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Cyclists Celebrate Chicago Bike Week At Daley Plaza

Bicyclists gather at Daley Plaza on Friday for the 23rd annual Bike To Work Rally. (Credit: Twitter/bikechicago)

Bicyclists gather at Daley Plaza on Friday for the 23rd annual Bike To Work Rally. (Credit: Twitter/bikechicago)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Hundreds of cyclists rode into Daley Plaza on Friday for the 23rd annual Bike To Work Rally.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports you might expect to see a lot of thin people wearing spandex at a bike rally, but that’s not what bike commuting is all about. It’s for everyone, including Dave McFarland, who easily could pass for fictional Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown from “Major League.”

Puffing on a cigarette while holding a road bike, McFarland said he doesn’t always smoke while he’s riding, only occasionally.

“No, I’m an older guy, and I’ve been smoking 40 years, and it’s hard to quit. They say harder than heroin,” he said.

Even WBBM traffic reporter Bart Shore, who spends plenty of time high above it all in Chopper 780, sees the value in a more low-tech commute.

“When I can ride my bike, I ride my bike; because it’s healthier, it’s better, and I would just suggest everybody always wear a helmet, because I’ve seen so many accidents lately where people get hurt for not wearing a helmet,” he said.

The Bike To Work Rally is the culmination of Chicago Bike Week, a weeklong series of activities to promote bicycle commuting.

“Biking is such a great way to get around the city of Chicago,” said Anne Davis, with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “It’s healthy, it’s convenient, you don’t have to worry about parking.”

In recent years, the city has taken some big steps to improve bike commuting, including the installation of 50 miles of protected bike lanes in the past three years, with another 50 slated for completion by early next year.

The city also has launched the Divvy bike sharing program, which offers 3,000 bicycles at 300 docking stations.