do restoration at Beaubien Woods down south. And a bunch more. We are hoping to get these rides rolling again soon, and we have a few in the works. Once we are sure we can do them safely, we will let you know.
Black Lives Matter
OOFD generally is not a political organization. But this is not political. Black lives matter. As a group of Chicagoans, we solemnly promise to do what we can to help make this organization, this bike community, this outdoor industry, and this city a more equitable and welcoming place for our black friends, black neighbors, black Chicagoans, and the black community in general.
We have always prided ourselves on being a radically inclusive organization. No matter what your skill level, type of bike, or experience with biking or bike camping, you are welcome on our rides and to our community. Always have been, always will be.
You have a busted old bike? Come ride with us. Fancy new cruiser? Come ride with us. Don’t got too much money, we’ll keep our rides affordable. Come ride with us. Have lots of money? Come ride with us. From the South, West, North, or East side? Come ride with us. Any and all genders, come ride with us. Black, white, brown, or any other skin color? Come ride with us.
As we move into our 6th year as an organization, we already have been working on plans to help our rides reach more Chicagoans. We want our rides and our riders to represent this entire city that is our home. We are about immersing and educating in local history and nature. That is us. At the deepest, inside our bones level underneath all of that, we are about bringing people together.
Ride a bike with someone, sit around a fire with them, camp out, wake up, spend the morning together in the woods, and ride some more. See if that doesn’t bring you together on a deeper level than most experiences. We know that, and we plan to continue to harness that power to help bring more Chicagoans, of all colors and from all sides of the city, together for and through those experiences.
Much love and in solidarity,
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"To immerse , educate, preserve & advance the history, culture, trails and native habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area"