I left for work this morning at the same time as my husband. Once he saw that I was going the same direction as him and taking the city streets, instead of the other way to the lake front path, he said, “I hope you’re not trying to keep up with me; I’m in a rush.” Whatever, buddy, I’m just trying to get to work. ;)
Wearing my scarf
Although on his Jamis Coda Sport he was faster than I was, I always caught up with him at red lights. A few times he made the green while I had to wait for the red, but after a few blocks I would catch him at another light.
The first time he left me at a red light
To my surprise, I stayed with him all the way to downtown, until he turned left and I continued straight. The result of this experiment (it was all very scientific) is that in the city a heavy Dutch bike gets where it’s going in pretty much the same amount of time as a light sporty bike. This probably works better in the winter, when the bike lanes are filled with slush and both bikes have studded tires, but the premise stands.
Riding into the loop – bike lane to the right
The whole ride this morning was lots of fun! It’s nice to have company sometimes, a little bike lane flirtation. This route has all bike lanes or marked “shared” lanes, until the loop (for non-Chicagoans, the loop is the core of downtown). The roads were well-plowed and although there was a lot of slush in the bike lanes, they were easy to ride in (especially with studded tires). Also, it was reassuring to see how all the cars gave my husband plenty of room when passing. I prefer riding early in the morning (before 7:15), when drivers are calmer.
Almost there – Michigan Avenue, south of “Magnificent Mile”
For my commute back home this evening, I decided to take the lake front path. I regretted that decision as I was – once again – walking my bike for 15 minutes through the unplowed section by Oak Street Beach (the city never plows this section). I simply wanted to get home: my fingers were cold, I was hungry, and I’m coming down with a cold that’s been spreading around my office. My mood was lousy for most of the ride home and did not get better once I was on the side streets and several cars passed me way too closely. News flash, people, slow down and give me room. By law in Chicago cyclists must be passed with a distance of at least three feet. If you do not have room due to snow or whatever, stay behind me and I will kindly wave you by at the next stop sign. No matter how many times I watch people squeeze by and speed down the road just to stop at a stop sign, it never stops getting on my nerves.
Such is life. The good with the bad. At least my morning commute was worth it!