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Elgin working against"Fattest City" title

From our Elgin Bicycling Ambassador Marjorie Gohl:

Recently the Chicago Tribune wrote an article detailing the lack of interest of Elgin residents to apply for grants to increase wellness in Elgin, but few people might not understand why Elgin residents are being prompted to increase their health. Before the article was written, few Elginites even knew that Elgin has gained the title of “Fattest city in Illinois”. Even now there is only a select number of Elginites that know we hold this title and before I became an Elgin Bicycle Ambassadors, I didn’t know that Elgin was considered the fattest city in Illinois either. Along with Tom Armstrong, I travel around Elgin on my bicycle and educate the residents on the importance of using a bicycle to commute, shop and exercise.

Tom Armstrong is a retired city planner for Elgin and I am a science teacher in Elgin and we are both avid bicyclists. So, when Active Transportation Alliance, which is based out of Chicago, posted the job opening for two bicycling ambassadors in Elgin, Tom and I both knew this would be the perfect summer job for us. Elgin received a grant though Illinois Department of Transportation Safety Division and recruited Active Transportation Alliance to run the program. Tom and I travel around Elgin on bicycles, appearing at park parties, festivals, concerts, Thursday’s Harvest Market, service groups, kids camps and adult bicycle clubs. Depending on the event we attend, we teach people how to properly wear a helmet, check their bicycle for safeness (ABC quick check), vehicular bicycling and tips on riding defensively. You may have even seen us at various events handing out material on safe bicycling, commuting, rules of the road and Kane Country trail maps.

Even though our season is almost over, you will still see Tom and I riding our bicycle around Elgin all year round. We’re employed until the end of September and will be participating in the Elgin by Bike program in September. We’ll also be riding in the progressive dinner by bicycle “Bike and Dine” and we encourage all Elginites to sign up for the event as well. Riding bicycles in Elgin takes just as much time as driving a car and is good for our air and traffic congestion. Also, bicycling Elgin is fun and great exercise. If more people start riding their bicycles around Elgin, we will be able to rid ourselves of the title “fattest city in Illinois”


-Marjorie Gohl

Elgin Bicycle Ambassador