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The bike whisperer

Transportation guru Gabe Klein is anything but your typical city worker

November 28, 2011|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley may have been on to something when he traveled to Paris four years ago to check out its bike share program. (He famously rode a bicycle outside Paris City Hall to test the process.)

Paris' bike share system boasts 20,000 bicycles.

Chicago is hoping to start its bike share program with only a fraction of those numbers.

In September, CDOT issued a request for proposals from businesses to implement a sharing system for 3,000 bikes and 300 docking stations by summer 2012. An additional 2,000 bikes and 200 docking stations would be added in the two years after the program launched.

Under CDOT's plan, Chicagoans would be able to borrow a bike from a docking station and return it to another station. The stations would be placed about a quarter-mile apart.

The vendor chosen would be able to set its own membership price, expected to be $50-$100 annually, and one-time use fees, but CDOT has stated that the first 30 minutes of use should be free.

This is not the first time Chicago has dabbled in bike sharing. B-cycle, a bike sharing company based in Waterloo, Wis., launched in Chicago last year.

Dressed to impress

It's tough to tell whether Gabe Klein prefers bike racks or clothing racks. One of his favorite stores? Crossroads resale shop. "You can buy some really cool stuff," Klein said. RedEye asked Klein, who has a reputation for being more fashionable than your average city employee, which of his outfits he likes to cycle into the rotation the most.

>>Boot cut Seven jeans

>>Waffle Zoo York shirt

>>Banana Republic blue linen suit

>>Scotch & Soda pinstripe cotton suit

>>Vintage Timberlands (circa 1996)

Lightning round personality test

>>Cubs or Sox? Sox

>>Greatest achievement? Getting married (last year, at 39)

>>Pizza preference? Thin crust

tswartz@tribune.com | @tracyswartz

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