A Change of Scenery

Here comes the sun, la de da da...

Here comes the sun, la de da da...

I had a lovely ride this morning on the lakefront trail and a lovely ride this evening on the city streets. My heart always thumps wildly when I ride in the Loop (the core of downtown Chicago) during rush hour, but that must be good for the cardiovascular system. A special thanks to the SUV that honked at me in a good way – to let me know he was stopping so I could go around the car that nearly ran me over to parallel park.

I took the city streets today because suddenly I was so bored of the lakefront path. The streets I take are busy and have itty bitty bike lanes, so I always have to be 100% on my guard, but the change was nice. I guess I’m pretty lucky to have two drastically different route options. Does anyone else have more than one route they can take and, if so, how do you decide?

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22 thoughts on “A Change of Scenery

  1. meligrosa says:

    cute photo. Id recommend any coffee house routes you might want to revisit, would always be highly recommended… ;) /xo.m

  2. Karen says:

    I have a couple of different routes I like to use to and from work. Varying your routine is good for brain health, you know. Usually, my route choice depends on the bike I am riding, what I am wearing, and whether or not I feel I need a bit more exercise – then I choose the hilly route.

    Great saddlebag, BTW.

  3. Trisha says:

    Nope, but I wish I did sometimes! Every so often I ride around my neighborhood once I get home, or ride a couple blocks further on Belmont and double-back, but that’s it.

  4. Jeff Schneider says:

    When I first moved to Chicago, I rode mostly on the lakefront path. Once I got familiar with the streets, I rarely rode the path anymore – the lakefront scenery is pretty, but there is no social interaction at all, and dealing with kids, dogs, runners, etc. is more of a hassle than watching for opening car doors…

    • E A says:

      Jeff… I agree about the hassle on the Lakefront. I like that it’s a straight shot without the stop light and stop signs, but it’s not as engaging… and with the beaches south of Fullerton – ugh! Watch out for stray volleyballs, kids, dogs – you name it (even sand)!

  5. anna says:

    No, I only really have one route (and it’s quite short :-)). But sometimes I need to go to a shop or bakery first and then of course my route is different. It’s always a pain though if I get to places I haven’t been before as it can get quite confusing then (we have a lot of one-way streets) and sometimes I cycle in circles.

  6. alice says:

    Your bike is so pretty :) I have a few routes. Since I had a horrible scare a few weeks ago when a car tried to run me off the road I now always go the nicer way through backstreets rather than the main road. I am in a much better mood when I get home so it is worth the extra time it takes.

  7. If I need to go to downtown Boston or to meet my husband after work, I have a choice of the Charles River bike path or the streets. For downtown Boston access, I prefer the bike path — it is scenic and stress-free compared to navigating the major roads and bridges. But to get to my husband’s work (along the same path, but in the opposite, more suburban direction), the streets are better, because the path grows somewhat dilapidated and bumpy, whereas the streets are quiet.

    I do get pretty stir-crazy from riding on the same trails over an over, even though the trails are beautiful. But riding in traffic is just so unpleasant, especially smelling the car exhaust in the 80-90 degree summer heat. We need more trails!

  8. Johnny says:

    I have two different routes I can take, like you. On bad days, I like the trafficy one. :) Pedaling four miles uphill in traffic is an oddly serene practice:)

  9. Mamavee says:

    Gosh your bike is pretty.

    I mainly go the route that is least hilly. I often go the long way around to avoid hills and major roads. I stay on side streets or roads with bike paths or roads I travel on frequently and feel comfortable on. I really would like to figure out a good route into boston one day. I haven’t tried to leave my town via bike. I think that is my next step although I’d want to do that alone I think.

  10. Jeremy says:

    I have a blissful non-urban commute, which I do not take for granted after my couple years on the path and the streets of Chicago. I have a 17-mile, rural highway with a wide shoulder and higher speed traffic that is the “express” route. I often take this in the morning when time is at a premium. Otherwise, I have rural country routes of 20, 25, and 30 miles depending on time, temp, and energy. The latter routes are more peaceful and scenic, and seem safer. However, we know that these narrow rural roads are actually the least safe. Thankfully, I’ve never personally had a confrontation or crash with a car on either type of road. On these routes, I’m out of town after 3 miles, and then ride through bucolic stretches of woods, farms, pastures, and rollig green hills. Not that it’s better than the urban commute (ride to work however possible!), but just want to point out that the long rural commute is possible, and not just reserved for club rides.

    • dottie says:

      Sounds lovely! Except for the 17-mile part :) That’s a bit much to do every day for me.

      • Jeremy says:

        It’s a bit much for me everyday, too. It helps to couple up on the tandem a couple days a week! I also have the option of park-and-ride on the outskirts of town, leaving the car out of the congestion and giving me a 3-mile stretch of the legs.

  11. Katie says:

    Ooh, I love changing it up. It’s the spice of life! One of the perks of cycling places is that one has gotten out of the auto -go-get there-now- thing so we’re open to allowing our mood to be our navigator. Calm and blissful? Neighborhood streets are at your service. Feelin’ sassy? Give the fixies a run for their money down a busy downtown road. Fun stuff, this bicycle business.

  12. Doohickie says:

    I’ve been enjoying playing in traffic more and more, to be honest. Yes, it does get the cardio going, but it’s not a fear/panick response anymore, it’s more of the sense of rising to meet a challenge.

    I got honked at on Tuesday at a light where two lanes are permitted to turn left. I was in the right lane of those two, and when the light turned I pulled into the right lane of the freeway access road that I ride on that part of the trip. The SUV behind me was really hoping I would get off to the side quickly so she could beat the line in the left lane to the freeway entrance. At this intersection I normally hold the lane until after the freeway entrance because sometimes there is traffic merging from a yield to the right. If I don’t hold my lane, they don’t see me.

    Anyway, this SUV got impatient. The whole line of cars in the left lane got on the freeway while she was waiting behind me. Finally, she floored it to joing the line of traffic in the left lane, and as she passed me she gave an angry honk. I just smiled and waved.

    I probably shouldn’t push it, but I don’t back down nearly as much as I used to. If you act like you belong in the lane, people get the idea.

  13. miss sarah says:

    Love your pannier!

  14. Scott says:

    Ah yeah, we need a better way to get into the loop from the north. The Wells St bridge is good, but once you cross Wacker you are in kind of a tough spot with the el supports in the way and the left onto lake with the same problem. Going to the sears tower from the west is much better. There are nice bike lanes on canal and clinton going north and south, respectively. I don’t mind dearborn so much. I sometimes take it to the whole foods to buy cheese on my way home. Do you ever go through the park on stockton and take state into the loop?

    • dottie says:

      Tell more more about the park / State route, never tried that. Would it be a viable way out of the loop, too? I’ve never ridden on State.

  15. Scott says:

    I used to take it sometimes when I lived in lakeview. I would take clark st to diversey and get on stockton drive at sheridan. There are some bus routes on stockton, but the traffic usually isn’t bad. After you go by the petting zoo, get onto a path going under la salle. You have to ride slowly through a pedestrian area of the park on the other side, then at north ave you can get on state. It’s a nice ride through the gold coast. You can get out of the loop the same way by taking dearborn all the way to north ave and doing the same la salle underpass.

    • E A says:

      I’ve taken this route sometimes, too… esp when I need to go someplace in lakeview… But it’s a great route. I’ve even used to get into the park and then make my way back over to Lincoln to continue the journey NW.

  16. Maggie says:

    I wish I had your Oma fiets, but it is not enough gears for me. I always ride the same route to work from the L.A. airport (LAX) area to Manhattan Beach, Ca. The route is fairly safe. I can cut through parks and residential neighborhoods. The last part of the commute is uphill.

    Going home is faster because I am now going downhill in the beginning.
    Sometimes I’ll go home on the bike path that runs along the beach and then LAX (which doubles my commute mileage). Of course the beach part is great. But even though there is a bike path on the highway adjacent to LAX and I have a nice tailwind, I don’t feel as comfortable on that part of the commute.

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